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Re: Sunrise on a Summit: July 3rd

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Sunrise on a Summit: July 3rd
June 13, 2012 06:14PM
Hi,

I'll be staying in Yosemite during July 4th week and snagged a few sites in Toulumne Meadows and a single day in the valley. We also snagged tickets for Half dome cables and are planning on summitting the dome at dawn. While trying to figure out how we could coordinate leaving from the valley and returning to Toulumne at night I came upon a website that suggested hiking from Tenaya Lake to Clouds Rest to Half Dome and down to the Valley. This could potentially work.

The last time I summitted Half Dome I left the valley at 2am in the morning on a new moon. It was dark but my eyes adjusted soon enough and there was enough light reflected from the stars that I went w/o lighting starting from little yosemite valley till dawn. We weren't planning on summitting the dome before dawn but noticed climbers ascending the cables somewhere around the junction for clouds rest. We tried to move faster but ended up missing sunrise by about 45min.

This time our group is planning on summitting HD before dawn but are having some logistic issues about not spending too much time away from the family. We have no problem leaving at night but since we're staying in Toulumne meadows we would either have to spend the night in the valley or leave toulumne meadows around 11pm so that we can be at happy isles around 12am.

Maybe Leaving from Tenaya makes more sense? Should we leave at night around the same time (12am) to make the summit before dawn? We can tuck in our wives in bed (don't have to sleep in the valley and/or avoid driving at night ). Rather than summitting Half dome we can summit clouds rest ( are we missing out on this change of plans ) and summit half dome later in the day ( will the cables be crowded by than or our we OK because of the 300 limit ). we also have a waterfront campsite in North Pines that the wives will be at. What time would we have to leave Tenaya Lake area to summit clouds rest so that we are on the summit before dawn. Sunrise is at 5:41. And how many hours will it take us to reach Half Dome from Clouds rest?

Any other advice/maps would be appreciated. I.E. Is the trail from Tenaya Lake to clouds rest difficult to navigate at night? Also has anyone horsebacked from the stables in the valley and out of Toulumne Meadows. Can anyone give advice on the differences?



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 06/13/2012 06:19PM by limonjelly.
Re: Sunrise on a Summit: July 3rd
June 13, 2012 11:39PM
I did this last year from the valley, left at 1am and went up the jmt instead of the mist trail due to the water levels. I think I got to the cables around 5 but some of the hikers I was with we're a little slow. It was light but I made it to the summit in time to see the sun rise. I have permits for the 3rd of July this year but plan on watching the sunset from the top this time.
Re: Sunrise on a Summit: July 3rd
June 13, 2012 11:43PM
I've also gone from toulumne to clouds rest and down to the
Valley though I didn't go up hd. I would suggest staying on top of the saddle between clouds rest and hd but it may be a bad idea at night.
Re: Sunrise on a Summit: July 3rd
June 14, 2012 08:21AM
Hi,

Comparing your two hike experiences, Valley to HD back to Valley and Toulumne to Valley. How beat up were you comparing one to the other? I know I was pretty tired my first time (not in shape) when I did HD at night. The issue was that I like to drive at night ( i have little kids and can get to my destination quicker w/ the kids asleep i.e. no potty breaks ) and arrived into the valley around 5am. Needles to say I stayed up all night and for some crazy reason ( before lottery was in place ) we decided to head up towards half dome that night. I didn't sleep until the next week so I think I was sleep deprived and was pretty beat up after doing HD that day. But this time around I'm planning on sleeping at least few hours before leaving for the hike and will be in the Park at least 2 days prior.
avatar Re: Sunrise on a Summit: July 3rd
June 14, 2012 07:20AM
It's about 6 miles to top of CR from Tenaya Lake.
It's about 12 miles to HD via CR from Tenaya Lake.
It's about 7 miles to HD via Mist from Happy Isles.

Via CR if you stay entirely on the trail... you dump nearly 3K ft in elevation.
And then climb back up 2K.

It's a well travelled trail. It should all be easy to nav. at night since you are familiar with such travels.

Here's my 2 dollars worth (and you can just ignore if HD is the only summit you want to see sunrise from):
- 6 Miles to top of CR. In daylight that can be done "fairly easily" in 2 hrs... call it 3 at night... so do that instead
- How about top of Mt. Dana for Sunrise?

Not sure answered all your questions... well I know I didn't b/c one of my new policies to just not
not talk about horses and mules.

Whatever you do... Have fun out there



Chick-on is looking at you!
Re: Sunrise on a Summit: July 3rd
June 14, 2012 08:34AM
Hi thanks for the reply back. Just to be clear. We have some in our party that are intent of doing Half Dome. Clouds Rest is my idea. Also Half Dome and seeing the sunrise from there is not a requirement. But I would very much like to do at least one sunrise from some location in Yosemite ( Mt Dana would be nice but not sure on this hike ). So here are my basic requirements:

1. Leave at night. (from toulumnee)
2. Arrive at a nice location to view the sunrise over the eastern sierra's. (Clouds Rest?)
3. Climb HD
4. either start or end up in Toulumne Meadows or in the valley. (Valley)
5. Loop or one way w/ shuttle. (shuttle)

If we follow your suggestion we can leave Toulumne Meadows before 2am and reach the saddle of Clouds Rest around 5am. And by that time it should be close to dawn and moderately lighted to ascend the saddle safely. We can than rest there for a few hours and watch the other hikes ascending HD.

From Clouds Rest how long would it take us to reach Half Dome?
avatar Re: Sunrise on a Summit: July 3rd
June 14, 2012 09:49AM
You have all day.

Get one car down at Happy Isles and hike the CR / HD / Happy Isles way
with sunrise atop Clouds Rest.

Just figure 2 mph... so 6 hours hiking time to get to top of HD.
From there it's all downhill to Happy Isles.

If you are comfortable with xcountry travel you can do 1/4+1/4 and get
a Full A Dome in. When I did that I was atop HD starting from Tenaya
in 5 hours with a lot of farting around.

If you stay on the trail... you only do an additional 500 ft. back up... so
prob. just stay on the trail.. it will be quicker...

Have fun



Chick-on is looking at you!
avatar Re: Sunrise on a Summit: July 3rd
June 14, 2012 09:52AM
P.S. You should be getting about 20 responses... since so many do Clouds Rest...

(you might even get a Video from Curry Pizza Guy)

Chick-on is looking at you!



Chick-on is looking at you!
Re: Sunrise on a Summit: July 3rd
June 14, 2012 03:01PM
Hi,

I found your earlier post on 1/4 domes .....head straight down rather than taking the switchbacks....got it. Do you happen to know the time it takes to travel form Clouds rest to the cables on Half Dome? I'm trying to beat the crowd going up the cables and figure that the line will start forming around 11am.

If we start our descent from Clouds Rest at 5:30am what time can we expect to reach the cables or summit of HD?
avatar Re: Sunrise on a Summit: July 3rd
June 14, 2012 04:00PM
Quote
limonjelly
Hi,

I found your earlier post on 1/4 domes .....head straight down rather than taking the switchbacks....got it. Do you happen to know the time it takes to travel form Clouds rest to the cables on Half Dome? I'm trying to beat the crowd going up the cables and figure that the line will start forming around 11am.

If we start our descent from Clouds Rest at 5:30am what time can we expect to reach the cables or summit of HD?

Not to be a poopyhead... but ... 5:30am + 3hrs = 8:30am
smiling smiley

I would not worry in the least about crowds on Half Dome cables nowadays.
Those days are gone imho.

Just a word of warning.. perhaps again... if you head "straight down" to Quarter Domes... it may
be too much... You have to assess what you and your group are comfortable with and
what you want to do and see. If you go the best way then the amount of shrub you touch will
be very minimal. When you leave the rim and head back to the HD trail you WILL have to
jump over many many fallen logs.
Thus my comment w/r to saying the trail will be quicker (and it will be ... b/c if you go QD route..
well... if you don't go up both 1/4 domes... well... why did you go that way?)

Be safe and have fun

(and I dunno man... any sunrise OR sunset atop ANY dome or summit or heck... anything with
a great view ... is worth it in my chick-on brain)

Half Dome a Great Day



Chick-on is looking at you!
Re: Sunrise on a Summit: July 3rd
June 14, 2012 08:46PM
Quote
limonjelly
Hi,

Do you happen to know the time it takes to travel form Clouds rest to the cables on Half Dome? I'm trying to beat the crowd going up the cables and figure that the line will start forming around 11am.

This is the picture of the cables after I started at Tenaya Lake at 6am, was on top of Clouds Rest by 10 am, stayed at the peak an hour, and in another 4 hours I was at the Sub-Dome of Half Dome. Here is the trip report: Trip Report: Tenaya Lake, Clouds Rest, Half Dome, Yosemite Valley

By the way, my standard complaint is the over-reaction to cable overcrowding and I show this picture that is an August afternoon on a perfect weather day. Overcrowding?

Re: Sunrise on a Summit: July 3rd
June 14, 2012 08:28PM
Quote
chick-on
P.S. You should be getting about 20 responses... since so many do Clouds Rest...

(you might even get a Video from Curry Pizza Guy)

Chick-on is looking at you!

I can't disappoint...


Re: Sunrise on a Summit: July 3rd
June 14, 2012 03:18PM
Is there some special reason you are trying to be atop Half Dome at sunrise? The early morning view west-northwest down into the valley is best in the early morning about 8am with the sun shining down from the east, so that can be worthwhile. But otherwise because the much higher nearby 11k+ Cathedral Range blocks sunrise, the sky color is not likely to be interesting unless one is lucky to have some high clouds to the east. Specifically the sun early July at this latitude will rise about 30 degrees north of due east or at compass point 60 degrees that is approximately about Tuolumne Pass and Rafferty Peak. Even Clouds Rest is blocked.

http://mapper.acme.com/?ll=37.78184,-119.47323&z=12&t=T

However both HD at 8.8k and CR at 9.9k are not blocked to the west so those seeking interesting light on those bumps usually visit them at the end of day and then downclimb at dusk. Unfortunately the air quality to the west is more often than not mediocre given all the pollution in the Central Valley. Most likely to have interesting sunset light in September after weak fronts blow away the stale air and their nice cirrus clouds light up the atmosphere.

David



http://www.davidsenesac.com



Edited 3 time(s). Last edit at 06/14/2012 03:24PM by DavidSenesac.
Sunrise on a Summit
June 14, 2012 05:00PM
Initially we were planning on leaveing from the valley and head to HD if for no other reason than to not be away from the family and thus hiking at night when the kids are asleep. Sunset would be nice but than who'll cook dinner?

But from what you're telling me than the lighting looking west is best around 8am. That's great stuff and now I get Chick-ON recommendation in regards to summiting Mt Dana at Dawn.

I get it!
How difficult to do a loop
June 27, 2012 02:35PM
Someone in my party just asked how more difficult would it be if we changed our route and rather than shuttling down to the valley we did a loop from Tenaya Lake to Clouds rest to Half Dome and back to Tenaya Lake via JMT rather than going into the valley. It's



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 06/27/2012 04:27PM by limonjelly.
Re: How difficult to do a loop
June 27, 2012 04:17PM
You would be adding quite a section.

I break out the hike into roughly three equal sections:

1. 7 miles Tenaya Lake to Clouds Rest
2. 7 miles Clouds Rest to Half Dome
3. 7 miles Half Dome to Valley

If I understand your question you are eliminating part 3 but backtracking on 1 and 2 except essentially skipping the Clouds Rest summit. But the extra seven miles from Half Dome is what is going to be, in my opinion, very very difficult to fit into a day hike. By my rough section estimates you are talking about 28 miles.
avatar Re: How difficult to do a loop
June 27, 2012 08:38PM
It's a good 26 miles. I took another noob buddie on that trek in 2 days.
He still talks about it to this day ... how I baited and switched him into a killer trek
with a backpack.
(truth of the matter is... yeah... I did... instead of taking Forsyth... I hadn't been on JMT
portion before... so... "uh... let's go this way instead" )
It's a long climb up from CR/HD junction... 2500ft. in 5 miles... and ... well... let's just
say I got far enough ahead of him so I knew where he was but he couldn't yell at me
too much. smiling smiley
(actually he had a great time)
Anyway, for a dayhike... that's a bugger. 5 miles DOWN vs. 11.5 UP
Overnight... perhaps... dayhike... nah... go up Clouds and HD and enjoy



Chick-on is looking at you!
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