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Re: HELP! Need some route advice

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HELP! Need some route advice
January 15, 2013 09:20PM
Hello Everyone-
New member to the Forum here. Some friends and I are planning a 7 night/7.5 day backpacking trip in Yosemite starting May 18th, ending May 25th. Our preferred route is to begin at Hetch Hetchy and take the Rancheria Falls trails north of the reservoir to Rancheria Mountain/Pleasant Valley, down to Pate Valley into the Grand Canyon of the Tuolumne, east to Glen Aulin/Tuolumne Meadows and then take the JMT to Little Yosemite Valley and then on to the Valley floor. It's roughly 70 miles. I've scoured through multiple threads on this Forum (and others) to get a better understanding of what the potential is of being able to follow through with our preferred route at this time of year taking into consideration the weather and have found a tremendous amount of useful information - big thanks to all who participate here - but have found a bit of contradictory info as well. Some say most trails will be open, others say likely not. This is obviously driven by the fact that weather is unpredictable and there is no way to know when the trail heads will open until we are closer to the actual date. That said, I am looking to gain insight from those on this Forum that have done distance backcountry hikes in Yosemite at this time of year and can offer up advice/considerations on our preferred route and/or alternative options that will be a much safer bet (i.e. a sure thing) at this time of year as it relates to weather so we can change our permits. We would like to be able to log some distance and take in some great sites along the way. THANK YOU! for your insights!

Colin
cfitzrun@gmail.com
avatar Re: HELP! Need some route advice
January 16, 2013 07:41AM
Are you planning to snowshoe or hike the higher elevation sections?

Last year in Mid-May the snowpack was ridiculously light, and snow started around 9200' on the Rafferty Creek Trail (the linked hike was May 12-13, first weekend the Tioga Road had opened). Cathedral Pass is around 9700' and the trail climbs a bit from there. You're talking about 1.5 weeks later, helping matters.

The year before the pack was ridiculously heavy, plowing didn't finish until about the 3rd week of June, and trails generally cleared in early July. Here's a Matthes Lake Trip Report from the 3rd week of July, when things had finally cleared. In that year you would have encountered very deep snow.

Normally...they try to get the Tioga Road plowed by Memorial Day weekend, they probably succeed more often than not but its not uncommon that they miss the weekend.

For May 18-25, hiking over Cathedral Pass, if you're not looking for snow then the odds seem considerably against you.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 01/16/2013 07:41AM by ttilley.
avatar Re: HELP! Need some route advice
January 16, 2013 07:58AM
June 19, 2010:




Chick-on is looking at you!
avatar Re: HELP! Need some route advice
January 16, 2013 09:05AM
And last year:
http://yosemitenews.info/forum/read.php?3,56017,56017#msg-56017

(I wouldn't plan anything by looking at last year though)



Chick-on is looking at you!
avatar Re: HELP! Need some route advice
January 16, 2013 08:08AM
As Tom more or less asked... what is "open" to you? No snow? Can see the trail?
Mid May - pretty much you can go by... snow line is about 7500 ft.
If you need a trail the entire way and don't want to walk in snow. That's not gonna happen.
You'll have large stretches where there is no snow. And then there is the issue
of a couple water crossings...

So I guess the question is. What exactly are you looking for?

Maybe take a look at this one too:
http://yosemitenews.info/forum/read.php?3,39233,39233#msg-39233

If you want more I can find a lot more. Mid May you normally don't need snowshoes.
Although I've used them on a couple of trips in recent years into Memorial Day.
(actually lots of snow compacted is great for hiking w/o snowshoes)
(not as much snow... like last year... not as great)

So really it comes down to what are you up for?



Chick-on is looking at you!
avatar Re: HELP! Need some route advice
January 16, 2013 08:26AM
Quote
chick-on
And then there is the issue of a couple water crossings...

Piute Creek comes to mind as the first crossing that would indicate the flow of the others.



Old Dude
avatar Re: HELP! Need some route advice
January 16, 2013 08:33AM
Quote
mrcondron
Quote
chick-on
And then there is the issue of a couple water crossings...

Piute Creek comes to mind as the first crossing that would indicate the flow of the others.

Exactly. And you remember how it was in Late May then. Without the huge logs... you a swim-in... for your life.
We did Loch Tablae May 25 of 2007. Didn't run into any snow over Rancheria Mtn.
(thus my comment about there will be long stretches of no snow... but once near TM... another story)



Chick-on is looking at you!
Re: HELP! Need some route advice
January 16, 2013 10:40AM
Here is my best guess:
Hetch Hetchy: 4,000 ft, no snow, dry trails, flowers, beautiful water falls
Grand Canyon of the Tuolomne heading towards Glen Aulin: 6,000 ft, no snow, flooded and muddy trails, amazing water falls, dangerous creek crossings.
Tuolomne Meadows: 8,600 ft, patchy snow, muddy trails, plowing is just about done, no services open.
Cathedral Pass: 10,000 ft, snow covered trails.
Yosemite Valley: 4,000 ft, no snow, dry trails, flowers, beautiful water falls
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