Welcome! Log In Create A New Profile Recent Posts
Dogwood bloom in Yosemite Valley

The Moon is Waxing Crescent (16% of Full)

Rocketlawyer.com


Advanced

Re: Fern Ledge....Did I Miss A Turn?

All posts are those of the individual authors and the owner of this site does not endorse them. Content should be considered opinion and not fact until verified independently.

Fern Ledge....Did I Miss A Turn?
June 13, 2016 07:56PM
Last Sunday, I decided that I would take a "quick" hike up the Fern Ledge Trail to get some shots of the Upper Falls from the other side. After losing and finding the trail a few times after the initial assent from the Valley Loop Trail, I finally arrived at the overlook of the lower falls (Sunnyside Bench?) after an hour or so. Feeling rather pleased with myself, I backtracked a little bit looking for the turn off to continue my way up to Fern Ledge. I couldn't find anything vaguely resembling a trail, but I did find a yellow rope dangling down a small cliff that some kindly soul had left presumably to help people make it up. And my heart sank. Around the same time, another hiker arrived and I asked him how to continue to the Upper Falls and Fern Ledge. He said I was looking at it, and that I could expect another hour of hiking after climbing the cliff behind me. Between my camera gear and impending thunderstorm, I knew I was done for the day.

So my question is....is this the only way to Fern Ledge? If not, could someone point me in the right direction? I'll find a way to get up that yellow rope if I have to, but I was wondering if there was an alternative.

I've included a shot of the yellow rope/cliff below.


Thanks in advance!

-Bill


IMG_4001 by Mt Sac Choral Program, on Flickr



Edited 3 time(s). Last edit at 06/13/2016 08:04PM by MtSacProf.
avatar Re: Fern Ledge....Did I Miss A Turn?
June 14, 2016 06:59AM
I'd suggest poking / PM ryanmj.
He has been up there...

http://yosemitenews.info/forum/read.php?3,66985,66985#msg-66985

You can also search for Sunnyside Bench for more info maybe...

wherever prolly has more to say...
??

I've yet to even go up Sunnyside Bench. Sheesh... I need to get out more.



Chick-on is looking at you!
Re: Fern Ledge....Did I Miss A Turn?
June 14, 2016 02:04PM
Hi,

I believe I took an alternate route up to fern ledge. There were scrambles and slabs but I do not remember anything quite like your picture.

Regards,
Re: Fern Ledge....Did I Miss A Turn?
June 15, 2016 07:22AM
Thanks Chick-on and Shiro. I dug around a bit more and found another thread here:




It looks even more sketchy than I was imagining when I was up there. Could be a good thing I turned around when I did. I might try to get a little higher next time, but there's no way on God's green earth that I'm going to make it up behind those falls. I just want to make it up high enough to get a fisheye shot of the falls from that side with the valley spread out below. But it's beginning to look like the truly sketchy part is above that rope. Yikes.

Cheers, and thanks again for the replies. smiling smiley

-Bill
avatar Re: Fern Ledge....Did I Miss A Turn?
June 15, 2016 11:41AM
Quote
MtSacProf
Thanks Chick-on and Shiro. I dug around a bit more and found another thread here:

http://yosemitenews.info/forum/read.php?3,42174,42174]


It looks even more sketchy than I was imagining when I was up there. Could be a good thing I turned around when I did. I might try to get a little higher next time, but there's no way on God's green earth that I'm going to make it up behind those falls. I just want to make it up high enough to get a fisheye shot of the falls from that side with the valley spread out below. But it's beginning to look like the truly sketchy part is above that rope. Yikes.

Cheers, and thanks again for the replies. smiling smiley

-Bill

One can get behind the Upper Yosemite Falls from the westside too via the Upper Yosemite Falls trail. I haven't done it, but others on this forum have and have discussed it here. But if IRRC they've done it in the winter or when there was less water going over the falls. There are several threads on this website discussing this approach with photos.



Leave No Trace



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 06/15/2016 02:04PM by plawrence.
Re: Fern Ledge....Did I Miss A Turn?
June 15, 2016 02:49PM
Yes, that looks like the start of the climb up. There are some photos here:
http://yosemitenews.info/forum/read.php?3,64970

But it's not trivial, and even less so with a lot of camera gear. In that case, a rope belay seems appropriate....
Re: Fern Ledge....Did I Miss A Turn?
June 16, 2016 07:06PM
Thanks again for the replies everyone. I'm headed up there tonight so I might give it another go tomorrow morning. More water and less camera gear, so we'll see how far I make it. I could easily chicken out again, but I just want another look at that ledge before giving up completely.

Cheers,

Bill
avatar Re: Fern Ledge....Did I Miss A Turn?
June 16, 2016 09:47PM
If you're going solo, just be extra careful. Remember, discretion is always the better part of valor.

Have a great time in Yosemite.



Leave No Trace
Re: Fern Ledge....Did I Miss A Turn?
June 18, 2016 11:17AM
Thanks again everyone for the responses. PLawrence, Shilo, and Wherever - Very timely warnings as I almost got myself in quite a bit of trouble yesterday. I finally made it up to Fern Ledge, but I came fairly close to not making it back down due to severe dehydration. Here's the rundown on yesterday's hike/climb:

1) Set off at 7:30 AM with 32 ounces of water (oops) and my Nikon D750 with only one lens. I went with less water as I knew I had made it out to Sunnyside Bench the Sunday before with only 16 ounces of water, and I was concerned about weight, especially if I was going to make it up that rope.

2) I took my time on the way up thinking that if there were alternate routes up that I might be able to find them. I tried two alternates and both of them came to a dead end. Beautiful views though.

3) I made it out to Sunnyside Bench by 9:20 AM and was having a great time. Very breezy and cool. No problems.

4) I went looking for the yellow rope, and it was gone! I'm guessing someone had a group, maybe some younger hikers, and they were concerned about getting them over that first small cliff before heading up. I'm guessing they took the rope down when they left. At this point, I thought about giving up again, but I screwed up my courage and with mental images of Alex Honnold going through my head, I headed up the rocks, albeit very slowly.

5) Coming out of the first set of trees and getting a good look at the "trail", I should have faced reality and headed straight back down. Everything from this point onwards was straight up, and no one in my shape should have been trying that with two bottles of Aquafina in his backpack, one of which was already almost gone. Not really having a clear idea of how far up Fern Ledge was from here, I pressed on. (One hiker last Sunday stated that it was "about an hour" from that small cliff).

6) Very distracted by the sirens throughout the morning and afternoon as the rangers worked to keep the staging area next to Sentinel Bridge clear for Obama's Arrival. I didn't have an ETA on the arrival, so I kept hoping I would see Marine I flying up the valley while I was up there. (Obama didn't arrive until almost sunset, and I was long gone by then.)

7) After an hour or so of looking for cairns, climbing through trees and up boulders over terrain that I was far from comfortable with, I could hear the falls getting closer. This was taking WAY longer than I thought it would....but I kept telling myself that I just wanted a decent shot of the falls from up here, and then I would head straight back down. First bottle of Aqufina was almost gone and I still had a lot more climbing to do. First decent view of the falls came at 11:15. Not quite what I wanted, so I pressed on. Two other hikers passed me and told me it wasn't much further.

8) Made it to a nice overlook around 11:30. Should have turned around right there...but I was so close! I had to keep going...even though the first water bottle was empty.

9) As inched my way over the boulders down to the "trail" out to the ledge, I saw my first rattlesnake in Yosemite. He found a nice spot underneath a boulder that I had been planning to walk past, so I had to find another route.

10) Moving quite a bit slower now due to fatigue and lack of water, I finally made it out to the ledge at 12:30. I was already drinking out of that second bottle...but going down is a lot less work...right?

11) On the way back down, I missed a cairn, and now for the first time I began to panic a little. I thought I could make out where I had come up further to the East, but to get over there, I'd have to make my way across exposed granite with a nice drop off below. I was already starting to feel sick and I was forcing myself to conserve the last of the water. I finally made it across the granite and found the trail on the other side.

12) I finally inched my way down and tried to stop and cool off in the shade whenever possible. By 3 PM I really didn't know if I could keep going and it began to occur to me that other than those two hikers, who presumably were back on the valley floor hours ago, I had seen no one all day. Just when I was about ready to give up, I found a small trickle of a creek and spent several minutes dousing myself but didn't drink any of it as I didn't have a filter. I felt much better after this, and an hour later, I was back to my car.


Big lessons from yesterday: If the weight of the water is going to keep you from making it up trail....don't go up that trail. And going solo is rarely a good idea...especially out to a spot like Fern Ledge. And lastly....I think most hikers get into trouble when it's a situation where your goal is "just a bit further" and you keep going without being honest with yourself about your own physical ability and how much water you are going to need to get back. It was way too easy to look at those other two hikers and think "Well if THEY can do it..." Huge mistake.

I'll post some photos soon. I sure wish I had hung around long enough to see the POTUS arrive, but I was long gone by the time he flew in.

Thanks again for the advice and help everyone!

-Bill



Edited 3 time(s). Last edit at 06/18/2016 11:29AM by MtSacProf.
avatar Re: Fern Ledge....Did I Miss A Turn?
June 18, 2016 12:59PM
Quote
MtSacProf

Just when I was about ready to give up, I found a small trickle of a creek and spent several minutes dousing myself but didn't drink any of it as I didn't have a filter. I felt much better after this, and an hour later, I was back to my car.

Thanks for your detailed trip report. Glad you made it back okay.

But if you're in Yosemite again and short on water — BY ALL MEANS — drink the water unfiltered. Better to risk a VERY SMALL CHANCE of suffering from non-fatal giardiasis a week later than exposing yourself to the far greater risk of getting cramps, passing out or dying of severe dehydration or heat stroke on your hike. Especially during the spring runoff, I would be far less worried about contracting giardiasis than suffering the consequences of severe dehydration due to the lack of drinking enough water.



Leave No Trace
Re: Fern Ledge....Did I Miss A Turn?
June 18, 2016 10:29PM
Quote
plawrence
Quote
MtSacProf

Just when I was about ready to give up, I found a small trickle of a creek and spent several minutes dousing myself but didn't drink any of it as I didn't have a filter. I felt much better after this, and an hour later, I was back to my car.

Thanks for your detailed trip report. Glad you made it back okay.

But if you're in Yosemite again and short on water — BY ALL MEANS — drink the water unfiltered. Better to risk a VERY SMALL CHANCE of suffering from non-fatal giardiasis a week later than exposing yourself to the far greater risk of getting cramps, passing out or dying of severe dehydration or heat stroke on your hike. Especially during the spring runoff, I would be far less worried about contracting giardiasis than suffering the consequences of severe dehydration due to the lack of drinking enough water.

Thanks P Lawrence. I hadn't brought a filter with me as I assumed there wasn't any water until you got out behind the falls....for those brave enough to venture out there. That's very useful information. I didn't fill up on the water at that little creek as I had a college roommate who ended up with some type of parasite after drinking creek water and he was in pretty bad shape. I still had a couple ounces left that I was saving for my last push back to the car, but if I was in worse shape, I probably would have chanced it. Stupid of me to be up there without enough water or a filter, but if I ever find myself in that position again, I will definitely risk it. I risked it a few years ago after I ran out of water on the way back down from Yosemite Point with no ill effects, so I'm guessing I would have been OK.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 06/18/2016 10:30PM by MtSacProf.
Sorry, only registered users may post in this forum.

Click here to login