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Tenaya Lake, Yosemite National Park

The Moon is Waning Crescent (35% of Full)


Re: Sky Islands

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Sky Islands
March 21, 2012 09:53AM

anyone care to educate me on how to get to this place, what time of year is best and the level of skill needed to get there?

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 03/21/2012 12:44PM by eeek.
Re: Sky Islands
March 21, 2012 10:20AM
That is not a single place in the mountains. There are many alpine areas where those flowers grow. Look at a topo map of the Sierra and you will see stretches of rocky alpine above 10000 feet - that's where the sky pilot and the other plants grow.

For locations accessible by trail, look at high passes on the JMT, Mt Dana (the first scenes in the video look like the ridge going up to Dana) and places like Mono and Parker Pass. Half Dome and Clouds Rest are too low. Donahue Pass has sky pilot, and other species shown.

I love the Tablelands in Sequoia NP - loads of yellow columbine and other gorgeous flowers you don't see lower.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 03/21/2012 10:21AM by AlmostThere.
Re: Sky Islands
March 21, 2012 10:27AM
Thanks AlmostThere I better bring sum ibuopofen! I guess it's not super-chick-on level more like junior chick-on levels...
Re: Sky Islands
March 21, 2012 11:06AM
Incredible. Wish I had good knees and could hike and see it in person.
avatar Re: Sky Islands
March 21, 2012 11:30AM
I'll be going over Donahue at the very beginning of September; any chance the Sky Pilots will still be impressive there by then?
Re: Sky Islands
March 21, 2012 03:36PM
The Sky Islands are as the Yosemite film notes areas of the Sierra Nevada near the crest that during ancient glacial periods were above glaciers. Hence the landscapes do not have the usual glacial sculpting and erosion of those much more common areas. The area in the film is the Dana Plateau that is actually not in the park but rather Ansel Adams Wilderness and also atop Mount Dana. One can reach Mount Dana from Tioga Pass or reach the plateau by parking along the south end of Tioga Lake and then hiking towards Glacier Canyon:


Good place to backpack during calm weather for a one nighter. From the east brink, a sky view down on Mono Lake. There are such scattered areas along the Sierra Crest and some are also roof pendants, that are older metamorphic rock areas that are remanant rock that overlaid the Sierra before the granite plutons rose up and which have since mostly eroded away.

Such a plateau at the crest at Excelsior Mountain east above Lundy Canyon that is also a metamorphic roof pendant:


Another such granitic plateau at the crest near Mount Lamarck east of Bishop:



Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 03/21/2012 03:41PM by DavidSenesac.
avatar Re: Sky Islands
March 21, 2012 05:11PM
Didn't watch it again... but it's my recollection that the film was done mostly on the flanks of Mt. Dana
and on the Parsons Plateau. Without question some was shot right near Parsons Peak which
is a little S of Ireland Lake. There are a myriad number of ways to get up on the Plateau but
probably the easiest with the nicest view would be from Ireland itself. Mostly a simple walk up until
you get to the saddle and then some boulder hiking to get up onto the plateau and Parsons Peak.
But you don't nec. even have to go up on the plateau to get the same stuff... all the way to
the saddle between Ireland and the Bernice Lake Basin area is similar terrain.
I know I posted this photo before... but here it is again:

Gallison Lake is in the photo along with Half Dome. And Bernice is the lake on the left. I'm certain in the video you can see
Bernice and Gallison (maybe I should actually watch it again) too.

Anyway, next time you are at Glacier Pt. take a look at one of those maps up there and then find
Parsons.. you may need Chick-on eyes to see it though.. Here's a zoom with some stuff pointed out.

Here's Parsons Peak ... saddle is on left... Ireland will be on right down below:

and here's the view from the saddle:

You can get there from Vog. Pass... but from Ireland it will be wide open the entire way... as pretty much shown in the peekchures.

Have fun and Tread Lightly

Chick-on is looking at you!
Re: Sky Islands
March 21, 2012 09:34PM
good stuff, thanks Chick-on and David! Following the master's lead even a jr. chick-on like myself could do it.
avatar Re: Sky Islands
March 22, 2012 06:59AM
I knew I had a taken a better zoomie faux toe of the Parsons Plateau.
Found it:

From left to right... Sentinel Dome, Vogelsang Peak, Parsons Plateau

This was taken from Crocker Pt.

Chick-on is looking at you!
Re: Sky Islands
March 21, 2012 10:43PM
That was a cool video. Thanks for posting. Sky Pilot / polemonium are one of my favorite Sierra flowers. Dana is an easy hike 6 miles round trip with a use trail all the way to the top. The trail starts at the 120 east entrance station. Before you get to the plateau you will see an amazing wildflower display about a mile from the trailhead. The sky pilots usually appear around 10k plus but on Dana seem to be closer to 12k. Late July through early September is best for the flowers depending on weather and snowmelt. Like others mentioned the passes are the best places. Just beware of thunderstorms. The north side of Forester pass had the best sky pilot display I have seen but that requires an extended backpacking trip and I was lucky to hit the bloom perfectly.
Re: Sky Islands
March 24, 2012 06:46PM
The north side of Forester pass had the best sky pilot display I have seen but that requires an extended backpacking trip and I was lucky to hit the bloom perfectly.

We saw them on the south side of Forester in 2010 on June 30th as well... the North side was still blanketed in snow from just above center basin ( i think that is what it was called) clear up to the last 50 feet to the pass . Beautiful and amazing are those aigh alpine flowers.
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