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Re: Is It Crazy To Hike To Eagle Peak In The Winter From Camp 4?

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Is It Crazy To Hike To Eagle Peak In The Winter From Camp 4?
January 16, 2013 10:29PM
Hi folks! I'm new here, so sorry if this topic has come up before, but I did a quick search and didn't find anything posted in the forum.

My question is: Is it impossible to do a 1 day hike to Eagle Peak from Camp 4 during the Winter? Has anyone in this forum been up there in January or February? If so, can I get by with snowshoes? Is the trail still visible under all of that snow? Is it dangerous out near the peak itself? Should I just give up on the idea and stick to the upper Yosemite Falls?

I'm a fairly avid photographer, and this will be my Fourth trip inside of 2 years, and I'm looking for more places to shoot that are off the beaten path. I just came across Eagle Peak a couple of weeks ago, but I was SHOCKED at how few shots there were on google & flickr compared to something like Glacier Point. Furthermore, there were virtually NO shots of the valley looking down from Eagle Peak in Winter. So...I'm wondering why that is. Do people just not GO there in the Winter, and if so, why?

I just need some advice before I try it in about 4 weeks. It seems doable, but I'm probably missing something here.
avatar Re: Is It Crazy To Hike To Eagle Peak In The Winter From Camp 4?
January 17, 2013 08:12AM
Why would you be shocked? There's a road to Glacier Pt. And in winter the
road is groomed and the building open for overnight sleeping.
(i.e. Glacier Point is hugely popular year round)
(and hiking/skiing a groomed trail is a whole lot easier than busting your own trail)
Eagle Peak. You a hikin. Period

Only been up Eagle around winter timeframe in very early Dec. and very early April.
Is it possible? sure Will you make it? I'm guessing probably not
It's about 11 miles. 1/2 of that you will have to wear snowshoes.
Figure a mile an hour.. max ... so start at the crack of dawn and adhere to a
strict turn-around time. If you have crampons consider bringing them if
you really want to get to the very top... although imho it's not necessary.
You can just go to Here and get the view you are looking for imo

Highly unlikely you will be able to make out the trail (sometimes you can make
it out b/c there is a slight depression) Expect to have to bust a trail by
yourself more or less from the jct. of Yose Falls Trail up on the rim to
Eagle Peak. Keep a track of the weather from now until you go.
If a storm flew through a few days before going up there it will be MUCH
harder than if it has been clear for a week or more.
Bring a gps. The one good thing in winter though is if you get lost...
you just turn around and follow your tracks back.
Tell someone below what you are doing and make sure you bring
some warm clothes with you. And/or don't go it alone.

Say please and thank you
And post some pix and report what you did

o... in early April... Eagle Peak Mdws was a joy. By joy I mean we
were floundering around all over the place in the snow. In winter it will be
complete blanket of snow and should be pretty simple.



Chick-on is looking at you!
Re: Is It Crazy To Hike To Eagle Peak In The Winter From Camp 4?
January 17, 2013 08:44AM
I've only tried it once, and was turned back a short ways above the top of the falls by a region that was glazed-over, nearly unbreakable snow. I didn't have crampons, not even the little instep crampons, and just kept sliding back down the hill. But another year it would have been soft snow there. Or breakable crust. Or easy walking on hard old snow. One thing is certain: You will pass through several regions with completely different conditions, due to the sunny aspect in some places and permanent shade in others, and the postholed footprints and the untracked places, and due to the major change in altitude from top to bottom. It's a strenuous hike at any time, and much more so in the winter.

The key to enjoying January conditions around the valley is to stay flexible, and to change plans as you go along. You don't have to get to any particular place this time, there will always be another time.
Re: Is It Crazy To Hike To Eagle Peak In The Winter From Camp 4?
January 17, 2013 10:26AM
Chick-on and Wherever - Thank you so much for your advice. This is exactly the kind of feedback I was looking for. I had a feeling that the number one reason I wasn't seeing many photos from that location was that it must be really tough to get to in the Winter months. I read somewhere that the hike wasn't a big deal, even in the winter, but it sounds a bit more complicated than I thought. If the weather stays clear from now until mid February, I'll bring some snow shoes and see how far I get, before turning around by mid afternoon. If it snows just before or during my visit, I'll wait until possibly later in the Spring before giving it a try.

Chick-on - My wording was poor in my post. What I meant to say was that I was shocked that there weren't just a FEW shots of the that panoramic view from Eagle Peak during the winter months....there weren't ANY. I would put that view on par with Glacier Point, and apparently John Muir had a similar reaction as he recommended the hike as #2 if you only had a day to spend in the park. It just seemed odd to me that there weren't hundreds of photos all over the internet. I went to 500 px, which is where a great number of landscape photographers post their work, and didn't find a single shot of the Eagle Peak view, winter OR summer. I found several shots on google and flickr, but none of them really showed that view during the winter months. You see dozens of shots of the Three Brothers from the valley floor, but ZERO shots of snow covered peaks surrounding Half Dome from this location taken during Jan-Feb. The closest I found was a print that was produced by Stephen Lyman which can be seen here. I think that was painted based on photos that he took, so it looks like he took a few liberties with it. But I would LOVE to get a shot like that. My fear is that it would be the last shot I ever took, unless I camped overnight up there like he did.

So that might be something I actually try at some point in the future as I think it would be an extremely bad idea to try to find my way back to the falls in the dark. I would love to get a late afternoon/Sunset shot with snow on the surrounding peaks, but if I have to hoof it back out of there in snow shoes, three hours of snowshoeing in the dark would probably not end well. Not to mention the additional 3 hours back down from the falls. But camping over night...that might be a plan at some point. I'll definitely let you all know how it turns out when I get back. My group and I will be up there mainly for the Horsetail Falls in late February, but if the snow melts away like it did last year, I'll be looking to try something new. I just don't want to kill myself doing it. smiling smiley



Edited 3 time(s). Last edit at 01/17/2013 10:42AM by MtSacProf.
avatar Re: Is It Crazy To Hike To Eagle Peak In The Winter From Camp 4?
January 17, 2013 12:15PM
Camping overnight near Eagle Peak for that shot would seem to be the most sensible option. Plus you'll have the added benefit of snapping some morning sunrise shots too.

A day hike (with a return hike in the dark) appears to be a bit too ambitious of a plan.
.
Re: Is It Crazy To Hike To Eagle Peak In The Winter From Camp 4?
January 17, 2013 12:30PM
If the trail is completely covered by snow, you might just as well go to Eagle Tower. It's closer, and much less often visited:

http://yosemitenews.info/forum/read.php?3,26491,29203#msg-29203
avatar Re: Is It Crazy To Hike To Eagle Peak In The Winter From Camp 4?
January 17, 2013 01:27PM
The knoll that I pointed to is much easier to get to than Eagle Tower.... imho
and you're hike back is all downhill...
Eagle Tower area is pretty awesome though. You keep giving up all my little secrets!



Chick-on is looking at you!
avatar Re: Is It Crazy To Hike To Eagle Peak In The Winter From Camp 4?
January 17, 2013 01:35PM
By no big deal what whomever said that means is probably that there isn't much of any danger in the hike.
You shouldn't need anything other than snowshoes although microspikes or kahtoolas may be wise
depending on how icy things are. I mentioned crampons just for ... I doubt you would need them...
but I don't know your experience or how comfortable you are.

Anyway, I had plans to do the loop sometime this winter... and I'll post something if I do. Almost pushing
me to do it this weekend instead of what I am going to do... smiling smiley
The absolute best would be do be up there after a very small storm flew thu that blankets the valley in snow.

A word to the wise w/r to Lyman. On a trip around Clark with Bearpoof... he had a photo of this one of Lymans:
http://lymanprints.com/collections/firelight/embers_at_dawn/index.html
Well.. supposedly that is Red Devil Lake. Well... we hiked all around the lake looking for this view.. and
well, let me just say... artist license. So don't expect what you see in one of his paintings.
I'll find the photo of the lake in this spot and you'll see. (the mountains are completely made up for one!)

Another point of interest and you can more easily dayhike is Yosemite Pt.
I've posted some photos of North Dome from that trip in the past. Can try to find something decent from
the pt. itself when get home.

Have fun



Chick-on is looking at you!
Re: Is It Crazy To Hike To Eagle Peak In The Winter From Camp 4?
January 17, 2013 03:26PM
Quote
chick-on
A word to the wise w/r to Lyman. On a trip around Clark with Bearpoof... he had a photo of this one of Lymans:
http://lymanprints.com/collections/firelight/embers_at_dawn/index.html
Well.. supposedly that is Red Devil Lake. Well... we hiked all around the lake looking for this view.. and
well, let me just say... artist license. So don't expect what you see in one of his paintings.
I'll find the photo of the lake in this spot and you'll see. (the mountains are completely made up for one!)

What are you complaining about? In the link, he says that he changed a few things:

"so I changed the location to lakeside, the time of day to dawn, and the age of the fire, which is pretty much at its end: glowing and still warm."

Well, maybe the shape of everything else, too. If you want realism, use your camera. At least he doesn't have to deal with an overcast or poor lighting like you do....
avatar Re: Is It Crazy To Hike To Eagle Peak In The Winter From Camp 4?
January 17, 2013 06:47PM
Artist license taken to the extreme:


Is this:
http://lymanprints.com/collections/firelight/embers_at_dawn/index.html

Sure

Bearproof might have a better one than me. I'll have to axe him.

For Eagle Peak... you cannot see all of Yosemite Falls as he has drawn. So take that out of your noggin.

Have fun (I'm not complaining... just being realistic) tongue sticking out smiley



Chick-on is looking at you!
Re: Is It Crazy To Hike To Eagle Peak In The Winter From Camp 4?
January 18, 2013 01:02AM
Not to mention that he must have built quite a bonfire at dusk to still have all those embers at dawn. And perhaps the very first human visitor to Red Devil Lake would have been able to gather that much firewood (not that it's legal now), but the second would have had to wait a few decades just to find a few scraps. Ah well, artist license....



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 01/31/2013 11:51PM by druid.
avatar Re: Is It Crazy To Hike To Eagle Peak In The Winter From Camp 4?
January 18, 2013 01:39AM
But even famous photographers will take creative license for art sake.

In this iconic Ansel Adams photograph, Adams decided to remove from the print (via burning) large white "LP" letters (for Long Pine) that were located in the foothills shown here below Mt. Whitney:

Ansel Adams, Winter Sunrise, Sierra Nevada,
from Lone Pine, California, 1944




Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 01/21/2013 11:18PM by plawrence.
avatar Re: Is It Crazy To Hike To Eagle Peak In The Winter From Camp 4?
January 21, 2013 07:18PM
Quote
chick-on

http://lymanprints.com/collections/firelight/embers_at_dawn/index.html

Sure

Bearproof might have a better one than me. I'll have to axe him.

Here is my shot:


Pretty sure it's the location of the basis of the Lyman painting, but as Chick-on says, artistic license, for sure. That's why it's art, I s'pose. I was a little bummed at first that it didn't match the painting exactly...but I understand that Lyman's goal was not necessarily to have his painting match a photo.
avatar Re: Is It Crazy To Hike To Eagle Peak In The Winter From Camp 4?
January 23, 2013 07:39AM
Tanks poof.

It was like fitting a round peg in a square hole. O... it went in eventually. Just needed a smackdown.



Chick-on is looking at you!
avatar Re: Is It Crazy To Hike To Eagle Peak In The Winter From Camp 4?
February 03, 2013 08:47PM
Just thought I'd say that I just went up Eagle Peak (and Tower and El Cap).
As expected... the trail is somewhat discernable... but I knew where it
was suppose to be too.
Microspikes to get to rim is advisable... and snowshoes from there on.
The snow is highly compacted so depending on the recent temps you
may be able to get away with just walking w/o snowshoes.
It helps to know where the trail is up top. Very simple at this point IMO...
but add 5 ft of new snow and the traverse before the very final small up
to the summit could get interesting.
Good luck



Chick-on is looking at you!
Re: Is It Crazy To Hike To Eagle Peak In The Winter From Camp 4?
February 13, 2013 05:19PM
Quote
chick-on
Just thought I'd say that I just went up Eagle Peak (and Tower and El Cap).
As expected... the trail is somewhat discernable... but I knew where it
was suppose to be too.
Microspikes to get to rim is advisable... and snowshoes from there on.
The snow is highly compacted so depending on the recent temps you
may be able to get away with just walking w/o snowshoes.
It helps to know where the trail is up top. Very simple at this point IMO...
but add 5 ft of new snow and the traverse before the very final small up
to the summit could get interesting.
Good luck

Quote
hotrod4x5
Photographing the valley from the rim, and making a great photo is not easy. When light is at it's best, morning or afternoon, half the valley is in shadow and in winter, the sun stays low in the sky all day, creating different hurdles for valley photography. I googled for photos from Eagle Peak and found the typical, near noon shots of the valley when it is fully lit, and they are hazy, also found a winter shot from last Jan, with nearly half the valley in shadow.

Thanks so much for your info and advice! I was up there last weekend, and tried just a bit of the portion of the 4 mile trail that is still open and ran out of steam much faster than I thought I would. I definitely want to try the Eagle Peak hike at some point, maybe later this Spring if it is something I can work up to. If I try any more hiking this Winter, I might get some of those spikes as I fell pretty hard twice over the weekend. And I would definitely want to wait until the sun is a bit higher in order to give me at least a bit of sun in the valley. So....it's still on my list, just not something I think I would try in the Winter and only after I get my butt in shape.

In the mean time, I think I just read that the four mile trail is open up to Union Point. That seems like a much more realistic distance for me, and would also give me the sunny side of the valley to shoot rather than shooting into the shade. I tried making it up there on Friday, but the snow began to come down pretty hard at one point, and I thought it would be best to head back down before it really began to pile up. I'm expecting the majority of the snow to be gone by this Saturday if the temps go into the 50's for several days in a row.


Thanks again everyone for your VERY helpful info and advice! smiling smiley
avatar Re: Is It Crazy To Hike To Eagle Peak In The Winter From Camp 4?
February 13, 2013 06:37PM
Thanks so much for coming back and reporting what you did.

In case you missed it... I did post a faux toe of me up on Eagle Peak in 3D.

But here's one from Feb 3rd w just trees and stuffs:


Just keep in mind that it hasn't really snowed much in January.

Have fun (and I hope you get up to Eagle Peak someday)



Chick-on is looking at you!
Re: Is It Crazy To Hike To Eagle Peak In The Winter From Camp 4?
January 17, 2013 03:15PM
Photographing the valley from the rim, and making a great photo is not easy. When light is at it's best, morning or afternoon, half the valley is in shadow and in winter, the sun stays low in the sky all day, creating different hurdles for valley photography. I googled for photos from Eagle Peak and found the typical, near noon shots of the valley when it is fully lit, and they are hazy, also found a winter shot from last Jan, with nearly half the valley in shadow.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 01/17/2013 03:15PM by hotrod4x5.
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