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Re: Cathedral Lakes to Yosemite Valley

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Cathedral Lakes to Yosemite Valley
June 20, 2010 03:32PM
I'm planning on backpacking from the Cathedral Lakes trail head to Yosemite Valley via the John Muir trail. I will be entering on 6/27. Has anyone been through this area within the last week or so? How is the snow coverage? I have some route finding experience but have never traveled on snow before. Should I be looking for an alternative to this trail, and if so what might have better conditions? Any information is greatly appreciated. I really hope that conditions will be permitting as I plan to make this my younger brothers introduction to Yosemite, but at the same time I don't want to bite off more than I can chew; to be cliche about it.
avatar Re: Cathedral Lakes to Yosemite Valley
June 20, 2010 03:52PM
You're probably biting off more than you can chew.
Upper and Lower both have significant ice coverage.
Snow Coverage very quickly is 100% with a huge amount of sun cups.
avatar Re: Cathedral Lakes to Yosemite Valley
June 20, 2010 04:46PM
Ahh... what the heck. Lemme scare the crapola outta you:



There's a lot of features in the photo above.
The one's you care about are those two frozen lakes there.
The furthest away one is Lower and the closer one is upper.
I could draw in the trail for you but it wouldn't matter... it's all snow.
Hiking thru Long Meadow to Sunrise HSC is gonna be
one big long trudge thru loads o sun cups.

Take your brother somewhere else.
Re: Cathedral Lakes to Yosemite Valley
June 20, 2010 05:22PM
Great picture. Is that shot from the summit of Echo Peaks?
avatar Re: Cathedral Lakes to Yosemite Valley
June 20, 2010 05:33PM
Quote
from_mars
Great picture. Is that shot from the summit of Echo Peaks?

From #1. The bird and I went up #1 and #5. Didn't attempt any of the other ones.
We'll go back someday and go up #3.

Bird on #1:


Clouds, HD, El Cap... and thus Turlock all visible in the picture

#3 is the highest one there in the back
Re: Cathedral Lakes to Yosemite Valley
June 20, 2010 06:09PM
Did you and Chick-On go up the east side of #1?

I'm going back up there tomorrow, but this time, I'll just try some day hikes up the Budd Creek drainage rather than snowshoe out and camp at Cathedral Pass. Still bringing my snowshoes though. There was so much snow last week, that I'm not convinced that most of it has melted off. Probably stay at one of the Inyo campgrounds. I think there are a couple closer to the east gate, it they're open.
avatar Re: Cathedral Lakes to Yosemite Valley
June 20, 2010 06:19PM
Quote
from_mars
Did you and Chick-On go up the east side of #1?

I'm going back up there tomorrow, but this time, I'll just try some day hikes up the Budd Creek drainage rather than snowshoe out and camp at Cathedral Pass. Still bringing my snowshoes though. There was so much snow last week, that I'm not convinced that most of it has melted off. Probably stay at one of the Inyo campgrounds. I think there are a couple closer to the east gate, it they're open.

Yes. East of #1 is easy class 3. North ridge of #5 is easy-ish class 3.

I'll say this again. Snowshoes are NOT a good idea. Sun Cups and snowshoes do not mix.
Just hike on top of the snow. Use hiking sticks. If you are post holing left and right
then I just don't know what you are doing. But... it's your call I guess..

I know you went up Cath. Pass a couple weekends ago... but the sun cups are getting bad.

No the snow hasn't melted off. I'll find a nice photo of Cath Peak with Budd in it... (from Sat)
Re: Cathedral Lakes to Yosemite Valley
June 20, 2010 07:28PM
Yeah, I was there last weekend. Going in on last friday, the sun cups weren't too bad, but by sunday afternoon, they were a royal pain in the a$%. I always bring the snowshoes when there's still so much snow, though this time I'm pretty sure I just want to dayhike, so I don't really plan on using them.

That's what I figured about the east side. According to Secor, easy class 3 on #1. Would like to try the class 3 on the west side of #3. i'll see how it goes. If I stay an extra day, maybe I'll try Cathedral peak or maybe echo ridge. I can't take SF for more than a few days these days, so I have to get out. you said you and your wife climbed Matthes Crest. What I've read on it though is that it's a class 4 climb. Any suggestions?

Anyway, I don't want to veer too much from this gentleman's original thread about his Sunrise hike, so I'll hand it back.

Thanks
Re: Cathedral Lakes to Yosemite Valley
June 20, 2010 04:55PM
bill-e-g - Thanks for the info, pictures and slight scare. Do you have any suggestions for a 2-3 trip in the Yosemite area that would be easier to navigate. I have no issues with getting wet, being cold, hiking through mud and slush... I am just not confident in my ability to navigate in 100% snow coverage. I think doing the trip through the snow sounds like a good challenge but I've only done this trail once before and that was this time of year, last year... not much snow at all but lots of slush and mud. Again, thanks for the info and pics... even though it seems that my trip is done before it began.
Re: Cathedral Lakes to Yosemite Valley
June 20, 2010 05:40PM
The problem is that temperatures in the High Country are WAY below average and this minimizes snowmelt, obviously. I seriously doubt that on June 27 you will be able to go from Cathedral Lakes, past the Sunrise HSC and descend via either the Mist Trail or the JMT into Happy Isles. The trailhead alone is deluged with snow, I was there 4 days ago. From word of mouth, I heard that the snow was prohbitive from the trailhead to Sunrise, which is 7 miles into the hike. The snow would not be an issue once you hit the fork at the Half Dome trail and descend into Little Yosemite Valley and beyond. But before that: serious snow.

Unless you are experienced with snow conditions, route finding and post-holing, I would seriously reconsider your plans and postpone till July.
avatar Re: Cathedral Lakes to Yosemite Valley
June 20, 2010 05:57PM
It was 32.8 degrees this morning at 9600 ft.
avatar Re: Cathedral Lakes to Yosemite Valley
June 21, 2010 09:45PM
Quote
bill-e-g
It was 32.8 degrees this morning at 9600 ft.

bear !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Although I do not keep a journal, I do remember these same cold temps last year at this time - June has turned into the new April!



The body betrays and the weather conspires, hopefully, not on the same day.
Re: Cathedral Lakes to Yosemite Valley
June 20, 2010 05:51PM
Thanks for the input. I really appreciate it. I am definitely reconsidering my plans. I'll be calling the permit station first thing tomorrow to try and get something later in July. If nothing else we might just take the Mist/JM trail to Little Yosemite Valley and maybe the cables will be up on Half Dome. I hope it works out for everyone else in the same boat.
Re: Cathedral Lakes to Yosemite Valley
June 20, 2010 06:20PM
I'm heading the other direction. Coming from direction of Sunrise along JMT and past Cathedral Lakes. Tentative plan has us hitting Cathedral Lakes on the 26th and exiting the part at the Cathedral Lakes TH on 6/27. I take it from above that we may need to nix that route?
avatar Re: Cathedral Lakes to Yosemite Valley
June 20, 2010 06:26PM
Ok Roland,
Here's Budd Lake and Cathedral.

Make your way to Budd and then work your way SW over to the granite
slabs there that are free of snow.
Then work up to the col between #1-#4 and #6. If you do it right you
do not need any special gear other than your trusty hiking sticks.
I put crampons on for about 1 minute to traverse a small snowfield
but this was not needed if I had stayed a little more to the east.





Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 06/20/2010 06:31PM by bill-e-g.
Re: Cathedral Lakes to Yosemite Valley
June 20, 2010 06:29PM
Anyone care to take guess at when the trail will be without major snow cover? You all seem to be extremely knowledgeable and familiar with the Tuolumne area in particular. Those pics above are great. And I thought the water in Upper Cathedral was cold this time last year. While its disappointing to have to cancel or change plans, its amazing to see how different one winter season can be to the next.
avatar Re: Cathedral Lakes to Yosemite Valley
June 20, 2010 08:39PM
Quote
sewolpe
Anyone care to take guess at when the trail will be without major snow cover?

It really depends on the weather. And that's traditionally hard to nail down.
avatar Re: Cathedral Lakes to Yosemite Valley
June 20, 2010 08:03PM
Roland,
We didn't "climb" Matthes Crest. We just went over the saddle N. of it.
You can work your way down the crest quite a bit without any special equipment
at all (I'll open another thread and show a pix).
I highly recommend this. Easily gotten from from Echo Peaks. This is one
of my favorite (ok, maybe I have many "favorites"winking smiley spots in the park.
Give #3 a try from the east and let me know how it goes. I had miles to cover
so I just didn't want to spend forever at Echo Peaks.
avatar Re: Cathedral Lakes to Yosemite Valley
June 20, 2010 08:06PM
swelope,
My point for take brother somewhere else was just that I don't think you want to
subject him to that much on a first trip. That being said... instead of going down all
the way... why not just take him to Lower Cathedral... find a nice open granite
spot to camp... and then do some exploring. It's a nice ... pretty simple 2 day trip.
If you haven't hike in much snow before you'll get some experience with it too.

I'm notorious for pretty much going anywhere regardless of conditions...
but but but... I'll take snow over rivers in the trails. Walking in water isn't fun for me.
I'll just go xcountry at that point... so... say Lyell Canyon now is snow free but
probably pretty darn gooshy.

Anyway, have fun whatever you do
Re: Cathedral Lakes to Yosemite Valley
June 21, 2010 06:50PM
Bill-e-q,
Thanks for suggestion. I think this has turned into a great opportunity to learn more about traveling over the snow. We'll head out to the lake and see what fun we can have; I'm sure we'll keep ourselves plenty busy.

I'd still love to hear from anyone that has done Cathedral Lakes to Yosemite Valley recently. The person I spoke with on the phone at wilderness reservations said a few have gone through but it was definitely slow going, like 1 mile an hour for one group he mentioned
Re: Cathedral Lakes to Yosemite Valley
June 21, 2010 07:53PM
Bill e g,

You opened a thought for me on this topic. I had been scheduled to spend some time off Tioga Rd. but with the late spring, I pulled back on the area. Nonetheless, with this being my first time in Yosemite for a full week, I'm dying to see the High Sierra.

Are the Cathedral Lakes passable now for a day hike with little snow? Or can you recommend some day hikes in that area with little snow and those that are not completely flooded or mud pits?

Thanks!

Steven
avatar Re: Cathedral Lakes to Yosemite Valley
June 21, 2010 09:25PM
Quote
steve814
Are the Cathedral Lakes passable now for a day hike with little snow? Or can you recommend some day hikes in that area with little snow and those that are not completely flooded or mud pits?

If you look at first pix... that is your answer. Lots o snow... I started up the Cath Lake trail.. it starts out with little or no snow...
but very quickly becomes nearly 100% covered. I doubt it will change a huge amount within a few days.
But... I would recommend you go take a look for yourself. Plenty of people are going so you'll more than likely
be able to follow foot prints (although you should know where you are going).
If you have decent shoes then the snow beats hiking in trails with running creeks in them. My feet stayed relatively
dry until I went and stuck my food in Budd Lake. The whole day walking in snow my feet barely got wet.
But... this time of year you have to just live with it.

Dog Lake. Lembert Dome. Those should be really nice to go to w/ relatively little snow.
Lyell Canyon will be lots o water.
Go up Pothole Dome.... explore a little bit...
Maybe take the trail to Tuolumne Falls... it may not be as bad of crossings at Delaney and
Dingley as you think.
Elizabeth is major snow. I wouldn't recommend that one.
Lower Cathedral is lots o snow... but... the granite on the north is showing more and more...
that's where I would head ... Forget Upper for now.

All just my opinion...

Have fun
avatar Re: Cathedral Lakes to Yosemite Valley
June 21, 2010 09:17PM
swelope, sun cups==slow going ... that's how it works.

If it were me... I'd just go over Cath Pass and then go down past Echo and pick up the trail down Echo Creek.
Eventually... hahaha... the snow will go away by the time you get to Echo Valley.
smiling smiley

Going thru Long Meadow... I guarantee gonna be sun cups to your hearts content.
And then... you have to go up and over Sunrise Mtn... covered in snow...
if you wanna see a zoom pix... lemme know...
Re: Cathedral Lakes to Yosemite Valley
June 21, 2010 11:01PM
bill-e-g,
We may not make it past the Lower Cathedral Lake dependent upon a number of things, but like you said I'll chock it all up to a learning experience. If we do push for the whole journey, should I be concerned with any creeks in particular or just all of them...haha?

Any pics of the area would always be greatly appreciated. Again thanks for all your input it has been very helpful.
avatar Re: Cathedral Lakes to Yosemite Valley
June 22, 2010 07:12AM
I put some zoom shots and a couple others here:
http://picasaweb.google.com/yosemite.chick.on/Matthes

Long Meadow gonna look like Echo Lake shot minus the Lake. smiling smiley

I'd bet you that you'll be out of the snow once you start down off Sunrise Mtn.

Have fun
Re: Cathedral Lakes to Yosemite Valley
June 30, 2010 02:35PM
I've been tracking this exchange - really appreciate it. Three of us want to hike down into the valley from the Tuolumne/Cathedral trailhead on Sunday, July 4. These posts are about 10 days old. I just spoke to two ranger-types - one in the valley, one at the wilderness center. The consensus seems to be that we'd hit a little snow, have to cross a few creeks, but that by Sunrise we'd be in the clear. I've wanted to do this hike for more years than I can count. We'll do this in one long day - staying in the valley and getting a ride up to Tuolumne first thing. Anyone have any opinions whether we ought to try this?
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