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Re: Snowshoeing the Sierra in a great snow year - redux

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Snowshoeing the Sierra in a great snow year - redux
January 30, 2017 09:59AM
So the recent adventure of a day snowshoe hike from Badger Pass to Dewey Point, and Tempo Dome, was a big success. Still not ready for an overnighter in the snow, but we have a room near BOF entrance for President's Day weekend and are ready for more.

I have the NPS winter trail maps for the Crane Flat area. We may hike up to the the lookout tower. We've been down to the Merced Grove years ago (nice to see, not compelled to go back unless there is more that I missed), and the Tuolumne Grove many times. Any suggestions for other destinations? With lodging so close we should have a good amount of usable daylight for hiking notwithstanding the still relatively short days.

I was considering hiking along Hetch Hetchy to Wapama Falls but I presume the bridge won't be reopened until the snow is gone and repairs can be made. My recollection of the trail up the switchbacks to Beehive is that it is through forests with few vistas - is that correct? I suppose if we don't mind breaking trail (we don't - have I mentioned that the MSR Lightning Ascent 'shoes are great? :-) at the top of the switchbacks we could head east to Tueeulala Falls (perhaps even continuing to the top of Wapama Falls). From the topo map that looks like it could be nice, but the topo maps have fooled me before. Any recommendations?

Finally, I've always wanted to get out to Kolana Rock (never have though). It looks like there is an abandoned road from HH backpackers campground up to a quarry, and from there with a bit of a scramble one could reach relatively flat walking east-northeast to Kolana Rock. I'm a bit surprised there's not a trail there (perhaps a use trail visible in the summer months?). Would this be a wise choice?

Thanks. Can't wait to get out there. Feel free to suggest other ideas beyond what I've come up with.

Edit: was also toying with exploring along the old roads between Foresta and 41/Coulterville. That's another unexplored area for us. Not sure if winter is the right time for that.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 01/30/2017 10:02AM by ags.
avatar Re: Snowshoeing the Sierra in a great snow year - redux
January 30, 2017 01:40PM
The north side of Hetchy typically does not hold snow... even up the switchbacks to Vernon there's a good chance
there isn't any / much snow at all... only once at the top there might be snow... dunno the elevation..
it varies... I wouldn't expect a great snowshoe experience until above the switchbacks

Kolana is not as easy as it may look..

I'd recommend Crane Flat Look for snowshoe... and Badger stuff. Did you go to Tempo?

updated pix set:

There's a post somewhere...

And another view of Hetchy in winter:

You can get a good idea of conditions just on the drive in... from Poopenaut Pass area...
Road has really been closing a lot this year!

Have fun

Chick-on is looking at you!
Re: Snowshoeing the Sierra in a great snow year - redux
January 30, 2017 03:01PM
OK, so no snow on north face of HH. Surprising (but I do believe you - no arguing), but I guess it's a combination of the direction (gets the sun when to the south in winter) and steepness of the slope? Wouldn't have guessed it though. Doesn't the Snow Creek trail have snow (in a year like this)?

If the switchbacks have no/little snow (Kahtoolas would be enough?) then that might make the proposed hike to Tueeulala Falls even more doable - even Wapama. What do you think about that? (Looking again, I think it may be a bit much in the snow - even if only partial - for a day hike)

Still intrigued with Kolana Rock (if not now, some other time; maybe I'll go on my own if it's a bushwhack and class 3). I'm thinking going in the snow might allow you to travel above the brush (easier?) - but would make the class 3 class-impossible?

What are the hooks at the top for? Something to do with the dam construction I would guess...

BTW, the picture of Wapama from across the valley is beautiful. I've never been able to see the entire length of the falls before. That must be awesome to see in person. Really nice, thanks again.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 01/30/2017 03:11PM by ags.
avatar Re: Snowshoeing the Sierra in a great snow year - redux
January 30, 2017 03:56PM
It's not entirely common to need snowshoes for any of the valley ups...
Once on the rim... different story..
Snow Creek I've never used snow shoes on the ascent ... or descent...
And maybe only a bit on Yose Falls... for Mist... I've only done RIGHT AFTER
a huge storm... where we busted trail to top o Nevada Falls...
and then... on way back ... grrr... yeah, ppl were boot stomping and screwing up
the snowshoe track.
Hetchy top o switchers is relatively low elevation...

Please be aware that Tueuelala is HERE:
5000 ft.
Non trivial to get to... not saying you won't need snowshoes... but it's non trivial in perfect conditions.
Top o Wapama and area around is very very cool... been there MANY times... and will do again..
Top o Tueuelala... is ok... not super spectacular in comparison.

Not saying you won't need snowshoes... it's possible I guess... I'd just be a bit surprised unless
it's after a huge storm. It melts off the switchers quickly... as far as I know.
You should be able to see all this before you decide tho.

So... top of Kolana... getting there is Poison Oak goodness... so... plan accordingly...
I bombered from above once...

The eye hooks are supposedly for anti-aircraft stuff from WWII. That's what I was told
... cable from from Kolana to HH Dome...
I've posted HH dome in past...

here's a set with it in...

We've had lots of snow on Miguel Meadow Road... and maybe about 5400 ish... on up

Anyway, have fun whatever you do... just saying that if you want to snowshoe... don't necessarily
bank on HH having snow entirely. I've only seen right after storm. But I am not expert of all times.
It absolutely DUMPED snow this last storm. Absolutely amazing how much really...
So it's possible.

Have fun!

Chick-on is looking at you!
avatar Re: Snowshoeing the Sierra in a great snow year - redux
January 31, 2017 08:15AM
We went to Wapama and Gravel Pit and ... and.. over Thanksgiving ...
Never posted anything...



(bridges below) (they had fixed it... ) (and it got washed out again I guess)

I didn't mind the sunset

Tho any day in the mountains is usually purty nice.

Have fun

Chick-on is looking at you!
Re: Snowshoeing the Sierra in a great snow year - redux
January 31, 2017 08:40AM
Yay! Thanks for more reminders of how lovely the mountains are!! Love the perspectives from the falls, above, below..
Re: Snowshoeing the Sierra in a great snow year - redux
January 31, 2017 02:50PM
Great pix - thanks! Makes me want to go...

So bottom line is that there may not be snow, or may be some - or may be a lot if it's right after a storm. Message is "plan for varying amounts of snow in different exposures & elevations". Got it.

Also seems like despite how the topomaps look, Kolana and tops of Wapama and Tueeulala are not easy walks even without snow. I guess it's brush and "stuff that hides between contour lines"? So that may be out for us this trip.

And Crane Flat Lookout is a go-to we can mostly count on.

I guess we'll figure it out when we get there, because we're going no matter what. Edit: going to Yosemite, not necessarily to Wapama Tueeulala...

Edit 2: I wanted to be sure I was spelling Tueeulala correctly. I ended up at Wikipedia. Here's what they have to say on the matter of TF:


"Tueeulala Falls is located on the north side of Hetch Hetchy Valley in Yosemite National Park. At roughly 880 feet it is the smaller of two large waterfalls that spill into Hetch Hetchy Reservoir, the other being Wapama Falls. It is, however, the larger of the two in terms of greatest free-fall distance, as Wapama is split into two falls. Tueeulala Fall drops free for 600 feet, hits a ledge, then slides steeply down 280 feet further. The hike to the top of the falls is off trail but fairly brush free and straightforward."

Seems that they need a reporter in the field to verify this stuff...

Edited 3 time(s). Last edit at 02/01/2017 07:52PM by ags.
avatar Re: Snowshoeing the Sierra in a great snow year - redux
January 31, 2017 04:21PM
avatar Re: Snowshoeing the Sierra in a great snow year - redux
February 01, 2017 09:58AM
Found another of mine from Top of HH Dome:

and Top o Wapama:

Take some pictures. Should be pretty!

Chick-on is looking at you!
avatar Re: Snowshoeing the Sierra in a great snow year - redux
February 02, 2017 11:30AM
Sweet photos!
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