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Deciding Between Trails for a 4 day Trip on 6/15

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Deciding Between Trails for a 4 day Trip on 6/15
May 26, 2011 11:43PM
Hey everyone,

First of all, y'all are awesome, tons of great info and advice! Reading this forum makes me even more upset to be stuck in Ohio.

From what I've gathered looking around this board and other sources, Hetch Hetchy is the best place to get a backpacking trip with as little snow as possible this early in the season (starting 6/15). Does this mean that Hetch Hetchy wouldn't require snowshoes? Perhaps for perspective, how much snow should I expect in comparison to this picture above Rancheria Falls? (http://www.greengirl.org/uploads/rancheria-overlook1.jpg) Me and my group are thinking of setting up a basecamp at Lake Vernon and exploring the area, hopefully getting into Jack Main and other off trail oddities. Are there any particularly great off trail sites to see in this area that we shouldnt miss?

As for other ideas: I was thinking of hiking from Wawona, over Buena Vista Pass, then on into the valley. Should we expect a significant amount of snow there? How does it compare to HH?

Finally, while I've been to Yosemite a few times, including a couple of backpacking trips, I've seen some pretty "classic" Yosemite areas, but my group has not. Because of this, I am considering a loop around Tenaya Canyon, hitting Olmsted, Tenaya Lake, Sunrise, maybe Clouds Rest, drop our packs at Half Dome and go back down. What obstacles would we encounter here?

For some background, we are all in our early 20's, with a lot of outdoors experience, but not a ton of high-country mountaineering (of the ice and snow sort) experience. We may have a GPS, but not sure yet. A lot of us are rock climbers.

Thanks in advance!!
Kuls
avatar Re: Deciding Between Trails for a 4 day Trip on 6/15
May 27, 2011 07:35AM
I'll say a few words.

By Hetch Hetchy many mean Rancheria and Tiltill Valley. Gibson holds snow past Memorial Day nearly every year.
By mid June nearly everything is open but rivers will be roaring and the swampy areas will be delicious.
This year snow will persist in those places.
Read this in case you haven't:
http://yosemitenews.info/forum/read.php?3,30944

The picture you showed. It looked like that a few weeks ago already.

By Buena Vista Pass... I presume you are going past Crescent and Johnson and Royal Arch.
Which means you have to cross Chilnualna Creek. It will be roaring. I have never crossed
that time so I don't know. I just know I wouldn't plan a trip that I HAD to cross it.
This year there will be significant snow still at BV Lake and Pass then. For sure.
Some of this may be of interest:
http://yosemitenews.info/forum/read.php?3,27268,27268#msg-27268

Your other loop will have considerable snow from Tenaya Lake past Sunrise Lakes area towards Clouds.
Guaranteed. It did last year... it will this year.

Your saving grace MAY be that many others will be out there flopping around in the snow.
But then again we rarely see people go far. They usually give up fairly quickly.

Big concerns should obviously be roaring rivers that are not bridged.
There's a plethora of stuff off trail. I've said this a million times in the past... the trail rarely goes the
most scenic route. It oftens goes the easiest route from Pt. A to Pt. B.
Pick a route and then maybe I can say off trail stuff... but depending on what route you choose
you may have enough issue staying on the trail anyway.

Have fun



Chick-on is looking at you!
avatar Re: Deciding Between Trails for a 4 day Trip on 6/15
May 27, 2011 10:56AM
Chilnulana Creek (just up from the crossing) June 12 2010. It was uncrossable. Saw many people turn back or wander up and down the creek trying to find a place to cross. And it will be worse this year.
avatar Re: Deciding Between Trails for a 4 day Trip on 6/15
May 27, 2011 11:30AM
Awesome. Tanks for the foto!
Have only been up once when it was roaring and that was dayhike and was too lazy to go look at the crossing.
As with everything... wanna go back.. had "Chilnualna Early" on the every growing list o things to do for a few years now.
I'd be prepared for some serious xcountry if really wanted to get to BV Lake from Chilnualna TH in spring runoff time.

Thanks again



Chick-on is looking at you!
Re: Deciding Between Trails for a 4 day Trip on 6/15
May 27, 2011 07:35AM
Quote
Kuls

From what I've gathered looking around this board and other sources, Hetch Hetchy is the best place to get a backpacking trip with as little snow as possible this early in the season (starting 6/15). Does this mean that Hetch Hetchy wouldn't require snowshoes? Perhaps for perspective, how much snow should I expect in comparison to this picture above Rancheria Falls? (http://www.greengirl.org/uploads/rancheria-overlook1.jpg) Me and my group are thinking of setting up a basecamp at Lake Vernon and exploring the area, hopefully getting into Jack Main and other off trail oddities. Are there any particularly great off trail sites to see in this area that we shouldnt miss?

You should look at chick-on's recent trip report/pictures for this area.

BTW, the trail goes through Jack Main...

There will still be snow coverage - the higher you go, the more there will be. You should know how to navigate well without a trail if you go, to be safe.

Prolly not needing snowshoes this late in spring. Prolly want traction devices and poles. Maybe an ice axe depending on how adventurous you get with steep slopes.


Quote

As for other ideas: I was thinking of hiking from Wawona, over Buena Vista Pass, then on into the valley. Should we expect a significant amount of snow there? How does it compare to HH?

This will be a more forested area and chances are good snow will be melting off since it's lower than some of the other places you're talking about. But the concern here (actually, a concern everywhere) are stream crossings. High water is dangerous. Again, just in case, you should know how to navigate without trails, if there are large remaining snowfields.

Quote

Finally, while I've been to Yosemite a few times, including a couple of backpacking trips, I've seen some pretty "classic" Yosemite areas, but my group has not. Because of this, I am considering a loop around Tenaya Canyon, hitting Olmsted, Tenaya Lake, Sunrise, maybe Clouds Rest, drop our packs at Half Dome and go back down. What obstacles would we encounter here?

Warnings same as above, only more so. Sounds like you want to start on Tioga Road. That might be possible. It might not be. The road might open but there will still be significant snow just off the road, and into the trees, and up the mountains.

Quote

For some background, we are all in our early 20's, with a lot of outdoors experience, but not a ton of high-country mountaineering (of the ice and snow sort) experience. We may have a GPS, but not sure yet. A lot of us are rock climbers.

Do you know how to use a GPS? Do you know how to use a map/compass? Are you confident in those skills?
avatar Re: Deciding Between Trails for a 4 day Trip on 6/15
May 27, 2011 07:41AM
And what she said.

I think there is going to be a lot of permits available this year.
Lots o peeps gonna say screw it.

Many roads that usually are open by now are not. Loads of snow.
Still trying to decide where to go this wkend... deciding how far I wanna hike on a usually open road...

GP road is opening... and pretty sure there will be plenty of "dang... dat a lot of snow" reports coming back soon.

Anyway, good luck with your planning



Chick-on is looking at you!
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