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Half Dome, Yosemite National Park

The Moon is Waxing Gibbous (99% of Full)


Re: Speaking of HSC

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avatar Speaking of HSC
October 26, 2010 08:20PM
We're thinking of making our foray into backpacking via the HSC next summer. Any recommendations? Advice? Should we sign up for the whole she-bang? Or just the food?

I'm thinking that if we feel like we like it and start to feel comfortable, we can do another trip later in the summer, on our own. Like the Texas guy, we were thinking the backcountry would be the best place to see the meteors.
avatar Re: Speaking of HSC
October 27, 2010 12:34AM
We're thinking of making our foray into backpacking via the HSC next summer. Any recommendations? Advice? Should we sign up for the whole she-bang? Or just the food?

How well do you tolerate snoring?
Re: Speaking of HSC
October 27, 2010 03:48AM
I've done it both ways and prefer the food option. Unless you have enough people in your group to fill a cabin, then you will most likely have to share one with strangers. Although this was always a positive experience in my case, you may have some "issues" as eeek pointed out.
Take ear plugs for sure. I don't know what you mean by "making our foray into backpacking". If you've never backpacked before, then I would recommend signing up for the whole she-bang, as you put it. Note, however, the whole she-bang is determined by lottery. I've put my application in for about 10 years and only gotten it once. Sometimes there are cancellations, and if your plans are flexible, then you might get a slot that way. But if you're coming from, say, Texas, then you'll need a plan B. Also note that you don't have to do the whole loop. You can do a mini loop between TM, Glen Aulin, and May Lake, for example. Or an out and back to Sunrise. There are many options.
Also, you don't have to go into the back country to see meteors. There are plenty of spots in Tuolumne Meadows that are good for star gazing. Glacier point should also be good. Of course, the back country has other things (beauty !).
Re: Speaking of HSC
October 27, 2010 07:50AM
Unless your last name is Vanderbilt, do food only. I think the cabins are something like $100 (or more) per COT per night. No thanks. And yes, they are not private. Tent only is much better. You can choose where to camp, etc. E.G., at Glen Aulin, you can hike up onto the rocks a little and have brilliant star views you wouldn't have down under the trees.
Re: Speaking of HSC
October 27, 2010 07:52AM
Oh, and another thing--the meteors are best seen real high--like over 10,000 feet. Places to consider are maybe Young Lakes, maybe 20 Lakes Basin; Ten Lakes Basin; up by Vogelsang HSC, or down near Bishop pass or somewhere else in the high eastern Sierra.
avatar Re: Speaking of HSC
October 27, 2010 08:05AM
My too sense iz dis:

You want to backpack? Cool...

Take da money u save (>130 / night for full digs) of HSC and use dat to buy gear.
Buy good stuff. Buy from REI. You no like. Return.

Now. Won't go into what exactly u needs and all but ... just do this:

You've been up Lyell Canyon for sure. I nose that. Well... that's easy. piece o cake.
8 miles o relative flat. So go there. U can do it. U can carry everything and
the kitchen sink there. Get some experience. Have fun cooking on a bp stove.
Go for 2 or 3 days. Set your tenty up somewhere (o sleep under that stars) and
then dayhike the other days.

Ok, you do that? Now. Lookie that. Purty easy. There are LOADS of other places
that are not far at all from the TH that give you the same thing. Vogelsang,
Glen Aulin, Twenty Lakes Basin, Yosemite Creek, May Lake, Cathedral Lake.
Do all those. Yes, getting a permit can be a pain... but go with options.
If you can start with 2-3 day trips so you are not carrying 20 lbs of food.
Loads of places in Yose are pretty simple to get to and not all that difficult.

Once you do that a few times you expert like me. Now go for a 5 dayer.
Keep each day under 10 miles and u do it no problemo.

Good luck

Chick-on is looking at you!
avatar Re: Speaking of HSC
October 27, 2010 11:07PM
My too sense iz dis:

You want to backpack? Cool...

Take da money u save (>130 / night for full digs) of HSC and use dat to buy gear.
Buy good stuff. Buy from REI. You no like. Return.


REI also rents gear:

You might want to consider that as an option for one or two trips before jumping in with both feet.
Re: Speaking of HSC
October 27, 2010 08:34AM
Great advice, Chick-on. As someone who used to prolly be in teh same boat not long ago, I used to be hanged up on getting permits, etc. You are absolutely right--there's a couple of ways to handle this:

1. Become familiar with permit system by calling some knowledgeable rangers, whio will give you the straight scoop; for Yose--209-372-0740; for Inyo, 760-873-2483; also, ask questions on boards like this

2. Go where permits are not required

3. Go and get a permit that day--either get a permit out of a less popular trailhead, or get some of the reserved "walk in" permits for the following day

4. Go with the flow--any day in the backcountry beats 100 days in the cubicle!
avatar Re: Speaking of HSC
October 27, 2010 10:49AM
I agree with most of the advice given so far regarding the HSC's. I did the loop route this year with the meals option (only at Merced Lake HSC), mostly to accomodate the smaller bear canister I used. The other days I prepared my own meals and camped off trail. I did not go near Sunrise HSC because I was off trail that day. I hiked straight through Vogelsang HSC. While I have mixed feelings regarding the HSC's due to their impact on the backcountry I want to say you will eat dinner and breakfast like a king at these places. Recently Merced Lake HSC has been touted as having the best cooks. I thoroughly enjoyed the mealtime company at Merced Lake but was glad I did not have to sleep with them in a crowded hut. The Merced backpacker's camp was not very crowded that night (a Thursday) so I slept quite well.

bill-e-g made a point if you are new to backpacking. A couple of one or two nighters might be more appropriate for Yosemite, preceded by at least a day hike to help yourself acclimate to the altitude. You can stay at the Toulumne Meadows backpacker's camp the day before entry and the day after exiting trailheads you have overnight permits for. This provides an overnight at 8,600' to help acclimate. Trust me, if you are not used to strenuous hiking at 8-10K, you need to acclimate youself. Distances look deceptively smaller on a trail map. When you get out onto the high country trails everything seems farther apart, steeper, and more rugged than you possibly imagined. That and the altitude affects can make your first visit utterly exhausting if you are not prepared for it. Give yourself a break the first time. Do at least a day hike and an overnight at TM and then try one or two nighters on the trails. A few short day hikes are Gaylor Lakes/Granite Lakes, Lembert Dome/Dog Lake, and May Lake. A few moderate day hikes are Elizabeth Lake, Lower Cathedral Lake, Sunrise Lakes, and the Saddlebag Lake area. A longer day hike would be Glen Aulin and back and possibly Ten Lakes overlook and back. Young Lakes, Vogelsang HSC, or Sunrise HSC make for a great one-nighters. Ten Lakes/Tuolumne Peak would be a great two-nighter. As we say, "It's all good". Enjoy.
Re: Speaking of HSC
October 27, 2010 12:13PM
As an addendum to that--you can look at a map for this stuff--but just adopt an explorer's attitude. E.G., if you go to Elizabeth Lake, which is excellent, scramble up Unicorn peak and then the traverse over to Althusky. Views if the Cathedrals from there are epic. Lots of the Yose landmarks are pretty easy scrambles and lots of fun. Also, no crowds up there for sure!
avatar Re: Speaking of HSC
October 27, 2010 02:18PM
Thanks for the absolutely excellent advice. I'm more the type to just wing it and get a bunch of gear and go for an overnight. The boy is more a planner and was the one to suggest the HSC thing. It took some doing, but I finally got him to go "off trail" a couple of times, and now he's hooked on seeing what's over that ridge, etc. I will for sure show him this thread and encourage him to think about just making a plan to go on our own.

As for seeing the meteors, it was just a thought that I'd like to experience them in the backcountry. It was really more just an event that I could hang my "I wanna" on, which is usually what it takes to make stuff like that happen around here.
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