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Fern on the Four Mile Trail, Yosemite National Park

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benson lake loop

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benson lake loop
July 15, 2017 09:21PM
I have a permit to do the benson lake loop next week. Does anybody have a current trail report? I hear the current snow level is around 10100. Burro pass is at 10650 being the highest elevation on that loop. I don't see any information on the ranger station site.

Re: benson lake loop
July 16, 2017 06:58AM
Burro pass is relatively straightforward, and may have some snow, but I think it will be manageable.

Mule Pass, on the other hand, is a very steep pass on the North side, and sure to be snowy and maybe icy. That's the one that would concern me most...


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Re: benson lake loop
July 16, 2017 03:46PM
Going up from Crown Lake there's often snow coverage in early June. So that's probably true now, given the year. Specifically, there's a long, steep section of snow starting just past the trail junction to Island Pass (I hope that I'm remembering this right). I've gone up it several times; it will be sun cupped, which helps. Coming down it is a bit more exciting. But it's never been icy when I've done it. That would be bad. I would 'like' to have had Kahtoolah microspikes for all this but never thought that they were worth hauling for this one brief section. Oh, I've also been in snow on the steep other side of the pass, but it seems more easily negotiable. The north slope of Burro will doubtless have snow but as Balzaccom says, it's not bad (again, for once sun-cups are your friend here).

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 07/16/2017 03:47PM by jeffrey.
Re: benson lake loop
July 22, 2017 06:11PM
I was in the southern part of the park last week, and the snow is in fairly small patches now up to 10K feet with 5% to 10% coverage, so I never got to use my crampons. Many of those patches are still fairly high and often are snow bridges over the trail, which is sometimes turned into a small runoff stream, so you may need to leave the trail and go around them. Make sure you tackle areas with snow early in the morning when it is still hard. I had to hike most days from 7 am to 1 pm due to the heat, which just exhausts me. 75 to 80 degrees F at 10K feet is too much for me. Since there is no tree cover in those passes, that would be my biggest concern, running out of energy and needing a ton of water.

Expect to be greeted by swarms of mosquitoes when you drop down to Benson Lake. They are starting to get bad now at 9K feet, so I can only imagine what they are like at 6.5K feet.
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