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Re: cables and trail conditions

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cables and trail conditions
May 22, 2011 10:00AM
My boy and I are going (planning anyway) to be coming down from Half Dome to LYV around June 23rd. Considering that the cables may not be up by that time, with the 200% snowfall, does that mean that the Park Service considers the trail between LYV and Half Dome to be too dangerous?
Re: cables and trail conditions
May 22, 2011 05:51PM
Quote
mtc
My boy and I are going (planning anyway) to be coming down from Half Dome to LYV around June 23rd. Considering that the cables may not be up by that time, with the 200% snowfall, does that mean that the Park Service considers the trail between LYV and Half Dome to be too dangerous?

How are you getting up there?

I would be surprised if the cables aren't up by then. End of May, probably not, but June 23rd it's quite likely that Tioga will be open and the cables up and running.
avatar Re: cables and trail conditions
May 22, 2011 06:20PM
Quote
AlmostThere
I would be surprised if the cables aren't up by then. End of May, probably not

More than probably. NPS has already said they won't be up in May.
Re: cables and trail conditions
May 23, 2011 04:47AM
we are doing a clockwise loop up rockslides, around the north rim to tenaya lake and plan on crossing clouds rest to half dome and back down into the valley via LYV/Happy Isles.
Re: cables and trail conditions
May 23, 2011 06:24AM
actually, my original question should be -- does the park service consider the trail from LYV to Happy Isles to be too dangerous with snow/ice?
Re: cables and trail conditions
May 23, 2011 06:57AM
Quote
mtc
actually, my original question should be -- does the park service consider the trail from LYV to Happy Isles to be too dangerous with snow/ice?

Since they close parts of it in winter - the mist trail and the upper portion of the JMT switchbacks on the way to Nevada Falls - the answer is yes.

Not that it is a pertinent answer/question in late June, when there won't be snow or ice on either and both routes will be open and busy with hikers and tourists.
Re: cables and trail conditions
May 23, 2011 12:17PM
I was told by the Yosemite rangers ten days ago that the Half Dome trail was "not recommended", because of snow and icy conditions.

I hiked on Saturday, found no ice, but a half mile of snow before the sub-dome, and several hundred feet of snow on the sub-dome, some pretty steep.

But the snow was in great condition: soft enough for kicking footsteps, firm enough so no postholing.

Pictures here: Half Dome, Cables Down
Re: cables and trail conditions
May 23, 2011 02:07PM
thanks, great photos -- how/when does snow become "post-holey"?
avatar Re: cables and trail conditions
May 24, 2011 07:01AM
Maybe no one else say anything so I'll tell you my thoughts/experience.

It will stay post-holey when new snow has fallen and it hasn't consolidated enough to
take the weight of your little feet carrying all that weight above said feets.
It will become post-holey after consolidating after that big ol ball in the sky has
done it's business on it. How much it melts along with the weight above
determines how much you poke thru.
With what we have in the Sierra where we get freeze/thaw/freeze/etc. you can have
nice frozen top layer that you can walk on in the morning which later in the day
softens up and you poke thru. That frozen layer can also stay frozen and you still
poke thru which is a pain in the rump roast.
The best conditions are where it just stays nice and consolidated and you walk away
on many feet of snow. If there is only a foot of snow then you could post hole all
the way through. That is why the transition area can be a pain too.

What this mean?
Well... imo if you are going high then for maybe another month seriously contemplate
taking snow shoes so if you do start postholing up the ying yang you are covered.
When sun cups really start showing up then the shoes are useless.

Something like that
I don't consider myself an expert by and stretch of the imagination... but have done
enough to not care what the conditions are anymore... and just go

Have fun

(to the other guy... does anyone even rent snowshoes now?)



Chick-on is looking at you!
Re: cables and trail conditions
May 24, 2011 10:54AM
Regarding postholing: Decades ago when I was a university student, I'd lead a Memorial Weekend backpack. Several years, we had large amounts of snow. We never took snow shoes, and never needed them. By late spring, the snow has consolidated so much that you generally walk right over it, never sinking more than an inch.

The only exception is when you are in a boulder field, and so cannot judge how thin or thick the cover is. Stepping where the snow is thin will not support your weight. Same holds near bushes. Otherwise, walking over it works great. Just beware of dangerous snow bridges over streams!

As for cables on Half Dome, I posted a trip report last night, here: Half Dome with Cables Down
avatar Re: cables and trail conditions
May 24, 2011 11:27AM
Yeah, I would say that is typical around Memorial Day that the snow has consolidated enough to walk on.
Have walked on snow often then but took snowshoes last year at that time.
This year, like last, I would think long and hard before not taking them. They do have the
added benefit of having crampons which allows you to keep chugging w/o slipping all over the place.
Last year:
https://picasaweb.google.com/yosemite.chick.on/Nance
And I'll be taking them this year.

A lot depends on where you are going and if you REALLY want to get there... blah blah blah.

Even in mid-April this year we went up the JMT and took the High Trail to Echo Valley and didn't use
snow shoes at all until dropping down into Echo Valley (the south facing trail caused the snow to be
not very deep and melted quite a bit). (note that the JMT to the HD junction even in April is
often free of snow)

And... with the recent storm the Pohono Trail was covered in new snow and I quickly put on the
shoes after hitting 6K and they stayed on until hitting the road at Taft Pt. parking area..

Anyway, have fun postholing out there



Chick-on is looking at you!
avatar Re: cables and trail conditions
May 23, 2011 08:02PM
WOW! Thanks so much for posting those pictures. I am leading three other guys on a four day backcountry hike for my pre-wedding bachelor "party"/excursion and they are all eager to tackle Half Dome. I was sure I was going to have to tell them it was a no-go on account of all the snow, but your pictures seem to leave the possibility wide open. My question for you is about snowshoes. I am looking into renting snow shoes for my group because we were expecting to do a lot of hiking over multiple days in the higher elevations. Can you offer my any advice on this matter? Any light you can shed on the matter would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!
avatar Re: cables and trail conditions
May 23, 2011 09:37PM
We talked about this in the past, you may want to look here also:

http://yosemitenews.info/forum/read.php?3,25438,25438#msg-25438



Chick-on is looking at you!
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