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Re: Grand Canyon of the Tuolumne

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Grand Canyon of the Tuolumne
July 22, 2017 08:41PM
I enjoy reading the insight and information on Backpacking in Yosemite on this board. I am planning a loop involving the Grand Canyon of the Tuolumne starting August 9 or thereabouts. I am wondering if anyone had any suggestions for my hike as to conditions, campsites, things to watch out for or other recommendations or insights based on current conditions.

The start and end points as well as some of the return and possible side trips are a bit flexible. I had planned on camping the night before at White Wolf and then doing a loop along points Haden Lake, Pate Valley, Glen Aulin, Tuolumne Peak, May Lakes and back to White Wolf.

Re: Grand Canyon of the Tuolumne
July 23, 2017 05:48PM
My main concern with doing that hike in August is heat in Pate Valley at only 4,000 feet. I'd plan to climb out of that area in the morning, the earlier the better, if you possibly can. In more typical years, the side waterfalls are low or gone by August, but this year they should still be good. The permit Ranger will surely warn you about possibly seeing rattlers in the lower canyon as well. Some folks seen one or two, most folks don't see any. Campable spots are relatively plentiful along that loop. If you do stay at May Lake, I recommend taking earplugs and being vigilant for Marmots and other rodents who are virtually tame and like to steal food.

In most years the area as you start to drop down towards the canyon past Harden Lakes known as Harden Gardens can be dry. This year it will probably still be in full splendor. So look for a great mix of flora there, including sugar pines and various flowers.

I strongly recommend climbing to the top of Tuolumne Peak and also to the top of Mount Hoffman. Tuolumne Peak is fairly easy cross country from the 180 degree bend in the trail east of the peak (see http://www.summitpost.org/tuolumne-peak/154491). Both peaks are two of the crown jewels of Yosemite for views. And be sure to hike up the river a bit past Glen Aulin to take in Tuolumne Falls before you head southwest towards May Lake.
Re: Grand Canyon of the Tuolumne
July 24, 2017 03:24PM
Thanks for the suggestions. I am expecting a high water year along the route with the benefits and problems it brings. I am just hoping there isn't a troublesome crossing of the river because of high/fast water.
As to Tuolumne Peak, I assume by horseshoe you mean the turn right after the Ten lakes trail turns off of the May Lake trail going south? In addition, is there a maintained trail or common jumping off point heading upto the Peak.
Re: Grand Canyon of the Tuolumne
July 24, 2017 04:57PM
The water level is moderate now and will drop more. Current flow is about 800 CFS (see https://waterdata.usgs.gov/ca/nwis/uv?11274790) at which level the Canyon is very passable. You may need to wade only in 2 places: slow spread out ankle deep flooding at Mattie Creek and the crossing of Register Creek below the fall which is probably knee deep about now and a simple (and fun) wade. Also there are reports that the hand rails are damaged at the Tuolumne bridge crossing in Pate Valley.

As to Tuolumne Peak, yes, start at the bend which is about a mile north of the May Lake trail junction. No trail going up the peak, it's cross-country, but it's not difficult if you head for the true highest point (not the spikes north of the peak). If you get into class 2, you are probably too far north. Hoffman has a class 2 summit block, perhaps 30 feet high, otherwise it's a trail hike.
Re: Grand Canyon of the Tuolumne
August 05, 2017 10:12PM
I've done this loop as part of two different hikes.

Grand Canyon
It's been a while since I was here, so I don't remember much. We did find a rattlesnake in our camp. Not far below Register Creek there is a large, deep pool in the river, below a natural waterslide. We took great advantage of this setup and found it very refreshing. The water will be higher for you, so use your own judgment.

Glen Aulin
You may be aware that the bridge over Conness Creek to enter the camp is damaged. Not sure what's going on with the camp itself. Personally, I would stay away from it in any case, unless you want to go swimming.

Tuolumne Peak
I'm not sure if Dave and I are talking about the same thing, but here's my experience with Tuolumne Peak. I've camped twice at the two lakelets just west of the pass over Tuolumne Peak's northeast spur. From the upper lakelet, or even from the pass itself, you can get right up onto the spur. I went part of the way and found it to be a pleasant ramble, but ran out of time and went back to camp.

The pass has a bunch of false summits, but when you actually get to the top of it, you will clearly see one lakelet. The other is just out of sight beyond it. Plenty of beautiful campsites there, including some that are legally away from the water. That whole north face is gorgeous.

Ten Lakes
Well-populated, especially the two lakes nearest White Wolf. When I came this way, I found solitude at the northernmost Ten Lake, a fairly easy jaunt from the trail (not the northeastern lake -- I don't have a death wish). Just north of this lake is a little ledge where you can catch a glimpse of the river, 4000 feet below. I recommend this!
Re: Grand Canyon of the Tuolumne
February 04, 2018 08:34AM
Did this bridge get repaired? It must have, but I haven't seen anything about it...

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avatar Re: Grand Canyon of the Tuolumne
February 04, 2018 09:07AM
Did this bridge get repaired? It must have, but I haven't seen anything about it...

No (?)


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Re: Grand Canyon of the Tuolumne
July 24, 2017 04:45PM
Be advised that the Pate Valley bridge is out. The stringers are still there, but unsure of their stability. Would be like crossing a river on a long narrow log.

Side creeks should be fine. Might be a few flooded sections in the lower canyon, but would be minor.

Campsites in the canyon can be spread out. It is a canyon after all and is narrow and steep at times meaning you might not have a suitable campsite for up to a mile at a time. Particularly true in the upper canyon. So if you are passing a campsite late in the day you may have to hike a mile to the next one. Consult your map and legs appropriately.
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