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Re: Backpacking trip in February

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Backpacking trip in February
December 14, 2015 03:09PM
Hi, I am trying to figure out how to spend the 5 days I will have in Yosemite next February (8 to 12).

I know there will be lot of snow in most of the trails by this time, but I will be prepared for it (good navigation material, snowshoes, 4season tent/sleeping bag, etc,....) and am used with winter backpacking (live in Argentina and do it often). I will be there with one more person.

The idea would be to spend 3 days (2 nights) on one route (would prefer a loop since logistics there seems to be harder during these months) and then spend 1-2 days on shorter day hikes or 2 days 1 night shorter loop hike.

For the 3 days hike I was thinking about something starting from the Valley, and then for the shorter maybe something from Tuolumne Meadows. Anyway, I am open to change anything in this hike, so would be grateful to receive your advises. Would prefer routes with beautiful landscapes (probably something easy over there).

Thanks
avatar Re: Backpacking trip in February
December 14, 2015 04:58PM
A lot of snow...well, yeah...we hope so!

The experts say that January and February should be above average for rainfall/snow. And we have had a good start to date. So with any luck there might be 4 to 10 feet of snow in the high country for you.

So you can't get to Tuolumne Meadows then...unless you hike there (probably 3 days one way from Yosemite Valley on snowshoes) as the road is closed for the season. Your likely starting points include Yosemite Valley, Badger Pass, and Hetch Hetchy area. I would recommend basing yourself out of Yosemite Valley. You can get a sfree shuttle bus to any of the Valley Trailheads, or get the ski bus up to the Badger Pass ski area if you want to start a hike up there.

Good loops include Happy Isles - Little Yosemite Valley - Tenaya Lake and back down the Snow Creek trail. That is a good 3 day trip. Did it a few years ago with the Bird on a "low snow" year...trip report here.

Another classic is to ski out to the Ostrander Hut...info here. More of an out-and-back rather than a loop.

Could also do the Glacier Point Road out to Sentinel Dome and Taft point areas. Again more of an out-and-back.

Both the north rim and south rim (Pohono Trail) can be good winter trips, but involve some relatively easy transportation logistics.

Most important is to check out the conditions in the weeks and days before you go. It is going to be an interesting winter and things could get crazy there in February!
Re: Backpacking trip in February
December 28, 2015 08:18AM
Thanks for the great info!

This loop you did a few years ago seems fantastic, but it is doable if we do have lots of snow there??

I will have 5 full days to spend there....spending 2 days doing Dewey Point and then 3 days going to Sentinel Dome, through Glacier Point Road, do you think is a good itinerary (given it's my first time in the park)?

And if I do go down to Sentinel Dome, do you think it is worth to continue till Glacier Point? Saw a few persons saying it doesn't here in the forum....
avatar Re: Backpacking trip in February
December 28, 2015 09:32AM
Quote
jvieiram
Thanks for the great info!

This loop you did a few years ago seems fantastic, but it is doable if we do have lots of snow there??

I will have 5 full days to spend there....spending 2 days doing Dewey Point and then 3 days going to Sentinel Dome, through Glacier Point Road, do you think is a good itinerary (given it's my first time in the park)?

And if I do go down to Sentinel Dome, do you think it is worth to continue till Glacier Point? Saw a few persons saying it doesn't here in the forum....

Chances are good that the trails from Dewey to GP will be already trod upon making it easier for you. If not and you aren't comfortable making trail then get back to the road from Dewey and follow it out toward GP. You would be going UP to the top of Sentinel Dome which is at 8100'. Could be good camping there but it could be windy. I would suggest going up atop SD for the view and then go down to Washburn Point for the night. Great views. After SD and Washburn GP may not be worth the elevation, but I'm old. Washburn back to BP is a long day.



Old Dude
Re: Backpacking trip in February
December 28, 2015 02:35PM
Would be great to do it.....I thought this trail from Dewey to GP would be closed by early february. This is a section of Pohono trail, correct?

Having good navigation skills, but first time in the park, do you think it's safe to take it if not trodden? And in this case, wouldn't it be better (easier) to start from Badger Pass, do all the way to Sentinel Dome (or maybe Glacier Point), and then hike down the Pohono trail till Dewey Point and finally back to Badger Pass?
Re: Backpacking trip in February
December 28, 2015 05:08PM
It all depends on how much snow has fallen just before your trip. The rangers at the Badger Pass "A-Frame" (where you will pick up your wilderness permit) should be able to tell you what the conditions of the various trails are, although they may have limited information about the non-ski/summer trails. If it has snowed recently, sticking to the GP road or the marked ski/snowshoe trails will be safer than trying to follow a summer hiking trail, which could easily be buried under several feet of snow by February. Most Yosemite trails are poorly blazed, and things like cut logs or rockwork could be deep under the snow. This brochure has the winter trails on it--these trails are generally well-marked with numbered yellow signs mounted high on trees, each within sight of the next.
avatar Re: Backpacking trip in February
December 29, 2015 08:19AM
Do not expect Pohono to be "trod" on in February...

It is best imo... if you have already done the trail in summer...
but ... it is darn fun...

This is what it looked like near Sentinel on the 26th...


Not even the Taft Ski trail was trodded on... so it depends on when last
storm came thru and what not...


actually... we were lucky enough to be able to bust trail to the top o Sentinel... and have it to
ourselves on the 26th also...


Any trail out of the valley cept 4 Mile is good... take your pick!

The Pohono near Sentinel and right before Taft COULD be avalanche...



Chick-on is looking at you!
avatar Re: Backpacking trip in February
December 29, 2015 08:27AM
For first time backpacking... I would not recommend Pohono... or GP road...
mainly because much of it is in the woods...
If you want to do from Badger... I'd just head straight to Dewey Point.

GP road is a woods trek/ski until Clark Range View... and then again all the way to
Washburn Point pretty much... that's a long way...
If you hike the Pohono there are views in a few places (I normally nix the trail
in a few spots... ) and the rest can be VERY difficult in winter...
Done it a few times now... and trail is anything but easy to follow imo...
And near Sentinel could be avalanche risk imo...
I would recommend any other of the 3 trails before doing Pohono...
Yose Falls, Snow Creek, JMT.

GP road is a simple trek though and will be groomed... which is 100 times
easier than making your own trail.

Have fun



Chick-on is looking at you!
Re: Backpacking trip in February
December 29, 2015 10:56AM
Great pics!!! Looks like lovely trip!
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