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Re: 1st Timers Need a Little Advice

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1st Timers Need a Little Advice
December 27, 2010 07:22PM
My buddy and I are planning our first backpacking trip to Yosemite and while we’ve done a bit of research, without having been there we’re finding planning a bit difficult and could use some advice. We’re planning on hiking for 4 days at the end of June or the beginning of July and we’re looking for wilderness hiking away from the crowds. Based on what I’ve read in my Hiking Yosemite book, the North Rim Trail sounds like it may be what we’re looking for.

Questions:

1) Does the North Rim trail sound like a good fit and can you suggest any alternatives?

2) If we left our car at the North Rim Trail trailhead (Old Big Oak Flat Road) and hiked to the end of the trail at Mirror Lake, is there any transportation available back to trail head or should we basically plan on hiking back?

3) If we have time, is there a day hike that would work in well afterwards? Clouds Rest sounds like a fantastic day hike but not sure how feasible that would be in combination with the North Rim trail. If it is doable, where would the best place be to camp overnight between the two trails?

Thanks in advance for your help!
avatar Re: 1st Timers Need a Little Advice
December 27, 2010 07:56PM
A book I like might help you; Trail Tools: Yosemite Valley.

It covers more than just the Valley and gives maps, along with profiles and mileages. The maps aren't specific enough for route finding and you will still need topos of the areas you're hiking in.
avatar Re: 1st Timers Need a Little Advice
December 27, 2010 08:59PM
random thoughts:


If you're really interested in Clouds Rest and Half Dome, check out Little Yosemite Valley. Thats a good base camp for the two. That might be better for you than NRim.
avatar Re: 1st Timers Need a Little Advice
December 27, 2010 09:03PM
I haven't hiked that so I can't help there. With respect to alternatives it seems a little early because 1) I'm not sure what your snow tolerance, experience, and ability are, and 2) if answer one is "low" then it's hard to say and you may want to give it a little time. The Sierra is well above normal in terms of snowfall, and getting close to a seasonal norm, but we're not quite a third through the wettest months, and even then much can depend upon the spring. Last year was a bit wetter than normal, but spring was much colder than normal, leaving plenty of late snow. This year, so far, is very wet, but I'd wait a bit before assuming it'll stay that way, and even then much can depend upon spring. Thousands of vertical feet of snow melt can depend upon the unknowns, with a lot of options within those feet.

Last year around the same time I hiked from the Mono Meadow trailhead, to Edson, Royal Arch (over a snow-covered Buena Vista Crest, 9000 ft.), then back towards the road. Few people to start, none the first 1.5 days, but a lot more towards the end. One drought year in late June I hiked over Parker Pass (11,000 ft) with snow only appearing on the east side of the pass.
avatar Re: 1st Timers Need a Little Advice
December 28, 2010 09:14AM
North Rim was discussed here:
http://yosemitenews.info/forum/read.php?3,25855,25855#msg-25855
http://yosemitenews.info/forum/read.php?3,26333,26333#msg-26333

As for you:
1) End of June/early July == Peeps. Just deal with it. Don't worry too much.
Snow not an issue then on North Rim.
Worry more bout skeeters.
I wouldn't rec. OBOFR start. Why? Well... it's a 3K climb and 10 miles to El Cap.
and the views aren't super spectacular for a first timer IMO.
Go up Yose Falls and down Snow Creek. Take your time. Dayhike to Indian Arch.
Dayhike to El Cap and Eagle Peak.
Have fun

2) Not a big issue if up Yose Falls instead...

There's so many options... just pick one and go with it.



Chick-on is looking at you!
Re: 1st Timers Need a Little Advice
December 29, 2010 05:34PM
Thanks Dave, qumquats, ttilley and chick-on for the excellent feedback and advice. Really appreciate the detailed responses!

Couple more questions…

1. Regarding chick-on’s suggestion to not start the North Rim at OBOFR and use Yose Falls instead, what wilderness permits would we need for that? I was originally thinking that we would just need one permit for the N. Rim Trail, but with the suggested route would we need multiple permits, one for each trail we plan to be on?
2. Knowing what you know now, if you had to plan your first 4 day backing trip to Yosemite, where would you go? I just picked the North Rim Trail from the book because it sounded good to me, but what do I know? Our hiking experience is intermediate, but we’re in great shape physically.

Thanks again!
avatar Re: 1st Timers Need a Little Advice
December 29, 2010 05:59PM
The permit is for the trailhead you enter on, not the trails you travel on.
So instead of a permit for entering at OBOFR, you'd get a permit for entry on Yosemite Falls trailhead.
Each trailhead has it's quota of # of people allowed to enter each day. OBOFR vs YF shouldn't be a problem. The only problem would be if you wanted to enter at Happy Isles. Since that's both the start of the John Muir Trail, AND the start of the Half Dome Hike, it's very hard to get a wilderness for that entry point/trailhead. All the other trailheads out of the valley are easy to get a permit for in comparison.
avatar Re: 1st Timers Need a Little Advice
December 29, 2010 06:46PM
Quote
qumqats
The permit is for the trailhead you enter on, not the trails you travel on.
So instead of a permit for entering at OBOFR, you'd get a permit for entry on Yosemite Falls trailhead.
Each trailhead has it's quota of # of people allowed to enter each day. OBOFR vs YF shouldn't be a problem. The only problem would be if you wanted to enter at Happy Isles. Since that's both the start of the John Muir Trail, AND the start of the Half Dome Hike, it's very hard to get a wilderness for that entry point/trailhead. All the other trailheads out of the valley are easy to get a permit for in comparison.

Of course for the Happy Isles starting point, there are two permit types. The first is Happy Isles-Little Yosemite Valley with 30 permits issued per day. Of course this is popular with those doing Half Dome and the reserved quota fills up quickly and people line up early for the first-come first served quota. Then there's Happy Isles pass-through, which might be OK if the first target is Clouds Rest.

Check these for the quotas (and to match the trailhead names to map locations):

http://www.nps.gov/yose/planyourvisit/trailheads.htm
http://www.nps.gov/yose/planyourvisit/upload/trailheadmap.pdf

The trailhead map is pretty nice. When I did my trip a few years back, I had a hard time matching up the names to locations on my map. I would add that the volunteers taking reservations from the Yosemite Association were helpful, but I would preferred to work it all out before calling up and making my reservation.
avatar Re: 1st Timers Need a Little Advice
December 29, 2010 08:06PM
If one is considering Happy Isles-Passthrough, then Glacier Point to 'beyond LYV' (I can't get the permit name now because nps.gov/yose is failing to load) would also be an option, and would result in visiting the same area. Depending upon how one wanted to end the trip, of course.
avatar Re: 1st Timers Need a Little Advice
December 29, 2010 08:58PM
Quote
ttilley
If one is considering Happy Isles-Passthrough, then Glacier Point to 'beyond LYV' (I can't get the permit name now because nps.gov/yose is failing to load) would also be an option, and would result in visiting the same area. Depending upon how one wanted to end the trip, of course.

I don't see that listed any more. I think it probably did exist at some time. Maybe it would be similar to the Happy Isle-Sunrise/Merced permit?

I checked the Internet Archive Wayback Machine. This is the oldest version they have (from Jan 2008):

http://replay.waybackmachine.org/20080115225053/http://www.nps.gov/yose/planyourvisit/trailheads.htm
avatar Re: 1st Timers Need a Little Advice
December 29, 2010 09:08PM
Here's what I was thinking of, it was buried in the FAQ on that page...

Quote
Way Back Machine
To camp in the Illilouette basin or beyond: Glacier Point to Illilouette or Happy Isles to Illilouette

[big edit] So...there's Glacier Point to LYV, or Glacier Point to Illilouette. Which means I was probably confused, since that'd be up a different trail. I know I've hiked from Glacier Point beyond LYV on the first day (Lost Valley), but that was on a non-reserved permit, and looking at the options...Glacier Point to LYV looks like the closest fit.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 12/29/2010 09:14PM by ttilley.
avatar Re: 1st Timers Need a Little Advice
December 29, 2010 09:25PM
Quote
ttilley
Here's what I was thinking of, it was buried in the FAQ on that page...

Quote
Way Back Machine
To camp in the Illilouette basin or beyond: Glacier Point to Illilouette or Happy Isles to Illilouette

[big edit] So...there's Glacier Point to LYV, or Glacier Point to Illilouette. Which means I was probably confused, since that'd be up a different trail. I know I've hiked from Glacier Point beyond LYV on the first day (Lost Valley), but that was on a non-reserved permit, and looking at the options...Glacier Point to LYV looks like the closest fit.

Tech. you cheated the system. This is not tech. allowed. GP to LYV or GP to Ill. period. The quota is so low for GP to LYV for such reason.



Chick-on is looking at you!
avatar Re: 1st Timers Need a Little Advice
December 29, 2010 09:37PM
Anyway...

You guys aren't really answering his question...

He's from Michigan, I'm pretty sure... and he wants to know what is WHAT WOULD YOU DO for a
4 day trip for a first time.
I answered above with "There's so many options... just pick one and go with it.".

If I ONLY HAD 1 trip.. of 4 days... what would I do? (me... I'd cry)

I always recommend going up the Merced River Canyon to Merced Lake... it's just classic classic Yosemite.
Just fabulous domes... the downside is that there are some limits to where you can camp that for a first-timer
may be too much. Then again, for first time... camp in LYV, maybe deal with the hordes.
Dayhike up Clouds and/or Half Dome. Dayhike to Twin Bridges (the Two Bridges below Bunnell Pt.) to see the two cascades...
Crowds will be ridonculous end of June/early July... you need to reserve permit for that one.

North Rim is still great... will def. have less than Happy Isles-LYV... but going up Yose Falls you're gonna prolly
not be super happy on the climb difficulty... Jim mentioned crowds... so that is why didn't stear him to LYV...

Tioga Road will almost undoubtly be open then so you have all of Tuolumne Mdws trails at your disposal too.

So.. to me... for Jim... the big question is... are you only there 4 days? 5 days total? Backpacking and
doing a bunch of dayhikes... or just backpacking and then leaving the park?



Chick-on is looking at you!



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 12/30/2010 06:37AM by chick-on.
Re: 1st Timers Need a Little Advice
December 30, 2010 06:08PM
It may help to know our thought process. We picked late June/early July because we didn’t want to be limited by the snow and we read that the falls are flowing best that time of year. We can definitely come earlier in June if the snow won’t be an issue but I realize there’s no way to predict when the snow will melt. We’re looking for wilderness backpacking, awesome scenery and as much solitude as possible but we realize there may be no way around crowds. You’re right, we’re from Michigan(you’re good) and I’m thinking our best option for getting to Yosemite is to fly into San Francisco and rent a car and drive there. With that, this is our tentative plan at this point:

1. Fly into San Francisco on a Sunday. I believe we can probably arrive by noon PT. Rent a car and hopefully get to Yosemite around 5:00pm. We’d then either find a place to camp or stay in a nearby hotel/motel for the first night. I’d prefer to camp if possible. Any thoughts or suggestions on the first night would be appreciated!
2. Backpack Monday through Thursday (or possibly through Friday).
3. Leave the park Friday (or Saturday) morning and catch a flight home early afternoon Friday (or Saturday)

Random Questions:

A. You mentioned that we might not be happy with the climb difficulty of going up Yose Falls. So that means really difficult?
B. Is it safe to leave our gear where we camp and go off for a day hike? Or is that not what you meant earlier when you mentioned day hike to Indian Arch, & El Cap?
C. Please explain the chick
avatar Re: 1st Timers Need a Little Advice
December 30, 2010 06:50PM
  • If you pre-reserve the wilderness permit, then you can stay Sunday night at the wilderness permit campgound ( the wilderness permit means you can stay the day before, and the day after your trip at the wilderness permit campground ). It's a walk-in campground and a bit hard to find. You'll have to carry everything in. Cars can't get anywhere near it.
  • BEAR PROOF YOUR CAR!!!! Nothing should be visible from the outside of the car. Nothing with the slightest scent should be in the car. There are plenty of bear boxes at the parking lot you can put things into. Bears know what backpacks, daypacks, hippacks, ice chests, etc look like and WILL break into cars if they see or smell them. ALL food and toiletries should be removed, even canned food.
  • You can park your car at the Trailhead parking lot. The Wilderness Permit campground is across the creek from North Pines campground. You'd walk over to North Pines and into the campground. Take the forks to the right. Look on the right side of the road for signs for the Backpackers campground. Follow the trail to a bridge that cross the creek. $5 per person per day.
  • If you don't have a permit, and you're going for one of the first-come-first-served permits, you won't be able to go in till Tuesday. You'll have to be in line at the permit office >>early<< Monday morning ( 3am seems right, maybe a bit later if you're not trying for a popular trailhead ). In this case you can stay Monday night at the backpackers campground. I'm not sure where you'd stay Sunday night. I've heard that you can't camp or sleep while you're in line. I don't know how strict they are about this, or how much of a problem it'd be for you.
  • Upper Yosemite Falls trail: 7.2 miles/11.6 km round-trip; 6 to 8 hours; 2,700 feet/823 m elevation gain: So in 3.6 miles you've gained 2,700 feet, and there's a long stretch in the middle of the hike that's pretty flat! The final push up the gully is in direct sunlight a good part of the day and is a hot hike. Bring lots of water! Yosemite Valley Hikes
  • I'd say that generally it's safe to leave your gear at camp. It's probably a good idea to leave expensive tempting stuff inside a zipped tent.

Yosemite Backpacking main page
Wilderness Permits
Food storage ( you'll have to either have, or rent, a bear canister. You can rent them from the wilderness permit office at the time you pick up your permit )



Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 12/30/2010 06:56PM by qumqats.
avatar Re: 1st Timers Need a Little Advice
December 30, 2010 07:52PM
Thanks for the further explanation, it certainly helps.

The reason I mentioned snow is because you asked about alternatives to your chosen trail (which I haven't hiked). Coming earlier won't help at all with respect to alternatives (many of which would be higher), coming later would (so might waiting to see how the season shapes up, if that's a feasible travel option). Looking at the elevation of your chosen trail, if you're not looking at alternatives then based simply on elevation I defer to the pink chicken on the irrelevance of snow (as someone who's # of posts here are in single digits I choose not to explain the pink chicken, though I like his posts).

I'm quite happy with my first backpacking trip in Yosemite, so I'll mention it even though it was 2 nights rather than 4...day one, I hiked from Tuolumne up Lyell Canyon, then up to the 10,400+' lake east of Evelyn. Day two, to Babcock. There's plenty of terrain around there to turn that into whatever length trip you want (you will encounter people that time of year)...but that could depend on how the rest of the season's snow goes, or whether you can make your trip later. The Mono Meadow/Edson/Royal Arch/etc. trip I mentioned is lower elevation and quite nice...snow would be unusual there in early July, but I saw it just this past season, so YMMV. And, really, the snow thing might turn out OK after all, depending upon how the rest of the season goes. We've had strong early seasons turn into nothing, we've had late lingering snow, it depends.

One other thought...I've flown east in order to travel in the wilderness, for example canoeing in Boundary Waters and backpacking in my native Michigan's Isle Royale, and I can say I welcomed an extra day of day-tripping between landing and heading off. Same with driving from CA to WY and MT...YMMV.

Good luck planning your trip!
avatar Re: 1st Timers Need a Little Advice
December 31, 2010 04:51AM
Quote
Jim
It may help to know our thought process. We picked late June/early July because we didn’t want to be limited by the snow and we read that the falls are flowing best that time of year. We can definitely come earlier in June if the snow won’t be an issue but I realize there’s no way to predict when the snow will melt. We’re looking for wilderness backpacking, awesome scenery and as much solitude as possible but we realize there may be no way around crowds. You’re right, we’re from Michigan(you’re good) and I’m thinking our best option for getting to Yosemite is to fly into San Francisco and rent a car and drive there. With that, this is our tentative plan at this point:

1. Fly into San Francisco on a Sunday. I believe we can probably arrive by noon PT. Rent a car and hopefully get to Yosemite around 5:00pm. We’d then either find a place to camp or stay in a nearby hotel/motel for the first night. I’d prefer to camp if possible. Any thoughts or suggestions on the first night would be appreciated!
2. Backpack Monday through Thursday (or possibly through Friday).
3. Leave the park Friday (or Saturday) morning and catch a flight home early afternoon Friday (or Saturday)

Random Questions:

A. You mentioned that we might not be happy with the climb difficulty of going up Yose Falls. So that means really difficult?
B. Is it safe to leave our gear where we camp and go off for a day hike? Or is that not what you meant earlier when you mentioned day hike to Indian Arch, & El Cap?
C. Please explain the chick



Comments:

Your ISP/email address pretty much gave away your location.

When you leave SFO, go south and cross the bay using the San Mateo Bridge, then work your way over to I-580 to head toward the park. Don't go up to San Francisco and cross the Bay Bridge. It's going to take a good 5 hours to reach the park anyway since once you cross I-5 in the Central Valley, SR120 is basically a two lane country highway/road most of the way there.

You haven't mentioned if you have any mountain backpacking experience (real mountains, not the things east of the Rockies that people mistake for mountains). Anyway, it is the elevation changes on the trip that will drain you much more than the planar distance covered; you probably shouldn't plan on packing more than 8-10 miles per day. From the standpoint of elevation changes, it might behoove you to consider taking the backpacker/hiker bus http://www.yosemitepark.com/Activities_GuidedBusTours_TuolumneMeadows.aspx
from the valley up to the high country and starting your trip from there (the Lukens Lake to Yosemite Creek, Yosemite Creek Campground, Porcupine Creek, Olmsted Point, and Sunrise Lakes trailheads are all good possibilities for a North Rim hike, depending on how you want to structure your trip) rather than slowly trudging up the Yosemite Falls or Snow Creek trail with a full pack on the first day out.

No problem with leaving your campsite intact (or, for that matter, caching your backpacks) while going out on a dayhike excursion while in the backcountry. Just be sure that your bear canister (they are required, you can rent them at the Wilderness Permit stations if you do not own any) is physically removed from the rest of your items.

Chick-on is the mascot, and perhaps alter ego, of bill-e-g (billy goat, aka Dale) in particular and this forum in general. Dale carries him along on many of his trips and he will appear in some of the trip photos. Chick-on seems to be forever under the mistaken impression that he contributes materially to the effort required to achieve a goal and, consequently, receives relentless teasing from 'The Marmots' (who network on my computer). Despite their postings, The Marmots love Chick-on, although it is unclear whether their attitude is similar to that of an older brother who 'tolerates' his younger sibling or that of the townspeople who protect the village idiot.



Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 01/02/2011 08:21AM by bill-e-g.
avatar Re: 1st Timers Need a Little Advice
December 31, 2010 08:33AM
Jim,
My tinkin is dis:
Still dunno if you EVER been to Yosemite.... so I'll assume you haven't... and say dis:
I wouldn't bother with Tuol. Meadows. Just get permit for Yose Falls or Happy ISles-LYV.
If you want less peeps then Yose Falls. Either will do you well.
Try like heck to get your car up to Glacier Pt.
With 4-5 days don't even think about seeing it all.
End of June should be just fine with North Rim or Happy Isles and whatnot. TM... is a crapshoot
at this pt. If the snow continues on this trend... Tioga rd. won't be open then.

As for my royal pinkness.... I have a supa dupa passion for the Sierra and Yosemite.
My current Research Project is to touchy all the lakes and all da peaks in da park.
Here's some: http://picasaweb.google.com/yosemite.chick.on/Peakies
(and yes, I'm related to the loon)
(billy, etc. and I have been doing this a while and outta control for quite some time)
(gotta see every trail... in every season... both directions... and then everything off trail too)
(I nose what I gotz... and I'm a taking advantages of it)

Have fun out there



Chick-on is looking at you!
avatar Re: 1st Timers Need a Little Advice
January 07, 2011 06:00AM
I'm not as high tech to have it on the internet, but I do have a map of the park on my wall with every lake i've been to crossed out...I guess we're on the same page...
avatar Re: 1st Timers Need a Little Advice
December 31, 2010 10:05AM
Quote
Jim
It may help to know our thought process. We picked late June/early July because we didn’t want to be limited by the snow and we read that the falls are flowing best that time of year. We can definitely come earlier in June if the snow won’t be an issue but I realize there’s no way to predict when the snow will melt. We’re looking for wilderness backpacking, awesome scenery and as much solitude as possible but we realize there may be no way around crowds. You’re right, we’re from Michigan(you’re good) and I’m thinking our best option for getting to Yosemite is to fly into San Francisco and rent a car and drive there. With that, this is our tentative plan at this point:

1. Fly into San Francisco on a Sunday. I believe we can probably arrive by noon PT. Rent a car and hopefully get to Yosemite around 5:00pm. We’d then either find a place to camp or stay in a nearby hotel/motel for the first night. I’d prefer to camp if possible. Any thoughts or suggestions on the first night would be appreciated!
2. Backpack Monday through Thursday (or possibly through Friday).
3. Leave the park Friday (or Saturday) morning and catch a flight home early afternoon Friday (or Saturday)

Random Questions:

A. You mentioned that we might not be happy with the climb difficulty of going up Yose Falls. So that means really difficult?
B. Is it safe to leave our gear where we camp and go off for a day hike? Or is that not what you meant earlier when you mentioned day hike to Indian Arch, & El Cap?
C. Please explain the chick

You might also consider flying into Oakland (CA) if you can find a decent airfare and the schedule works out. Although the city gets somewhat of a bad rap, the airport is just fine. Car rental is a lot easier there, and you'll be closer to I-580. I'd recommend I-880 S to I-238 E to I-580 E.

The elevation gain for Upper Yosemite Fall Trail was mentioned, but you also need to take into account that you're going to be at high altitude with a heavy pack. The Valley floor starts at about 4000 ft elevation, and by the time you're at the top it's almost 7000 ft. I don't think that it's a huge deal for someone in shape, but altitude should still be accounted for. I remember the times I've tried it I felt a little more tired that I thought I should be. When I spent a few weeks at higher altitudes a few years back, I had less trouble with getting winded after acclimating.

As for the water flow, it really does depend on individual years. In some years Yosemite Falls will slow down by late June. Last year we arrived in mid July and the Falls were a tiny ribbon. I was there in June 2007 and it was also a tiny ribbon. I've been there in a good snow year and it was almost overflowing near the end of June.
avatar Re: 1st Timers Need a Little Advice
December 31, 2010 11:22AM
Quote
y_p_w
You might also consider flying into Oakland (CA) if you can find a decent airfare and the schedule works out.


Reno, NV is another option.
avatar Re: 1st Timers Need a Little Advice
December 31, 2010 01:09PM
Jim,

I agree with Chick-on's last post for first timers. You have to see Yosemite Valley and maybe even drive up to Glacier Point on your last day. Best pricing for airport may be San Jose and it would be the shortest drive by a few miles.

Since you value back country solitude I highly recommend perhaps a subsequent trip the following year directly to the Tuolumne Meadows high country area for any number of multi-day trips and day trips. For this, fly into Reno and drive down, staying either in Lee Vining (near Mono Lake) like i do or stay at the Tuolumne Meadows backpacker's camp not too far from the permit office. This plan avoids the mass of humanity in Yosemite Valley and is a shorter drive to destination. I fly in from NC so Reno makes sense for me.

Go to http://www.nps.gov/yose/planyourvisit/wildpermits.htm for review of the wilderness permit process, especially the advance reservation method. Recommend trying to phone it in exactly 24 weeks ahead of your trailhead entry date to assure getting the exact date and trailhead you want.
avatar Re: 1st Timers Need a Little Advice
January 07, 2011 05:58AM
I'd say Reno is too far. However, I definitely agree about Oakland's airport. I lived in detroit for 18 months, and Oakland was my airport of choice to fly into and out of. I would only fly into SFO under protest. Sacramento wasn't too bad either.
avatar Re: 1st Timers Need a Little Advice
January 07, 2011 07:21AM
Quote
oakroscoe
I'd say Reno is too far. However, I definitely agree about Oakland's airport. I lived in detroit for 18 months, and Oakland was my airport of choice to fly into and out of. I would only fly into SFO under protest. Sacramento wasn't too bad either.



According to Google maps:

Oakland airport to Yosemite Valley: 173 miles & 3:32 drive time
Oakland airport to Tuolumne Mdws: 197 miles & 3:45
Reno airport to Yosemite Valley: 214 miles & 4:27
Reno airport to Tuolumne Mdws: 157 miles & 3:13
Re: 1st Timers Need a Little Advice
January 07, 2011 06:24PM
For first time visitors, I highly recommend the 2 hour valley floor tour. But only in Spring-Fall when they do it in the open air tram.
Re: 1st Timers Need a Little Advice
January 01, 2011 07:21AM
Wow, thank you all for the great feedback, information, advice and alternatives, I really appreciate it.

No, I don’t have any real mountain backpacking experience, so thanks for the reminders on the elevation changes, I’ll definitely keep that in mind while planning our trip. We’ll also make it a point to drive up to Glacier Point.

What will the nighttime temperatures be like during late June/early July? Just want to make sure we bring the right stuff.

Happy New Year!

PS, I really envy Chick-on, that little stuffed chick has seen some amazing sites. Maybe our paths (trails) will cross when I am out there, I’d definitely like to meet him!
Re: 1st Timers Need a Little Advice
January 01, 2011 07:44AM
http://www.nps.gov/yose/planyourvisit/climate.htm

Maximum Minimum
(°F / °C) - (°F / °C)
July 90/32 - 54/12

Subtract 10-20 degrees for the high country.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 01/01/2011 07:45AM by hotrod4x5.
avatar Re: 1st Timers Need a Little Advice
January 01, 2011 08:17AM
Here is a chart of the daily temperature excursions (daytime maximum, nightime minimum) for the last two years at White Wolf (el. 7.9k), which is approximately the elevation of the north rim:
http://cdec.water.ca.gov/jspplot/jspPlotServlet.jsp?sensor_no=15583&end=01%2F01%2F2011+08%3A04&geom=medium&interval=720&cookies=cdec01
[Scroll down the page to view the graph.]

As hotrod4x5 indicated above, subtract/add 3°F for each 1k elevation increase/decrease.



Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 01/01/2011 08:22AM by szalkowski.
Re: 1st Timers Need a Little Advice
January 07, 2011 08:10AM
Quote
Jim


What will the nighttime temperatures be like during late June/early July? Just want to make sure we bring the right stuff.

I take 20 degree down quilt(s) and layers adequate to get me lower than that at night - wearing the down jacket to bed is usually not necessary, but I've seen it forecasted to 33F and plunge to 10F in reality. That's in July/August. And I made a point to find accurately rated stuff - not the sleeping bags that will claim to be 20 degree bags and not keep you warm at 40 - a lot of bags you find for cheap, you get what you pay for... if you aren't going out often, rent some bags at REI and subtract 10 degrees off the label if you're a cold sleeper.

Elevation is a factor in low temps - there are snow fields and glaciers up high that stay year round. Another factor in temperature is terrain - valleys/canyons with water in them will be much colder at the bottom than halfway up the ridge on the way out of them. We night hiked up to Half Dome - right as we hit Little Yosemite Valley, the temperature dropped noticeably to the point that we all put on jackets. Took them off two miles later heading up out of the valley. We hadn't needed them on the way up to that point, either. And where do people like to camp? in the valley, near the water. (I'm speaking generally - in Little Yosemite you are forced to camp within a designated grounds no matter what.)
avatar Re: 1st Timers Need a Little Advice
January 09, 2011 09:19AM
Quote
AlmostThere
Another factor in temperature is terrain - valleys/canyons with water in them will be much colder at the bottom than halfway up the ridge on the way out of them. We night hiked up to Half Dome - right as we hit Little Yosemite Valley, the temperature dropped noticeably to the point that we all put on jackets. Took them off two miles later heading up out of the valley. We hadn't needed them on the way up to that point, either. And where do people like to camp? in the valley, near the water. (I'm speaking generally - in Little Yosemite you are forced to camp within a designated grounds no matter what.)



Brings to mind the quote of John Candy's character in the film “Cool Runnings” as the Jamaican bobsled team emerges from the airport into a blizzard (their first encounter with snow):
“It's not so much the heat, it's the humidity that'll kill you.”
Re: 1st Timers Need a Little Advice
January 07, 2011 08:16AM
All of you have provided great information here, but I am going to approach the question from a slightly different point of view. If I had FOUR days total in Yosemite, and had never been to the park before, I would not spend all four days backpacking. I know that isn't what the OP asked, but it's what I am going to answer.

I would spend ONE day taking the shuttle to Glacier Point and hiking the Panorama trail back down through Nevada and Vernal Falls to Happy Isles as a day hike. That gives me the best views in the park...all in one day, and I don't have to worry about permits or trying to find a campsite in LYV.

I would spend ONE day in the Valley iself, going to Bridalveil Falls, Yosemite Falls ( day hike half-way up to the viewpoint?) Mirror Lake and Snow Creek Falls. And maybe take a few minutes to wander around in the big meadow itself on the Valley floor, which is a great way to avoid the crowds there.

And those two days also give me time to get a little acclimated before tackling trails with a pack on.

And that still leaves two days for a backpacking trip...Up Lyell Canyon, over to Young Lakes, Ten Lakes Basin, even Polly Dome Lakes, or? Wherever I can get a permit.

if you do spend all four days backpacking, chances are the first and third nights are going to be relatively full of people, because of the number fo people who just do overnights. But this would give you a better view of the park in a short period of time.

And If I were flying from back East, I would plan a very early departure so that I could get to Yosemite in time to do a day hike to see Tuolumne Grove or Merced Grove. Only a couple of hours, max, but you really should see the Big Trees.

I know that isn't quite the GRAND ADVENTURE of a four-day backpacking trip. But I actually think it does a better job of showing more of what the park has to offer. And it will give you a much better knowledge base for your next trip.

Because you will come back.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 01/07/2011 08:19AM by balzaccom.
avatar Re: 1st Timers Need a Little Advice
January 07, 2011 06:32PM
Quote
balzaccom
if you do spend all four days backpacking, chances are the first and third nights are going to be relatively full of people, because of the number fo people who just do overnights. But this would give you a better view of the park in a short period of time.

I don't quite understand your logic. I'm taking a guess that you mean that the group might be closer to trailheads (where people would be doing overnights) on the first and last nights, but I thought that many of the suggestions would have placed the group near trailheads all three nights.
Re: 1st Timers Need a Little Advice
January 09, 2011 11:16AM
YPW--exactly. And as I recall, the OP wanted to get away from people....I think that's a bit unrealistic given all the other criteria.

And it would be a shame for him to miss some of this stuff just because he really wanted to backpack the whole time. AFter all, some of the best stuff in Yosemite does NOT require a backpack--from the Valley to Glacier Point, Sentinel Dome, Dewey Point, Clouds Rest, Tuolumne Meadows, the big tree groves...


-although those of us whole love and know the park know plenty of places that do require one!
Re: 1st Timers Need a Little Advice
January 09, 2011 06:36PM
Thanks all for the additional info on the overnight temps and alternate airports, really appreciate it. Also, point well taken on the fact that there are many Yosemite sites to see without a backpack. I’m beginning to think it’s foolish to try to plan out this first trip in too much detail before ever setting foot in the park.. Thanks again!
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