Welcome! Log In Create A New Profile Recent Posts
Fern on the Four Mile Trail, Yosemite National Park

The Moon is Waning Crescent (36% of Full)


Advanced

Re: Early Season Camping Spot Recommendations around Cathedral Lakes

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.

Early Season Camping Spot Recommendations around Cathedral Lakes
April 29, 2018 04:22PM
Hi all,

Any suggestions from Yosemite connoisseurs for early season camping spots around Cathedral Lakes? I've heard about the west of lower lakes and northeast of upper cathedral, with the later supposed to be a good spot for sunset and sunrise views. Not sure about camping around upper cathedral at this time of the year if it's mostly covered in packed snow/ice. We will be a group of 6-8 people including a couple of newbies.

Assuming the conditions to be very similar to the one in this video, around the 4:30 mark for upper cathedral. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wdR_05XgbG4

Was also looking forward to go for Tresidder and it's probably a no go with the mix of snow/ice. Shooting to at least check out the NE ridge of Tresidder around the afternoon of day 1, based on temperature etc, unless it involves postholing or requires crampons.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 04/29/2018 09:17PM by nwhkr.
Re: Early Season Camping Spot Recommendations around Cathedral Lakes
May 01, 2018 12:01AM
When I have been there in early season, the area to the east of Upper Cathedral Lake has been a giant muddy swamp. Everything else except for granite slopes is usually covered with a thin layer of snow. They recently rerouted the trail around it up near the granite wall, whereas the trail used to go right through the swamp. If there is solid snow coverage like you see in the video, you won't be able to get to it from Tuolumne Meadows without crampons or snowshoes, and you will probably have to use your GPS to go cross country, since finding the trail will be nearly impossible much of the time. The snow fields on the trail between Tuolumne Meadows and Upper Cathedral Lake will be several feet higher than what you see in the nearly treeless area around Upper Cathedral Lake due to all the tree cover in that area. The outlet creek from the lakes is close to the trail, so a lot of runoff from the nearby granite slopes will give you some postholes. It is currently illegal to camp at Lower Cathedral Lake due to bear problems that have been there for decades. I don't recommend camping at Upper Cathedral Lake because it is in a pass like area and often has winds over 30 mph even when the weather is nice. Since Long Meadow is not really a true meadow any more, you can find nice tree cover in it near Sunrise Creek, which will be flowing well in early season. Beware that the entire corridor along Sunrise Creek is often prolific with mosquitoes even when there is still snow on the ground in the shaded areas. If the area has stayed below freezing at night for several days prior to your trip, you probably won't have to worry about finding very many mosquitoes. Snow usually slows me down by at least 50%, so you will need a long day of hiking to get from Tuolumne Meadows to Long Meadow if the snow coverage is close to 100%. The good news is that once you get to Upper Cathedral Lake and out of the thick forest, your speed should improve considerably due to the more open and less steep terrain. You also will know where you are all the time due to the obvious granite landmarks towering above you.
Re: Early Season Camping Spot Recommendations around Cathedral Lakes
May 01, 2018 12:40PM
Thanks rgliebe, that's very helpful. Great point about mosquitoes too as I was thinking that they won't join the party until mid-July or so. With the current conditions and high winds around the pass, as you mentioned, we will stick around lower cathedral. Just spoke to wilderness line and camping is allowed around lower and upper cathedral now.
Yes, will have GPS handy as the trail is probably snow covered even before the lower cathedral lakes.
Thanks a lot.



Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 05/01/2018 01:55PM by nwhkr.
avatar Re: Early Season Camping Spot Recommendations around Cathedral Lakes
May 01, 2018 06:57AM
Tioga Opened June 29th, 2017.

June 30th:




ugh. Can't find Echo Lakes area... (we camped at Matthes on June 30th last year)
(got lucky and found a semi flat area... made more flat with microspikes)

Did find this interesting one from last year:
http://yosemitenews.info/forum/read.php?17,87813,88518#msg-88518

Anywho. um.. there was a lot of snow... didn't use snowshoes last year after road
opened. never regretted... only microspikes. the creeks needed snow bridges
to be crossed which took some looking ... that is not going to be the case this
year... from what was reported by TM rangers... with the atmo events... the bridges
are supposedly gone and with have large banks... so you may want to
plan route accordingly, plan to maybe turn around, go up and and around, or
possibly bring a shovel to a) make tent spots flat, and b) cut banks... depending on
water depth and all (I have done this... once)
Anywho. Upper was frozen and full of snow in November ... last year... when
there was "no snow". Here is Yose from Apr 23:


hmm... I def. posted some photos of last year early...
ah
found it
https://yosemitenews.info/forum/read.php?17,89825,89825#msg-89825

anywho. I have heard nothing of not camping at lower cathedral. it's not in
trail conditions. we did it 2 years ago a couple times iirc... and such.
just NO CAMPFIRES anywhere at lower or upper
I'd maybe go for the North West of both ... ish... and bring micros
(and/or snowshooz) and hit 10450.
Never done Tressider... top I thought was class 4.
Never tried. Only dooz Columbia Finger n 10450

I'd get noob prepped for snow camping. then you don't have to search as
much. I'd also be prepped for sun cups. it has been pretty darn warm
lately. maybe u can find spots on ridge N of Lower ... but getting there
may be pita.
the times stayed on trail to upper early anyone camped looked miserable.
I have no idea what they were expecting.

Have fun and sorry if this is useless.



Chick-on is looking at you!
Love the aerial photo. Especially how comparing YV in the foreground to GCOTT in the background gives a sense of the depth of the latter. Thanks for posting.
avatar Re: Early Season Camping Spot Recommendations around Cathedral Lakes
May 01, 2018 09:32AM
If you have 3D goggles.. then... you'll really like this:





Chick-on is looking at you!
Re: Early Season Camping Spot Recommendations around Cathedral Lakes
May 01, 2018 01:32PM
Quote
chick-on
Have fun and sorry if this is useless.

Not useless or "use less" at all. Conditions will probably be very similar to your last year's trip with maybe a bit less of snow. Yup, no campfires as it's not allowed and also, I am getting more bought into the principle of no campfires anyway as it leaves a scar...

Great tip about 10450. Will see if it's doable as I'll only carry yaktrax. Thanks for the reminder about the shovel, was debating about carrying one and didn't think of snow banks and sun cups. Good point about being prepared for camping in the snow and setting the right expectations. Keeping my fingers crossed for the Tioga Pass road opening smiling smiley.

As always, thanks a tonne!

One more thing...fully concur! that's an amazing aerial shot!!! Shows a great perspective of Tioga Rd as a divider as well...



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 05/01/2018 01:34PM by nwhkr.
Re: Early Season Camping Spot Recommendations around Cathedral Lakes
May 04, 2018 08:31PM
May be able to tent in the center of the lake since may not be iced out, still covered with snow. Even the weather site beside Tenaya Lake a 1000 feet lower than Lower Cathedral Lake still had 18.5 inches of snow a week ago.

http://cdec.water.ca.gov/cgi-progs/snow/COURSES

178 Tenaya Lake 8,150 24-APR 18.5 10.5 57% 31.8 33%




http://www.davidsenesac.com



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 05/04/2018 08:34PM by DavidSenesac.
Re: Early Season Camping Spot Recommendations around Cathedral Lakes
May 05, 2018 12:28PM
Quote
DavidSenesac
http://cdec.water.ca.gov/cgi-progs/snow/COURSES
178 Tenaya Lake 8,150 24-APR 18.5 10.5 57% 31.8 33%[/color]

Thanks David! appreciate the info and the link. That's a great reference point.

Btw saw your sunset pic of Cathedral peak (from Tresidder ridge I believe) on summitpost, that's a great shot!
Re: Early Season Camping Spot Recommendations around Cathedral Lakes
May 09, 2018 12:48AM
It looks like I missed the reopening of Lower Cathedral Lakes to overnight camping. It probably happened between 2005 and 2008, since I have it in writing in the book "Sierra North - Backcountry Trips in California's Sierra Nevada" on page 185 in the 2005 edition that the lower lake is closed to camping. I also found postings in 2008 from hikers who camped there and had their permits checked by a ranger, so it was legal again by then. I don't recall what year it was closed, but it was sometime in the 1990s before they started requiring bear canisters in certain areas of the park.
Re: Early Season Camping Spot Recommendations around Cathedral Lakes
May 09, 2018 04:29PM
Quote
rgliebe
I don't recall what year it was closed, but it was sometime in the 1990s before they started requiring bear canisters in certain areas of the park.

Thanks for the follow-up historical perspective, that's helpful and makes sense. It also helps to know how different park/ranger initiatives are working smiling smiley.
avatar Re: Early Season Camping Spot Recommendations around Cathedral Lakes
May 09, 2018 05:09PM
Yeah, Kinda interesting.

I only know camped there in 2004, 2013, 2015

I wonder if it really was no camping or National Geographic had it on their map so
it proliferated. I have a 2005 map that has no camping marked around Cathedral Lake
and I thought "well... hmm... that's wrong"... maybe it wasn't ... ?
The newest National Geo Map has it marked as camping allowed now.

Now I'm wondering if it's marked on any old permits. I'll have to look. Curious.
If I remember I'll ask at wilderness center in TM... rangers who have been around
a long time...

Yeah, no big. But just curious.

Have fun



Chick-on is looking at you!
Dunno about the dates when camping was/wasn't permitted, but the current trailheads map shows camping at Lower Cathedral.
Sorry, only registered users may post in this forum.

Click here to login