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Re: Camping in Lyell Canyon

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Camping in Lyell Canyon
September 10, 2011 02:57PM
Greetings to all. I just came across this forum while putting the finishing touches on my trip coming up this week. We've got a permit for the Lyell Canyon trailhead on Sun, 18Sept. Planning on exiting at Happy Isles on Friday. I've got a few questions that I would love to get some experienced perspective on.......

1: I was thinking about staying in Lyell Canyon on the first night near where Ireland Ck flows into the Lyell Fork. It will make for a short day, but thought tackling the climb up Ireland Ck to Evelyn lake might be best on fresh legs at the beginning of day two. Also gives us another night to acclimate before staying around/near the HSC. The only reason I can think to not do this is the amount of bear activity I've heard in Lyell Canyon. Is that a big enough issue to want to push out of the canyon on day 1 without camping?

2: Around the HSC will we want to spend the time/effort to climb Fletcher peak? Is it worth it, and do-able? Any insight into that side trip would be appreciated.

3: Heading to Merced lake from Vogelsang, I was thinking of using the trail along Lewis Ck. Any real reason to not do that, along with a side trip to Bernice Lk?

4: After Merced Lk we're planning on crossing JMT and Sunrise Ck to climb up to the trail north of Cloud's Rest. Would rather do that climb without a heavy load of water, so the question is at that T-intersection of with the Tenaya/Clouds Rest trail....where's the nearest sure fire water. ( I read another post about Chick-ons 100% guarantee, but could quite figure out where it was relative to the intersection)

5: Approaching Clouds Rest from the North....will we want to shed packs that the intersection immediately before clouds rest, then backtrack and continue south on the L fork, or just carry packs up and over and down the steep south face?

Any help you can give me on these points would be greatly appreciated!

Dave (badknees) Slade
avatar Re: Camping in Lyell Canyon
September 10, 2011 04:22PM
1) bear cans are required throughout the park - therefore you will have a bear can - therefore you should not worry about bears
camp wherever you are happy with within the regs and use the can and nuttin to worry bout
2) I dunno. I not you. If you have all day you could dayhike all the way to Parsons. I really like Parsons Plateau
dunno your experience... simplest way up Fletcher would be from Vog Pass (which you should go to regardless of which way
you go to Merced) Vogelsang Peak is another option. Just be aware that snow fields are extremely
compacted now and with the colder weather and shorter days can be much more dangerous than earlier in the year.
3) That's the way I would go if I only had one chance
4) I will put a map up... With that route you are gonna climb a whole lotta with your packs
why don't you just continue down to the Clouds/JMT junction and dayhike up from there?
Another option is to simply go down the Merced to LYV and camp there ... hands down I would go that
way earlier in the year...
5) if you're gonna take packs up... then just climb over with them

here's another map with where you'll find water year round:

You really can't go wrong... but the "easiest" way would be: Fletcher Creek Trail, Merced River to LYV. Dayhike from LYV and dayhike from Vog. HSC.

Have fun

Chick-on is looking at you!
Re: Camping in Lyell Canyon
September 11, 2011 05:52AM
Regarding Fletcher peak, it's not worth it IMO. I've been "up the ridge" from Vogelsang pass a few times. Lots of bushwhacking and just not worth it . If you want to climb something, do Vogelsang peak instead.
Re: Camping in Lyell Canyon
September 11, 2011 10:18AM
1. As chick-on mentioned, with bear cans, bears aren't really much of an issue. At that particular location before the canister regulations went into effect (2004 if I remember correctly) there was a bear cable there. Subsequently many people camped there. So combination of a lot of people camping there & ineffective food storage caused a lot of bear activity there. I guess the old stories take a while to be forgotten.

2. An alternative route for Fletcher Peak is to go up the drainage from Flechter Lake, to Townsley Lake and Hanging Basket and then to the top. Those lakes are really nice by themselves. It is a bit longer and out of your way, so may not work for you and your itinerary, but it is an option. I would consider it an option if you are spending a day at vogelsang, not that it takes that long, but if you are passing through towards Bernice Lk it maybe too much.

3 & 4 & 5: concur with chick-on
Re: Camping in Lyell Canyon
September 11, 2011 02:09PM
Thanks for input everyone, I really appreciate the expert advice.

I had not thought of the option of setting camp in between HD and CR and doing day hikes for each. Those nights will be Thur/Fri for us. Would you figure we can find decent camps near HD/JMT intersection without having to share the area with a bunch of people? Although not a deal breaker, I prefer to set camp somewhat secluded in the back country.

Thanks again.
avatar Re: Camping in Lyell Canyon
September 11, 2011 02:20PM
The best places are at the JMT/Clouds Rest junction and some more a bit up the JMT.
avatar Re: Camping in Lyell Canyon
September 11, 2011 05:31PM
I've slept at the HD/CR junction a couple of couple of times in September.
On both occasions either we were the only ones there or the other peeps
could not be seen. There are also nice spots imo in either direction off
the JMT. Of course you may have bad timing...
I just think your effort is better spent dayhiking than climbing up Forsyth trail to hit
Clouds from the north. I'd be willing to bet after going up for half an hour you're
party is gonna whinge.
w/r to dayhiking Hanging Basket... there is some discussion here.
(note there MAY be snow fields to traverse now... haven't been there this year)
(but wouldn't be surprised)

Chick-on is looking at you!
avatar Re: Camping in Lyell Canyon
September 14, 2011 05:25PM
Heya, I was just out Thurs. 9/8 to Mon. 9/12; from Elizabeth Lake to Vogelsang Pass, Gallison Lake, Echo Valley, trail to Sunrise & exit at Sunrise / Tenaya Lake.

Forecast (prior to leaving) was "chance of showers and thunderstorms"

It rained every day, only 60-90 minutes or so, which wasn't a problem, except for Sunday, when it rained from about 1:30 to 5:00 - that was not fun at all. Gear was dry and found a dry campsite under thick trees, so no disasters.

Check forecast:
and be ready.
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