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Re: Upper Yosemite Falls advice

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Upper Yosemite Falls advice
February 24, 2012 10:39PM
Our plan this summer (late July) is to start our backpacking trip by hiking up Yosemite Falls trail. I know that's not a popular choice for hauling a backpack up, but I didn't want to deal with taking the bus out to one of the trailheads on Tioga Rd or compete with everyone else looking for a Happy Isle permit. I've been up the trail before and started early enough that I beat the heat on the upper section, but I was staying at Yosemite Lodge so it was easy to get to the trailhead. That won't be the case this time.

We'll be spending the night before at the backpackers camp near North Pines campground and I thought we'd get up early, drive over and find a parking spot near the trailhead and get started. Now I see that the parking for the upper falls trailhead is 2 miles away near Curry Village. Waiting for the buses to start up would delay us a couple of hours, or we could walk the 2 miles, but I was hoping there is available parking closer. I know that the lot for camp 4 requires a permit, but are there any other lots near there that we would be able to park in for 5/6 nights?

I'm also wondering about how much water to start out with. If we don't beat the heat, I don't want to get stuck on the upper switchbacks running low on water. I see that there is potentionally water between the top of the first bunch of switchbacks and Columbia rock, but I've read that it isn't a dependable source in late July. Is it possible to safely get close enough to Yosemite Creek between the upper and lower falls to refill our water bottles?

thanks
avatar Re: Upper Yosemite Falls advice
February 25, 2012 04:51AM
Quote
DB1
. . . snip . . .
Our plan this summer (late July) is to start our backpacking trip by hiking up Yosemite Falls trail. . . . snip . . .

WoW That's a hard trail to backpack up. I've done it a couple of times and it was quite an experience. It's amazing finally getting to the top, passing the gate up there, and finally seeing flat trail with a stream beside it from which to quench your thirst!

Quote
DB1
. . . snip . . . are there any other lots near there that we would be able to park in for 5/6 nights?

I can't think of any where I'd be comfortable parking for that long. It's all reserved for Lodge/buses/Camp 4/other and you risk getting towed if you park there for 1 day, let alone 5. The only place I'd park for that long is at the Trail Head/Backpacking parking lot over past Curry.

The buses start running at 7am. If that's too late for you may may end up having to walk.

Quote
DB1
I'm also wondering about how much water to start out with. If we don't beat the heat, I don't want to get stuck on the upper switchbacks running low on water. I see that there is potentionally water between the top of the first bunch of switchbacks and Columbia rock, but I've read that it isn't a dependable source in late July. Is it possible to safely get close enough to Yosemite Creek between the upper and lower falls to refill our water bottles?
thanks

NO!!! The Yosemite Creek Gorge between upper and lower falls is extremely dangerous! It's a slot canyon with slick rock leading into it. If you slip and slide on the wet rock you're a goner. I can't think of any dependable water anywhere on the trail. I think there are various places where the trail is wet and you maybe able to pump from a puddle, and in July may still be wet, but they all dry up by the end of summer. You may be able to get close enough to the base of the falls and find a puddle being filled from the spray from the falls. Be VERY careful on the slick wet rocks!

Your best bets are:
super early before it it gets hot
super late after the upper trail goes into shade
slow pace so you don't overheat
carry extra amounts of water
combo of the above

enjoy the trip, take lots of pictures, post a TR, keep it safe!



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 02/25/2012 04:54AM by qumqats.
Re: Upper Yosemite Falls advice
February 25, 2012 06:27AM
I'd just reserve a spot on the hiker bus, walk to stop 13B in front of Curry on the morning of, get on, and ride up to Tioga Rd. Tell the driver "I want X trailhead" and they stop and let you off. Easy peasy.
Re: Upper Yosemite Falls advice
February 25, 2012 08:46AM
Sounds like the most sane thing to do.
Re: Upper Yosemite Falls advice
February 25, 2012 09:29AM
DB1, you don't say where your ultimate destination is going to be when you're backpacking. I'm also assuming from your post that you have a car in the park.

Speaking from personal experience, you couldn't pay me enough money to haul a backpack up Yosemite Falls trail. It's rickety, poor, rocky traction and (IMO) overrated for views. Coming down is a nightmare on your knees!

Why not start your trek from Sunrise or Cathedral Lakes trailhead in the High Country? You can safely park your car there for days with no problem. The trails there are vastly superior to Yosemite Falls in scenery and in condition.

If you are intent upon beginning a backpacking trip from the Valley, why not go up Four Mile Trail? There are plenty of trips in various directions once you reach Nevada Falls.

And if you have your heart set on Yosemite Falls, start early. 5:00 am would be good. The crowds there are nasty and will impede your progress as the day progresses.
Re: Upper Yosemite Falls advice
February 25, 2012 11:24AM
If you're fit and up for the challenge of lugging your stuff up UYF trail, why not I suppose. But it's important to be realistic and honest about your abilities.

Interestingly, I've seen more people going up Snow Creek than UYF. Probably due to the crowds/popularity of the UYF trail. I must say looking at the faces of the people that go up the Snow Creek, while carrying 25-30 lbs on their backs, most do look miserable. Plan accordingly to minimize the heat/sun factor. As early as possible, or reasonably late. You also don't want to be on that trail (any trail, really) when it's dark. w/o a good light source, your line of sight is reduced tremendously.

Water: there are also a few places once you've reached the upper switchbacks, past the halfway point where you first see the UF, where you might find extra run-off water flowing down the wall. But that depends on time of year and can vary from year-to-year. The water up here is probably high enough in elevation to be drinkable w/o the tablets/filter (I've done it), but it's better to be on the safe side. The water is cold and delicious, very refreshing. These "fountains," if flowing, are can't miss - right along the trail. But I certainly wouldn't expect them to be there. One example here:



As others have suggested: slow, steady pace. Most people on the trails are courteous and will give you right of way or dibs on the shaded resting spots. Stop every 1/4 mile or even every few minutes, if need be. Enjoy the views, be safe, have fun.
avatar Re: Upper Yosemite Falls advice
February 25, 2012 04:03PM
I've backpacked up UYF several times, and while it is a difficult trail, it's certainly do-able. I prefer to go up mid to late afternoon when most of the trail is in the shade because even though it might be cooler in the morning, unless you go before sunrise it heats up fast and it's much more bearable when the sun isn't beating down on you.

With the lack of snow we've been having this year I wouldn't count on any water until you reach the top. I would probably bring around 1.5 liters of water. But if you plan on taking over 2 hours to reach the top you will want more.

Chris
Re: Upper Yosemite Falls advice
February 25, 2012 09:47PM
Mid-July 2011.
Started the hike at 10:45AM. I brought 3 liters (100oz) and ran out 3/4 of the way up because I started the hike in the heat. Also, I foolishly did not bring a light-colored hat, which therefore added to my water consumption.
Fortunately I had my water filter and was able to fill up at the trailside fountain pictured above. If I recall, this fountain is like 98% of the way to the top. Neither of the two water sources I remember encountering on the way up (one being the fountain near the top and the other being a trickle along the rock wall on your left ~1/2 way up the trail) are what I'd call reliable...especially in late summer.
Don't be afraid to start off with a ton of water. The pack, as you know, will lighten significantly as you consume the water.
avatar Re: Upper Yosemite Falls advice
February 26, 2012 08:17AM
I would just have someone carry you up the trail.
easy peasy



Chick-on is looking at you!
avatar Re: Upper Yosemite Falls advice
February 26, 2012 08:20AM
Seriously though. Park car at TH parking. Hike to BP campground. Sleep.
Get up. If near 7am then just get up and hike to Ahwanee and take bus to TH.
Or just hike yer butt over there... it's not any different than Snow Creek
(in other words.... it's a good 2.5 miles before you start "up" )
I only take 1 litre of water... but that's me.
Have fun



Chick-on is looking at you!
Re: Upper Yosemite Falls advice
February 26, 2012 12:52PM
Quote
chick-on
I would just have someone carry you up the trail.
easy peasy

How much can a laden African swallow carry?
Re: Upper Yosemite Falls advice
February 26, 2012 02:21PM
"Your feet keep on slippin' slippin' slippin', while on the Falls trail. So Fly Like An Eagle..."
avatar Re: Upper Yosemite Falls advice
February 27, 2012 07:32AM
Quote
AlmostThere
Quote
chick-on
I would just have someone carry you up the trail.
easy peasy

How much can a laden African swallow carry?

Not as much as a European one
smiling smiley

(and my fav-o-right colour is Pink obviously) tongue sticking out smiley



Chick-on is looking at you!
Re: Upper Yosemite Falls advice
February 26, 2012 03:18PM
Maybe we're crazy, but we're looking forward to the challenge of hiking up the trail and we will spend the next 5 months getting ready for it. If I fail in my efforts to get in to better shape before the trip, maybe I can hire a sherpas from the camp 4 crowd. Embaressed

I think we're going to shoot for getting into the valley early enough the day before to stand in line for a spot at camp 4. If we get one, we'll leave the car at the Curry Village lot and take the bus over to camp 4. If not, we'll stay at the backpacking camp and shuttle our gear to the trailhead in the morning and draw straws to see who gets to take the car to Curry Village and walk back. Either way we're going to get an early start and try to get to the top before 9:00.

thanks
avatar Re: Upper Yosemite Falls advice
February 26, 2012 03:50PM
As a backpacker with a wilderness permit you can park at the Trailhead/Backpackers parking lot for 5 days or more.
I'm not sure what would happen at Curry Village if a car was left that long.

) be double careful bear-proofing the car. leave no food or anything with an odor in the car, use the bear boxes at the lots. leave nothing visible in the car.
) as you're packing the backpack consider do you really need it? how much does it weigh? lightening the backpack can make a huge difference on a climb like this.



Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 02/26/2012 04:08PM by qumqats.
Re: Upper Yosemite Falls advice
February 26, 2012 05:16PM
Quote
qumqats
As a backpacker with a wilderness permit you can park at the Trailhead/Backpackers parking lot for 5 days or more.
I'm not sure what would happen at Curry Village if a car was left that long.

Yep, I meant the backpackers lot. It looks like it's only a little past Curry Village.
Re: Upper Yosemite Falls advice
February 26, 2012 07:33PM
It seems to me that a car left in the curry village "apple orchard" parking area or the outer reaches of the paved parking lot wouldn't really be bothered.
avatar Re: Upper Yosemite Falls advice
February 27, 2012 02:57AM
Quote
hotrod4x5
It seems to me that a car left in the curry village "apple orchard" parking area or the outer reaches of the paved parking lot wouldn't really be bothered.

Unless a bear thinks you have food in it.
avatar Re: Upper Yosemite Falls advice
February 27, 2012 07:34AM
Just in case.... the BP campground is "approx" 1 mile from the BP parking.

And you're not nuts... Old Dude and I took newbie up YF trail... he made it...

Ewe Can Dew It!



Chick-on is looking at you!
avatar Re: Upper Yosemite Falls advice
February 27, 2012 11:26AM
I did a similar trip a few years back that ended by coming down the Yosemite Falls trail. We left a car along 120 where we started and went back to get it when we were done. We were forced to leave the car at the Curry Village Parking lot also. I thought we were pretty smart though. We left my mountain bike locked up at the walk-in campground and used that to go get the car at the end of the trip. No need to wait for the bus and it was a flat 10 minute ride. That might be a good way to start your trip. Use the car to bring your gear to the trail head then drop the car off and ride the bike over and lock it up. Just a thought!

As a side note. After that trip I will never carry a backpack up or down that trail again. It was hell on my knees going down.

If you really want to backpack to Yosemite Falls, I recommend going from the Porcupine Creek TH to North Dome, then along the the valley rim to Yosemite Falls, then back to the car. Its a beautiful trail with some decent elevation changes and great views.

Enjoy!



"It is all very beautiful and magical here - a quality which cannot be described. You have to live it and breath it., let the sun bake it into you" - Ansel Adams
avatar Re: Upper Yosemite Falls advice
February 27, 2012 12:39PM
Quote
Jayabrams
I did a similar trip a few years back that ended by coming down the Yosemite Falls trail. We left a car along 120 where we started and went back to get it when we were done. We were forced to leave the car at the Curry Village Parking lot also. I thought we were pretty smart though. We left my mountain bike locked up at the walk-in campground and used that to go get the car at the end of the trip. No need to wait for the bus and it was a flat 10 minute ride. That might be a good way to start your trip. Use the car to bring your gear to the trail head then drop the car off and ride the bike over and lock it up. Just a thought!

As a side note. After that trip I will never carry a backpack up or down that trail again. It was hell on my knees going down.

If you really want to backpack to Yosemite Falls, I recommend going from the Porcupine Creek TH to North Dome, then along the the valley rim to Yosemite Falls, then back to the car. Its a beautiful trail with some decent elevation changes and great views.

Enjoy!

Jay, would you recommend Porcupine Creek over the Olmsted Point trail for scenery? I was thinking of doing maybe a 3 night trip involving Snow Creek and North Dome starting from the road and ending in the Valley. Since I won't have a car, will be there when YARTS goes weekend only (and will be done on a weekday), and can't imagine hitch-hiking when I haven't showered in days, hiking down to the valley is my only option.
avatar Re: Upper Yosemite Falls advice
February 27, 2012 01:52PM
Olmstead point and the Snow Creek trail are beautiful and IMO more picturesque than the Porcupine Creek trail. But we're talking Yosemite here so you really can't go wrong. PC trail head is a good option for the type of trip you mention. You can start there and end there without re-tracing your steps too much. No need to worry about buses or hitchhiking.

We went from that trail head to the greatest campsite ever at the saddle below North Dome. Then on to Yosemite Falls to another great site just upriver from where the bridge crosses Yosemite Creek. Then we hiked down to our car in the valley and shuttled back to the other car.

It seemed like a great idea when planning, all downhill. If I were to do it over I would not go down to the valley (3.5 miles or so) but rather make the 6 to 7 miles back uphill to the car from Yosemite Falls.

I hope this is helpful.



"It is all very beautiful and magical here - a quality which cannot be described. You have to live it and breath it., let the sun bake it into you" - Ansel Adams



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 02/27/2012 01:55PM by Jayabrams.
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