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Re: Winter Hikes

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Winter Hikes
November 25, 2010 03:28PM
Hi

I would like to take a couple friends to Yosemite park early January and I was wondering if we need snowshoes to go to the Yosemite fall.

More than likely we will stay at camp 4 and go for 2 day hikes.

Do you recommend anything else that the fall as a must see?

Thanks!

Matt
avatar Re: Winter Hikes
November 25, 2010 03:36PM
Quote
magoo0903
Hi

I would like to take a couple friends to Yosemite park early January and I was wondering if we need snowshoes to go to the Yosemite fall.

You probably won't need them until you're at the top.
avatar Re: Winter Hikes
November 26, 2010 09:17AM
What do you mean?

If you mean the Upper Yosemite Fall Trail, then snowshoes probably wouldn't be needed. The trail gets a bit icy and snowy, but I doubt there will be enough snow to use snowshoes. If you wore snowshoes, you'd probably end up digging into the granite with your snowshoes' crampons. I've heard some recommendations that maybe small instep crampons might help with icy conditions. There are other types of ice traction devices you might consider.

Once you get up to the top, the trail should have plenty of snow. However - when I went it looked like few people used snowshoes. I just postholed through existing tracks. When I got to the bridge, I saw a combination of boot and snowshoe tracks.

Re: Winter Hikes
November 30, 2010 09:33AM
We'll be doing the Yosemite Falls trail second to last week in December, maybe the 20th or 21st, when are you going? We have yaktrax which should hopefully be all we need for the trail until the top. We're bringing snowshoes, but not sure yet if we'll haul them up with us or not.
avatar Re: Winter Hikes
November 30, 2010 03:08PM
Quote
hotrod4x5
We'll be doing the Yosemite Falls trail second to last week in December, maybe the 20th or 21st, when are you going? We have yaktrax which should hopefully be all we need for the trail until the top. We're bringing snowshoes, but not sure yet if we'll haul them up with us or not.

I bought some YakTrax on clearance, but never actually tried them out except in the store on carpet. I thought they felt somewhat slippery and might not be so great on granite or pavement, but I suppose brand new ones need to be "roughed up" a bit because the steel is smooth. I started sliding around on carpet, but then again they were brand new and carpet probably isn't the best surface to test them out.

What did work well for me were Get-A-Grips, although they had their problems. I lost one in the snow (I mentioned losing a traction device to a group heading up to the top) and someone actually found it an returned it to me after overtaking me on the way down. They use steel carbide studs encased in a plastic cleat, which is then wedged into a rubber shell. After a while I lost a couple of cleats and some had the plastic part heavily worn. The carbide tips seemed to hold up well. They sell replacements and have a couple of spares included in the package. These were great on an icy sidewalk, and they don't affect dry traction much.
Re: Winter Hikes
November 30, 2010 08:33PM
Thanks Chick on I was thinking probably bring them.

YPW yaktrax work great on ice and slippery, packed snow, been using them for a few years.
avatar Re: Winter Hikes
December 01, 2010 07:33AM
Quote
hotrod4x5
Thanks Chick on I was thinking probably bring them.

YPW yaktrax work great on ice and slippery, packed snow, been using them for a few years.

I can't find the other posts where I had pictures of the trail in winter.
The long traverse where you can finally see the entire upper falls can get interesting.
And then the gabazillion switchers beyond that can be covered entirely in snow.
I know we have walked up w/o shoes from there but with yakky thingies...
and then came back down in shoes until ran outta snow.
Probably a whole heckalotta peeps will be going up w/o anything... searching for
a stick to use as a hiking stick... sliding around... struggling to the top..
and then once they get to the top... say ok... time to go back down... and never
even go to the lookout or close too it (seen it done... as we walk by in shoes)
(tell them they should go ova der and lookie... and they say "uh.. had enough of dis" )
Same thing is true for Snow Creek... could be no snow until you hit the rim...
and then... kaboom... We've done that before... got lazy and didn't bring shoes
and then just postholed away until found a spot to camp. We both said we
made a big mistake and next time we'll bring shoes.
And.. the same is true for up to Nevada Falls. ... although the JMT can get
VERY interesting ... and I ... ahem... normally just take the .. ahem... Mist
... ahem... regardless of it current "status"
Anywho... if u have shoes... I'd just carry them if dayhiking...
dats my 2 cents...
Chomping at the bit here to get my booty in some snow... too...



Chick-on is looking at you!
Re: Winter Hikes
December 01, 2010 10:50AM
What about the "trail" to the brink of Yosemite Falls? It's steps right? Is it hairy in winter?
avatar Re: Winter Hikes
December 01, 2010 11:24AM
Quote
hotrod4x5
What about the "trail" to the brink of Yosemite Falls? It's steps right? Is it hairy in winter?

Found the older post:
http://yosemitenews.info/forum/read.php?3,22378,22378#msg-22378

Of course conditions vary... the wifey didn't want anything to do with the brink trail tho.
But just getting to where that trail starts is what I would recommend you at least do.
The first part is very steep steps w/o any handholds. Even though there may be snow
on it... if it is deep snow... that is ok. you wanna just posthole thru that and walk down.
Once you make the turn there are railings first on the left and then on the rock wall.
The trail is very narrow there. More than likely it will be free of snow once you turn.
I would guess most would say it is hairy. I'll post a picture or two tonight...



Chick-on is looking at you!
avatar Re: Winter Hikes
December 01, 2010 10:02PM
Here's a few more pictures. I got the description a bit incorrect.
The first part does have handholds... but they are not right away and
all the way down.... Maybe the pix will give you an idea...
???

http://picasaweb.google.com/yosemite.chick.on/YoseFallsFeb2009

Sigh... weather not looking so wonderful this weekend... argh!



Chick-on is looking at you!
avatar Re: Winter Hikes
December 01, 2010 11:14PM
I wonder how many people hike all the way to the start of this part of the trail, and never make it down to the railing because they don't know it's there.
At one point there wasn't even a sign at the point. You just had to know it was there, and to head to the left till you saw the trail.
There's a sign now, but it's pretty small and easy to miss.
It's the same with the "Oh-My-God" Point railing. If you don't know it's there, and where it is, you'll never find it!

Thanks for the picts.
Re: Winter Hikes
December 02, 2010 05:42AM
Quote
qumqats
I wonder how many people hike all the way to the start of this part of the trail, and never make it down to the railing because they don't know it's there.
At one point there wasn't even a sign at the point. You just had to know it was there, and to head to the left till you saw the trail.
There's a sign now, but it's pretty small and easy to miss.
It's the same with the "Oh-My-God" Point railing. If you don't know it's there, and where it is, you'll never find it!

Thanks for the picts.
Remind me where the Oh My God railing is, it's been quite a long time since I did this hike.
avatar Re: Winter Hikes
December 02, 2010 07:17AM
The Yose Falls lookout is really well signed now... and people still walk by...
There's now a sign on the main trail and also at the cliff edge, but these signs
have a way a disappearing...

Here's a pict from above of where O-My/ Lower Falls lookout is:
(zoom in to see detail)

(from May 2010):
http://picasaweb.google.com/yosemite.chick.on/YoseFallsFeb2009#5546101649652409650

And thanks to you for the description in another thread. Piece o cake to find.



Chick-on is looking at you!
Re: Winter Hikes
December 02, 2010 07:56AM
Thanks for the photo. I am assuming there is a use trail that is visible, but of course, if there is snow, who knows...
avatar Re: Winter Hikes
December 02, 2010 08:26AM
Quote
hotrod4x5
Thanks for the photo. I am assuming there is a use trail that is visible, but of course, if there is snow, who knows...
Trail will prob. be clear here... unless it just dumped.
Here's the jct (don't tell her I posted her pict.) (and be nice... she got drug up Indian Canyon this day)
http://picasaweb.google.com/yosemite.chick.on/YoseFallsFeb2009#5546121210512166530



Chick-on is looking at you!
avatar Re: Winter Hikes
December 02, 2010 10:39AM
Quote
hotrod4x5
Thanks for the photo. I am assuming there is a use trail that is visible, but of course, if there is snow, who knows...
If you know to be looking for it you might think it a use trail, otherwise you'd just think it was a pile of rocks.

As you're going up trail, about a 1/2 mile past Columbia Rock, you get to a point where you come around a left corner and get your first view of the Upper Yosemite Falls.
Turn around, go back around the corner while looking downslope to your left for the use trail.
It's very steep and twisty for 50' or so and you're at a very small space at the railing. It could well be that NPS keeps quiet about it because it IS so small. There isn't enough room for the crowds that are on the trail.
avatar Re: Winter Hikes
December 05, 2010 08:55AM
I really don't like to comment on items when someone has perished...

This paragraph says it:

"Andrea Lankford, who was a district ranger in Yosemite in the mid-1990s and has worked at national parks across the country, said many adult Scout leaders "are not that physically fit themselves. They are not that knowledgeable. They are complacent. They are naive about the hazards. They bite off more than they can chew. As rangers, we would be extremely concerned. I have seen it time and time again with a gamut of consequences.""

My deepest condolences to the family.
sad smiley



Chick-on is looking at you!
avatar Re: Winter Hikes
November 30, 2010 05:00PM
Quote
hotrod4x5
We'll be doing the Yosemite Falls trail second to last week in December, maybe the 20th or 21st, when are you going? We have yaktrax which should hopefully be all we need for the trail until the top. We're bringing snowshoes, but not sure yet if we'll haul them up with us or not.

I'll quickly say that I would highly recommend that you carry the shoes with you to the top.
Why? well... sure you can probably posthole your way around... but it's not much fun.



Chick-on is looking at you!
Re: Winter Hikes
December 02, 2010 11:20PM
I didn't get any traction with the Yaktrax on packed snow on a hike up Mt Whitney several years back. Just purchased a pair of Kahtoola Microspikes. The elastic harness makes it as easy to install on trail running shoes as the Yaktrax, and it should provide more grip on ice and snow with its 3/8 inch spikes.
avatar Re: Winter Hikes
December 02, 2010 11:46PM
Quote
KenS
I didn't get any traction with the Yaktrax on packed snow on a hike up Mt Whitney several years back. Just purchased a pair of Kahtoola Microspikes. The elastic harness makes it as easy to install on trail running shoes as the Yaktrax, and it should provide more grip on ice and snow with its 3/8 inch spikes.

I tried the Kahtoola uSpikes and although one may feel they have more grip with the spikes they also weigh a quite a bit more than the Yaktrax. Speaking from a backpacking perspective here.
avatar Re: Winter Hikes
December 04, 2010 08:03PM
Re: Winter Hikes
December 04, 2010 08:37PM
For Boy Scouts, trails can lead to danger
In the last five years, 32 Scouts and Scout leaders have died in various outdoor activities. Adult leaders, often inexperienced, can miscalculate risks and difficulties.
By Ralph Vartabedian, Los Angeles Times

December 5, 2010
The Yosemite Falls Trail leads dramatically to the top of North America's highest waterfall. Park rangers and veteran hikers know it as strenuous and a potentially dangerous hike in the winter.

Its steep switchbacks rising 2,700 vertical feet were a big challenge for Luis Alberto Ramirez Jr., a 12-year-old from Modesto who had joined the Boy Scouts months earlier and was on his first big outing with his troop.

Until that day, Feb. 16, 2008, Luis had never set foot in the mountains.

The 11 boys and four adults started at 8:30 a.m. Just one mile from the trail head, most of the troop was already exhausted and decided to turn back.

The scoutmaster pressed ahead with five boys, including Luis. Three hours later the troop was waist-deep in snow. The boys were cold and their feet soaked. Luis was tired, his seventh-grade hiking partner said later.

The group turned back, and soon spread out along the trail, leaving some boys on their own. They began taking dangerous shortcuts between switchbacks. After stepping off the trail, Luis lost his footing and slid out of control over an edge. He plunged 300 feet to his death.



http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/nation/la-na-scouts-20101205,0,5287804.story
Re: Winter Hikes
December 05, 2010 06:44AM
Ken that's a terrible story. A good reminder that anytime you are hiking you must be careful and thoughtful of conditions, but especially in winter. We'll be doing that trail, but trust me, we won't be cutting any switchbacks and if for some reason our snowshoes don't work and we find ourselves in waist deep snow, we'll turn around.

The death is tragic and almost as tragic is the fact that for most of these kids, it is their only connection to the world outside their city, and because of innappropriate trail choices, they'll possibly never go to a national park again. Those boys should have taken one of the valley loops or the trail to Mirror Lake, not the Yosemite Falls trail



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 12/05/2010 06:53AM by hotrod4x5.
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