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Re: Grand Canyon of the Tuolumne: Mid-July Conditions

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Grand Canyon of the Tuolumne: Mid-July Conditions
June 23, 2011 07:30PM
I am planning a backpacking trip to the GCT from Tuolumne Meadows to White Wolf in a little over 2 weeks, starting July 9th weekend.

I would love more information in planning this trip.

- With the late snowmelt this year, will there be any issues crossing rivers/creeks or dealing with the tuolumne river taking over the trail? We are OK for a little adventure, but want to make sure it is a doable trip at this time THIS year.
- We will be taking 6 days to explore the area. Any suggestions on day hiking off-trail? or area/campsite to spend a base camp day?

Looking forward to the raging waterfalls!
elicali
avatar Re: Grand Canyon of the Tuolumne: Mid-July Conditions
June 23, 2011 08:25PM
Take a look at these posts from last and prior years.
Things are probably about 1-2 weeks later than last year...

http://yosemitenews.info/forum/read.php?3,27396
http://yosemitenews.info/forum/read.php?3,26924
http://yosemitenews.info/forum/read.php?3,26056
http://yosemitenews.info/forum/read.php?1,15179

Mid july... you'll have company... just go... if a crossing is too much... such as Register... then turn around and come back.
If you can get by Register then Morrison shouldn't be an issue.
Just don't expect logs across Morrison... even though I have crossed on logs b4 on that one.
Register does have logs across it but above the waterfall...

The snow is melting... hope to get atop Pothole tmr and get a pict. of Lake Tuolumne ...

Have fun



Chick-on is looking at you!
avatar Re: Grand Canyon of the Tuolumne: Mid-July Conditions
June 23, 2011 08:30PM
Quote
chick-on
hope to get atop Pothole tmr and get a pict. of Lake Tuolumne ...

I wanted to do that myself. Just ran out of time. <sigh>

Here's a bit of the "lake":


http://yosemitephotos.net/main.php/v/yosemite/cm-dsc_1683_001.jpg.html?g2_imageViewsIndex=1
Re: Grand Canyon of the Tuolumne: Mid-July Conditions
July 01, 2011 02:11PM
Thanks for all the information!

Still hoping the water levels are at the right conditions for great waterfalls and fordable creeks.

A couple more questions:
- Will we be able to camp in the Tuolumne Meadows backpackers area even if the campground is still closed?
- Is the Glen Aulin High Sierra Camp going to be open by July 10th? (just curious)
Re: Grand Canyon of the Tuolumne: Mid-July Conditions
July 04, 2011 09:40PM
Quote
elicali

A couple more questions:
- Will we be able to camp in the Tuolumne Meadows backpackers area even if the campground is still closed?
- Is the Glen Aulin High Sierra Camp going to be open by July 10th? (just curious)

- No.
- Tentative date listed for Glen Aulin opening is July 22.
Re: Grand Canyon of the Tuolumne: Mid-July Conditions
July 05, 2011 11:59AM
Hi elicali,

Sorry I have no help for you, but I'm interested in knowing trail/water conditions too. We'll be doing that trip (the other direction - WW to TM) a few days after you.

I'm keeping my fingers crossed that the White Wolf backpackers campground will open by then, since we were planning to stay there the night before our trip. If it's not open, I guess we have to stay at the Pines backpackers cg instead.
Re: Grand Canyon of the Tuolumne: Mid-July Conditions
July 06, 2011 11:09AM
I'm also interested in the conditions! I'm going TM-WW starting 7/17 and with the first night scheduled to be past Glen Aulin. By then the TM backpackers camp should be open, and I'm hoping that the high water areas will all be passable...
Re: Grand Canyon of the Tuolumne: Mid-July Conditions
July 07, 2011 12:24AM
happykamper - maybe we will cross each other in the middle of the canyon. Looks like it might be North Pines or Hetch Hetchy backpacker's campground for us. Still hoping for a last minute early opening of Tuolumne Meadows, but seems like a long shot.

vitamin C - I will be getting back to internet civilization on the 16th. Will try to update on the hike and trail conditions when I get back.

Anyone have any updates on the trail conditions currently? Mainly looking for information regarding Morrison Creek, Register Creek and trail flooding? I am just going for it and hoping creeks and river flooding of the trail are all safe/passable, but any more information is always welcome. Looking at Tuolumne River flow data from the USGS, looks like water levels/flows will be impressive while we are out there.
Re: Grand Canyon of the Tuolumne: Mid-July Conditions
July 11, 2011 08:54AM
Please let us know what this means? Thanks. "Still hoping for a last minute early opening of Tuolumne Meadows, but seems like a long shot."
avatar Re: Grand Canyon of the Tuolumne: Mid-July Conditions
July 11, 2011 09:35AM
Quote
beccawright
Please let us know what this means? Thanks. "Still hoping for a last minute early opening of Tuolumne Meadows, but seems like a long shot."


He means the campground at Tuolumne.Meadows probably won't be open at that time.
Re: Grand Canyon of the Tuolumne: Mid-July Conditions
July 09, 2011 10:00AM
Hi all,

I called the wilderness permit office, and the ranger there said that the section between Muir Gorge to Pate Valley was "pretty sketchy" due to the Tuolumne River flooding the trail. For any who have done this trip in early spring, do you have any information on how possible it might be to skirt around these sections by going on high ground? I would qualify the hiking experience of the group I am going with as intermediate to advanced.

elicali

P.S. - He also said the creeks were running pretty high, about 3 ft deep (I think he was talking about morrison).
Re: Grand Canyon of the Tuolumne: Mid-July Conditions
July 10, 2011 03:07PM
I suppose that's possible but it would take the leisure out of your trip!

That would be some gnarly cross country work - and you would still have to cross those creeks, which are crazy high if Morrison is 3 ft... The others are much bigger than Morrison, typically.
avatar Re: Grand Canyon of the Tuolumne: Mid-July Conditions
July 10, 2011 03:40PM
Not really possible imo (or advised for intermediate) (but prove me wrong)

Look here:
http://yosemitenews.info/forum/read.php?3,39534,39543#msg-39543

If you look there... you will see a picture.
Mile 132 is the sticky spot in the canyon.
There is a saddle north of there... but you won't make it up the west side of that...
so you are stuck on the trail imo.

Have fun



Chick-on is looking at you!
Re: Grand Canyon of the Tuolumne: Mid-July Conditions
July 11, 2011 05:59PM
Hi,

Let us know if you ended up doing the trip, and what the crossings were like.

I have a permit starting this Friday the 15th. But if it's still sketchy, we won't go. (Hoping that the much cooler weather this week will slow the snowmelt a bit.)

- LisaT
Re: Grand Canyon of the Tuolumne: Mid-July Conditions
July 12, 2011 03:43PM
I just spoke to the wilderness permit office. They report that Morrison Creek is at 2.5-3ft, and that it will take ~1/4mi of wading through 1.5-2ft of water just to reach Waterwheel Falls. I am not inclined to wade through that much cold water... though I still may go just to see how far I can get.

My permit is for a Glen Aulin camp pass-through; based on the above info does it seem likely that there will be any dry spots suitable for camping past the Glen Aulin HS camp?

Thanks for any input.
avatar Re: Grand Canyon of the Tuolumne: Mid-July Conditions
July 12, 2011 06:14PM
There was dry ground available in Glen Aulin proper (after the HSC) when I was there on 6/25. Beyond glen-bottom locations, I was camped on the ridge just west of the HSC and after sunset saw a campfire on the ridge on the other end of the glen.
Re: Grand Canyon of the Tuolumne: Mid-July Conditions
July 12, 2011 04:24PM
Has anyone been on the section of the Tuolumne below Waterwheel in the past few days? If so, do you know how Return and Register Creeks are running? I know there are no trails along these creeks but I am doing research in this area and was wondering if it would be possible to hike upstream along them from the Tuolumne.
Also, does anyone know how heavy the snow pack is at elevations above Glen Aulin? I need to get to areas between 9000-10000 ft and was wondering how feasible this would be.
Any input would be appreciated. Thanks
avatar Re: Grand Canyon of the Tuolumne: Mid-July Conditions
July 12, 2011 06:13PM
You don't have to have been in the GCT lately to know that Register and Return are screaming now
and there is no way you would hike upstream IN them. Yeah, you probably didn't mean this... but
normally when doing something like this... you wanna have the option to.
Regardless, it should not matter... to get up high maybe just do this:


Mind you I haven't gone up that way... but I know it's "do-able".

Good luck and don't blame me



Chick-on is looking at you!
Re: Grand Canyon of the Tuolumne: Mid-July Conditions
July 12, 2011 11:48PM
Thanks for the feedback...I never planned to hike through the river; that generally seems like something to avoid, but your point is well taken. And the route suggested does seem feasible. Do you know if the trail between Glen Aulin and Return is at least relatively passable? I hear the trail under Waterwheel is a bit wet but i can't get a straight answer regarding how wet it is. Again, thanks for the input; it is appreciated.
avatar Re: Grand Canyon of the Tuolumne: Mid-July Conditions
July 13, 2011 06:55AM
Probably you meant above Waterwheel.... The Mattie outlet in Glen Aulin gets flooded.
Just expect something like this and you won't be too surprised:
https://picasaweb.google.com/yosemite.chick.on/GCTuolumne#5483228065653744674
If you made it this far then anything else to Return bridge is non issue...

With the recent burn... the route drawn above will be much easier... you can probably consider
staying even further south and working your way up where trees and shrub used to be..
Look at this picture... (use the zoom tool and you should be able to see what I'm talking about).
Looks like a fun endeavor actually (at first read I thought you were nuts):
https://picasaweb.google.com/yosemite.chick.on/GCTuolumne#5483219956408042946
Here's looking up from the trail west of Return bridge:
https://picasaweb.google.com/yosemite.chick.on/GCTuolumne#5628834901811583586

*note - these were taken in 2010, not this year...

From Google Smurf up Register looks feasible... but that route I would def. want to be able
to have option of crossing the creek... since it squeezes quite a bit on the east side.

Curious what your research is about... (I'm gonna "research" Muir Gorge hopefully in October wink )



Chick-on is looking at you!
Re: Grand Canyon of the Tuolumne: Mid-July Conditions
July 13, 2011 11:31AM
Thank you so much. It sounds like you have a lot of experience hiking in the area and i really appreciate the input.
Do you know how low the snow is now? A ranger told me there was still a good bit above 8500 ft but that seems a little vague and unconfirmed.

And I am working on my maters thesis in geology studying structural aspects of the igneous rocks in the area between Glen Aulin and Pate Valley. It's a rough job but someone has to do it smiling smiley
avatar Re: Grand Canyon of the Tuolumne: Mid-July Conditions
July 13, 2011 02:15PM
8500 seems ultra conservative going by what I saw over the 4th...
That picture of where you want to go up... I'm pretty certain it will look pretty much like that now.
So that entire route up to Hooper should be snow free now. It's all southern facing.
basilbop was in that area this year already... maybe he has a shot of the same that is not included here:
https://picasaweb.google.com/basilbop/WaterwheelFalls11
9K-10K on that side is WAAAY out of the canyon... so it's hard to tell exactly where you are poking around
without you drawing a map and say "here".... but the area around Hooper towards Register I can almost
guarantee you will be "researchable" and not covered in 12ft. of snow

Have fun with your research



Chick-on is looking at you!
Re: Grand Canyon of the Tuolumne: Mid-July Conditions
July 13, 2011 06:10PM
I don't currently have access to my unposted pictures, but I don't recall seeing any snow on the north rim of the GCT from anywhere below Glen Aulin/California Falls.
Re: Grand Canyon of the Tuolumne: Mid-July Conditions
July 16, 2011 09:02AM
Hi all,

Just got back from my trip down the Grand Canyon of the Tuolumne.

The water levels were down from the conditions described by the rangers at the trailhead. I think that the rain had made the levels higher on the days immediately prior to my trip. Thankfully, the route was passable all the way through. Also had the benefit of up to date conditions from a couple of groups going to Glen Aulin from White Wolf (Thanks to all of you!)

Some specifics (note I am 5'3''):
- Dingley was just over my knees.
- Register was definitely a scary crossing in my opinion. Wading: it was over waist deep. Crossing at the cascade (gulp): it was about shin deep.
- No notable flooded trail areas between Register and Pate Valley, just wet shoes but felt safe.
- Morrison was about knee high.

Other information of the trip:
- Rattlesnakes - saw plenty climbing over Muir Gorge and plenty climbing out of Pate Valley.
- Bears - three sightings on the hike out of Pate Valley, including Mama Bear and Cub. (whew)
- Mosquitoes - everywhere but not as bad as I imagined. Pre-treated clothes and DEET took care of it. (Worst I have experienced is Yellowstone in mid-July).
- Snow - still patchy snow on the hike out at higher elevations. Just made the last day a little more effort to get up and down the snow patches.
- Wet shoes - flooded trails and river crossings meant wet shoes for most of the trip.

All in all it was an AMAZING hike. I am glad to have seen it during Spring conditions.

I already miss the raging sound of the Tuolumne River and the incredible vistas.

Thanks again for all the help I got organizing this trip from all of you in this forum.

elicali
avatar Re: Grand Canyon of the Tuolumne: Mid-July Conditions
July 16, 2011 10:11AM
Pictures, were are the pictures!
Re: Grand Canyon of the Tuolumne: Mid-July Conditions
July 18, 2011 12:29PM
I did the White Wolf - Pate - Tuolumne route about 3 days after elicali.
I'd say conditions are even better now!

- Register, the most worrisome crossing, was only just above knee deep (and not at the "edge" of the falls below) at noon.
- Morrison and Delaney each about knee-deep
- There is substantial mud-walking and wading (no more than shin-deep), both east of Pate and east of California Falls. But nothing dangerous whatsoever.
- There was absolutely no snow left (on the trail).

The waterfalls were HUGE. The descriptors that came to mind were: "Angry," "raging," and "someone released Hoover Dam." Leconte Falls looked like massive cumulus clouds pouring over a cliff edge one by one. All big falls had waterwheels.

I recommend bringing two trekking poles. I don't usually hike with two poles, but it was enormously helpful for stream crossings on this trip. Made it much safer.

We saw two rattlesnakes; no bears.

We do recommend doing this trip eastbound (White Wolf to Tuolumne), both to get the descent to Pate overwith first, and also to be able to view the falls and streams while walking upstream. We parked our car at Lembert Dome and hitched to White Wolf. Recommended.

Another version that would work well is an overnight, out-and-back from Tuolumne to Waterwheel and back. Note the real distance of that hike is 18-20 miles, not 15-17 as a couple sources (including Yosemite signs with bad distances) suggest. And it is very much *not* fast going!

LisaT



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 07/18/2011 12:30PM by LisaT.
Re: Grand Canyon of the Tuolumne: Mid-July Conditions
July 20, 2011 08:10AM
Just got back from doing this trip, too! Went from GA->WW. Agree that the water crossings were just fine, and the river was definitely raging. We also saw two rattlesnakes- perhaps the same? smiling smiley

Saw hardly anyone on the trail past Waterwheel, maybe 8 people over the last two days.

Going up to White Wolf is challenging, though I think I would still prefer going in that direction. Guess I'll need to do the reverse route for a proper comparison...
avatar Re: Grand Canyon of the Tuolumne: Mid-July Conditions
July 20, 2011 09:16AM
Quote
vitaminC
Just got back from doing this trip, too! Went from GA->WW.
Going up to White Wolf is challenging, though I think I would still prefer going in that direction.


It's not bad as long as you do it first thing in the morning while it is still cool. I consider it infinitely preferable to the neverending trudge upriver.
avatar Re: Grand Canyon of the Tuolumne: Mid-July Conditions
July 20, 2011 06:38PM
Do not listen to the marmuts. Listen to Chick-on is looking at you!.
Hiking upstream is much better.



Chick-on is looking at you!
Re: Grand Canyon of the Tuolumne: Mid-July Conditions
July 20, 2011 07:15PM
Quote
chick-on
Do not listen to the marmuts. Listen to Chick-on is looking at you!.
Hiking upstream is much better.

I can see how it would be nice to have the falls in front as a distraction from the climbing, though you would also have the sun in your face a lot more. I think that either way would be both tiring and excellent. Next year I'll go back and do try it your way grinning smiley
Re: Grand Canyon of the Tuolumne: Mid-July Conditions
July 20, 2011 07:45PM
I am no cinematographer, however...



avatar Re: Grand Canyon of the Tuolumne: Mid-July Conditions
July 20, 2011 08:32PM
That's actually LeConte. Not Waterwheel. Waterwheel is a little bit further downstream.
(maybe the sun was in your eyes) (I'm yoking) smiling smiley

Maybe you get a kick out of this. You may have stayed in the woods here. It's
a popular spot to spend the night. (we have a couple of times)
It's the cascade about 1.5 miles west of Register Crossing:




Chick-on is looking at you!
Re: Grand Canyon of the Tuolumne: Mid-July Conditions
July 21, 2011 07:58AM
Quote
chick-on
That's actually LeConte. Not Waterwheel. Waterwheel is a little bit further downstream.
(maybe the sun was in your eyes) (I'm yoking) smiling smiley

Hmmm, possible I guess, though Google images would suggest otherwise. My map and map reading skills are do not have high-accuracy smiling smiley At any rate, even if it was "Chick-On Falls" it would still be awesome and people would flock to it! grinning smiley

We camped just above a waterfall before Return Spring, either the one that is unnamed on my map (Harrison High Sierra) or Waterwheel. My GPS had a hard time keeping good notes in the canyon.
avatar Re: Grand Canyon of the Tuolumne: Mid-July Conditions
July 21, 2011 08:27AM
Quote
vitaminC
Quote
chick-on
That's actually LeConte. Not Waterwheel. Waterwheel is a little bit further downstream.
(maybe the sun was in your eyes) (I'm yoking) smiling smiley

Hmmm, possible I guess, though Google images would suggest otherwise. My map and map reading skills are do not have high-accuracy smiling smiley At any rate, even if it was "Chick-On Falls" it would still be awesome and people would flock to it! grinning smiley

We camped just above a waterfall before Return Spring, either the one that is unnamed on my map (Harrison High Sierra) or Waterwheel. My GPS had a hard time keeping good notes in the canyon.




You might want to start reading a previous thread at this post:
http://yosemitenews.info/forum/read.php?3,26924,27213#msg-27213
avatar Re: Grand Canyon of the Tuolumne: Mid-July Conditions
July 21, 2011 12:00PM
No worries... it's a great little video. Thanks for posting



Chick-on is looking at you!
Re: Grand Canyon of the Tuolumne: Mid-July Conditions
July 21, 2011 12:37PM
We are doing this trip next week....what were the conditions of the water crossings?
avatar Re: Grand Canyon of the Tuolumne: Mid-July Conditions
July 20, 2011 01:25PM
Quote
vitaminC
Going up to White Wolf is challenging, though I think I would still prefer going in that direction. Guess I'll need to do the reverse route for a proper comparison...

I did the other direction and, remembering the drop down from White Wolf, I'm sure I did the right thing.
Re: Grand Canyon of the Tuolumne: Mid-July Conditions
July 22, 2011 02:27PM
I will be going from White Wolf to Glen Aulin next week. It has been so helpful to read the posts on here. Thanks everyone! I am a little nervous about the crossings but I'm sure I'll figure it out. I was told that crossing first thing in the morning makes a difference because the snow melt over the course of the day increases the amt of water considerably. Can anyone tell me if there are crossings that aren't clear, and if missed would require a great deal of back-tracking? Or any specific locations to cross Register if it's not clear from the trail....
Re: Grand Canyon of the Tuolumne: Mid-July Conditions
July 22, 2011 02:59PM
Everything was fine last weekend, and undoubtedly the levels are decreasing every day. If you're going down from WW, Morrison will be your first crossing and most likely the deepest- it was nearly knee deep on me. Register looks more daunting since you have to go near the edge of a cascade, however there is a built-up path there to walk on so it's not really too deep (there was a rope to hang on to when coming from the other side!). Otherwise you'll mostly be dealing with mud and little sections which you can just hop over.

I recommend using hiking poles and unbuckling your chest- and waste-belts before crossing- just in case. And do keep an eye out for rattlesnakes on the trail.

Being able to soak my feet in the cold river water after each day of hiking was an unexpected delight and really made my feet feel better after walking on rocks all day cool smiley



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 07/22/2011 03:00PM by vitaminC.
Re: Grand Canyon of the Tuolumne: Mid-July Conditions
July 24, 2011 10:13PM
Thanks so much for the response vitamin c. Very helpful and reassuring to my last minute jitters.
Re: Grand Canyon of the Tuolumne: Mid-July Conditions
July 25, 2011 11:37AM
We were warned by the rangers that the Tuolumne was over the banks and 4 feet deep in places, so we ended up changing plans and just hiking from TM to Glen Aulin and down to the footbridge past waterwheel and back before continuing on our trip. But we ran into several groups who came from White Wolf and said it was passable no big deal. There was a good log over Delaney, Dingley was only ankle deep when we were there July 15-16.
Re: Grand Canyon of the Tuolumne: Mid-July Conditions
July 25, 2011 03:08PM
I have a group of 6 heading down-river starting at Tuolumne on Aug. 20. Been trying to reach a human up at Tuolumne for weeks now. The phone rings until it hangs up. This blog seems to be the only reliable source of information out there. Our plan is to do the 19th at the Tuolumne Backpacker's campground then head out in the a,m. on the 20th. We will be exiting at White Wolf on the 25th or 26th. This way we can lounge around for a couple of days in the canyon. Again, our plan is to use the White Wolf backpacker's campgroung then take the YARTS back to Tuolumne to pick up our cars. Any information anyone has regarding the White Wolf backpacker's campground would be helpful. Form the information posted here I am confident that the trail through The Grand Canyon of the Tuolumne is passable. We aren't too concerned about wet feet.

Keep treking...........and leave no trace!!!!!!!!!!
avatar Re: Grand Canyon of the Tuolumne: Mid-July Conditions
July 25, 2011 04:34PM
Quote
bigpapa
I have a group of 6 heading down-river starting at Tuolumne on Aug. 20. Been trying to reach a human up at Tuolumne for weeks now. The phone rings until it hangs up.

Keep treking...........and leave no trace!!!!!!!!!!


The phones apparently are still out at Tuolumne Meadows:
http://yosemitenews.info/forum/read.php?3,42575,42578#msg-42578

The ringing that you hear is merely the local exchange that services Tuolumne Meadows telling you that it is sending a signal to ring the requested phone. [If you disconnect the cables from all the phones on a landline and then dial that number from another phone, you will still hear a ringing sound on the phone from which you are calling.]



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 07/25/2011 04:40PM by szalkowski.
Re: Grand Canyon of the Tuolumne: Mid-July Conditions
July 25, 2011 06:14PM
Quote
bigpapa
I have a group of 6 heading down-river starting at Tuolumne on Aug. 20. Been trying to reach a human up at Tuolumne for weeks now. The phone rings until it hangs up. This blog seems to be the only reliable source of information out there. Our plan is to do the 19th at the Tuolumne Backpacker's campground then head out in the a,m. on the 20th. We will be exiting at White Wolf on the 25th or 26th. This way we can lounge around for a couple of days in the canyon. Again, our plan is to use the White Wolf backpacker's campgroung then take the YARTS back to Tuolumne to pick up our cars. Any information anyone has regarding the White Wolf backpacker's campground would be helpful. Form the information posted here I am confident that the trail through The Grand Canyon of the Tuolumne is passable. We aren't too concerned about wet feet.

What info would you need about the WW backpacker campground? It's the same as all the others, get a permit, go there, pay 5/person at the iron ranger, walk down there and pick a spot.

Last time I was there the ranger was walking around at midnight checking for permits.
Re: Grand Canyon of the Tuolumne: Mid-July Conditions
July 26, 2011 07:08AM
With White Wolf closed I am wondering whether the backpacker's campground is even open and if so what the conditions might be. I use backpacker's campgrounds virtually every time I'm in the park so I am familiar with the basics.............but thanks for the refresher anyway.thumbs up
Re: Grand Canyon of the Tuolumne: Mid-July Conditions
July 26, 2011 10:02AM
Quote
bigpapa
With White Wolf closed I am wondering whether the backpacker's campground is even open and if so what the conditions might be. I use backpacker's campgrounds virtually every time I'm in the park so I am familiar with the basics.............but thanks for the refresher anyway.thumbs up

WW campground opened yesterday, according to the website.
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