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Advice on camping at empty HSC camps in August

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Advice on camping at empty HSC camps in August
June 30, 2020 02:48PM
Hello everyone! I will be basically following the HSC route on a 9 day backpacking trip mid-August, with a few side hikes mixed in. I've never been to any of the HSC camps before as all my Yosemite backpacking has been on the north and south rim of the valley. I realize the camps will be closed, but I would like to know peoples thoughts on if I should still sleep inside the HSC camp boundaries. The rangers say it's preferable but I'm not sure what the upside would be. I have a bear cannister so I don't need to use the bear lockers. Since I've never been to the camps, will it be very clear where to set up my tent, or do I get to choose anywhere since it's all closed down anyway? Thank you all for your help!
Re: Advice on camping at empty HSC camps in August
June 30, 2020 07:39PM
Technically if one is within 1 mile of HSC, one is supposed to camp in the backpackers camp at the HSCs. My guess is that this is to minimise the impact since these areas are heavily trafficked and heavily used. The camping area around Glen Aulin is well marked and around Sunrise lakes, it's easy to spot previous used/impacted spots.
Re: Advice on camping at empty HSC camps in August
July 01, 2020 05:25AM
All of the HSCs have a backpackers campground nearby with well established sites. The HSCs themselves have concrete pads where the cabins are set up for the season. Since they are closed this year, the cabins will not be set up but the pads may have the metal poles that are used for the tens laying on them, so generally they're not suitable for camping. The water faucets at the camps are probably turned off. So, I'd camp at the backpackers campground if I was in the area, just because of the well established sites. If the camps weren't convenient to my itinerary, I'd camp elsewhere.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 07/01/2020 05:26AM by The Other Tom.
Re: Advice on camping at empty HSC camps in August
July 01, 2020 03:51PM
Thank you all for your sage advice. I appreciate it and hopefully I'll see some of you out there!
Re: Advice on camping at empty HSC camps in August
July 01, 2020 08:51AM
My understanding is that you must camp in the backpacker's campgrounds that are next to the HSCs when camping near (within a mile of?) them. I also didn't think it was allowed to camp in the closed HSCs themselves, but perhaps this has changed. There will be numerous impacted camp sites at the backpackers' campgrounds near the HSCs, as well as signs identifying their location, so I don't think you'll have any problem finding them.

That said, these campgrounds get a lot of use and tend to be dusty and well-worn, and some are a bit packed (Merced Lake comes to mind) which may make social distancing a challenge. You may prefer instead to camp (> 1 mile) away from the HSCs.
Re: Advice on camping at empty HSC camps in August
July 01, 2020 03:20PM
It is very clearly stated in the Yosemite Wilderness Use education session pdf they have linked on their website: Yosemite Wilderness Use PDF

If in the area of a High Sierra Camp you must in the Backpacker’s Camp or more than a mile away. It’s stated in other places I’ve seen as well.

Other good info in there as well.

Have fun, but please set a good example for all the new backpackers out there.
Re: Advice on camping at empty HSC camps in August
July 01, 2020 04:00PM
Thank you for the PDF, I missed it on their website and it has a lot of good info.
Re: Advice on camping at empty HSC camps in August
July 02, 2020 09:10AM
If normal trailhead quotas are full, I wouldn't recommend the HSCs. Too crowded.
avatar Re: Advice on camping at empty HSC camps in August
July 02, 2020 09:20AM
Wilderness Permits issued under "normal traihead quotas" are the only way to get to HSC's this year. The HSC's are closed.
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