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Re: Hiking alternatives with current conditions

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Hiking alternatives with current conditions
June 07, 2010 05:42PM
I'm getting ready to make my first trip to Yosemite and am wondering what my hiking options are going to be...especially given the slow melt of the snow this year. It looks like its the perfect time to come view waterfalls and raging rivers...but maybe not the perfect time to hike.

No surprise...number one on my list was the Half Dome hike. I'm arriving this Friday (June 11) and departing the following Friday. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that the cables will go up next week. This one is out of my hands. If they don't...oh well...it will give me a good excuse to make my second trip to Yosemite.

I'm wondering if many of my other trail options are available or not. For what it is worth...I consider myself an intermediate to advanced day hiker with many miles logged in the Smoky Mountains, Acadia, etc., including some winter hiking here in Tennessee. However, I recognize that there are significant differences between the Smokies and the Sierras. The trails in the Smokies are (for the most part) easy to navigate, even when the trail is snow covered. Plus there are fewer places where you will fall 1000 ft to your death if you have a misstep.

That being said, I had a list of hikes that I had hoped to do. Included were
* North Dome
* Cathedral Lakes
* Upper Yosemite Falls
* Cloud's Rest (as backup to Half Dome)
* Panorama
* Sentinel Dome/Taft Point

The NPS website indicates that many of these trails will be snow covered. I know this is a somewhat open question...but are these trails out of the question for a Yosemite novice with the current conditions? Are the trails fairly well defined even if there is snow (e.g., are there blazes on the trees and/or cairns)? Is special equipment (e.g., crampons) needed to safely hike these trails?

I'm looking forward to whatever hiking I can get in. I would especially like to have some hikes to get out of the throngs that will be hitting the trails down in the valley.

Thanks in advance for your assistance.

Brian
avatar Re: Hiking alternatives with current conditions
June 07, 2010 08:42PM
Upper Yosemite Falls trail was clear of snow even on May 1st except for the last few hundred feet.
Today you should be able to hike to the Yosemite Point without encountering a lot of snow.
All hikes/scrambles on the North side of the Yosemite Valley should be fine this week.
avatar Re: Hiking alternatives with current conditions
June 07, 2010 09:38PM
Altitude might be a little bit different than you're used to in some places. I'm not sure what the average elevation is in GSMNP, but Yosemite Valley is at about 4000 ft with some of the points you mentioned wanting to visit from about 7000 to nearly 10,000 ft elevation. If it's at some of the higher elevations, you might want to factor in the altitude when it comes to the pace you hike at.

I you are planning on Half Dome, then I'd recommend getting your own gloves. I actually brought some leather work gloves but forgot them in my car. They had a hole carved near the base of the cables with a lot of gloves (where I grabbed a mismatched pair) left behind although I understand the NPS tries to cart them away if possible. I like the rubber palmed cotton gloves like the ones from Atlas Glove. I know some people do it with bare hands, but I liked the grip and that the cotton prevented chafing.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 06/07/2010 10:34PM by y_p_w.
Re: Hiking alternatives with current conditions
June 08, 2010 09:54AM
YPW....Did you hike the cables on Halfdome whe they were down or up?....We are going to be there on June 14th and hike up to Haldome, but whether we go up the cables or not, would be whether they are up or not.
Re: Hiking alternatives with current conditions
June 08, 2010 10:15AM
Forget Clouds Rest unless you approach it via Happy Isles and ascend the "back way." The trailhead in the High Country has a stream crossing 2 minutes in up to your chest and snow past the Sunrise Lakes junction.

Why not the Four Mile Trail accessed on the Valley Floor? Hike that up to Sentinel Dome, distance 13 miles, elevation gain about 3800 feet. An outstanding day hike.
avatar Re: Hiking alternatives with current conditions
June 08, 2010 10:29AM
Picture please....



Chick-on is looking at you!
avatar Re: Hiking alternatives with current conditions
June 08, 2010 10:34AM
Looks like you'll just miss the cables going up.

Go up 4-Mile - down Pan.

Go up Yose Falls - all the way to North Dome and back.

Cathedral prob. too much snow for your liking...

Go to Hetch Hetchy... hike to Wapama

Go to Wawona... hike to Chilnualna Falls

You'll find lots to do.... do it! do it all!
Cause... you probably won't be back for a long time...

Went to Glacier a few years ago... love to go back...
but... much easier to drive 3-5 hours to Sierra than 2 days...

smiling smiley



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Re: Hiking alternatives with current conditions
June 08, 2010 12:34PM
Chikc-On says looks like you'll just miss the cables going up? Any local word on when they are planning on getting them up. I talked to a ranger on Friday and "all she could tell me was when they will not be up (June 11-13)." Really wanting to get up half dome on the 21st or 22nd!
avatar Re: Hiking alternatives with current conditions
June 08, 2010 01:49PM
Quote
Flatland Hiker Girl
Chikc-On says looks like you'll just miss the cables going up? Any local word on when they are planning on getting them up. I talked to a ranger on Friday and "all she could tell me was when they will not be up (June 11-13)." Really wanting to get up half dome on the 21st or 22nd!

They haven't said anything other than what you've heard. But you probably have a good chance for those dates. Just be prepared to do something else if they still aren't up.
avatar Re: Hiking alternatives with current conditions
June 08, 2010 01:06PM
Quote
ROCAMY
YPW....Did you hike the cables on Halfdome whe they were down or up?....We are going to be there on June 14th and hike up to Haldome, but whether we go up the cables or not, would be whether they are up or not.

It was several years ago in late June. It was also a pretty dry year where the cables were already up by mid-May.
avatar Re: Hiking alternatives with current conditions
June 08, 2010 02:29PM
Eye just look into my crystal ball... and doze cablez gonna be up on the 16th for your enjoyments.

Be safe



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Re: Hiking alternatives with current conditions
June 08, 2010 06:24PM
Thanks to everyone for their feedback. I'm looking forward to an awesome first visit to Yosemite and am hoping the predictions about the Half Dome cables (ready for the 16th) is on-target. That will give me a chance to try and adjust to the altitude (as much as possible). That is definitely something I'll have to deal with...maximum elevations in the Smokies is typically in the 6500 ft range. I'll definitely try to take in all the other trail suggestions (as much as the family allows me to do!). Again...thanks for the info!
avatar Re: Hiking alternatives with current conditions
June 08, 2010 07:46PM
Quote
TNhiker
Thanks to everyone for their feedback. I'm looking forward to an awesome first visit to Yosemite and am hoping the predictions about the Half Dome cables (ready for the 16th) is on-target. That will give me a chance to try and adjust to the altitude (as much as possible). That is definitely something I'll have to deal with...maximum elevations in the Smokies is typically in the 6500 ft range. I'll definitely try to take in all the other trail suggestions (as much as the family allows me to do!). Again...thanks for the info!

I realize some of the Smokies are pretty high, but I was under the impression that it was only the peaks. I think the highest point you mentioned was Clouds Rest, which is just under 10,000 ft. Of course it's not going to be like doing a 14er. I don't think anyone in decent shape has any serious problems, but it's just one thing to think about.

When I did a 3 week tour with lots of hikes at high altitude (Yellowstone, Utah, and Grand Canyon) I was feeling pretty strong by the time I got back to sea level.

Certainly have fun. I frankly don't remember the first time I visited Yosemite, since my folks took me there when I was a toddler. winking smiley
Re: Hiking alternatives with current conditions
June 09, 2010 08:54AM
Just wanted to update on some of the suggestions. I returned yesterday (6/8/10) from a week long trip.
Lots of people talking about trying the Half dome despite the cables being down. One person said he made it to the base of the cables but did not have gloves therefore did not try the cables. Subdome was not an issue and this was 6/5.

Everyone who wanted to do half dome is out doing Upper Yosemite Falls (to Yosemite Pt). The trail is partly very hot + dry, alternately cold + wet due to spray from the falls. Falls sound like thunder/canons.

Four mile trail is open, a more pleasant trail than Upper Yosemite Falls, more shade, wildflowers, views of Yosemite Falls as you climb.

Yosemite Valley is partly flooded, some valley floor trails under water. Lots of standing water, mosquitoes out in full force.

I was unable to find Taft Pt. Trails were covered in 1-3 feet of snow. Many hikers, including myself, out there but we might all have been following the wrong footprints which aborted before reaching Taft Pt. Sentinel dome might have been doable despite the snow since the dome is easy to spot.

I also visited Wapama Falls at Hetch Hetchy. Moderate 5 mile hike, feels like being in a car wash at the wooden bridges crossing the falls. This is a great half day activity (including driving time from valley floor) that you can bring along the whole family.
avatar Re: Hiking alternatives with current conditions
June 09, 2010 09:09AM
Nice update.
Bummer on Taft. Wuz der almost a month ago now.

From the TH parking... you just gotta look for the Ski Trail Markers in the trees.
Leads you right to it. Either that or just cheat and use GPS.

Didn't mention Taft above b/c knew it was still gonna be lots o snow.

Have fun



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