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Re: In Search of Bigfoot

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avatar In Search of Bigfoot
February 26, 2013 10:12AM
So I have wanted to get up over Tioga Pass to Tuolumne Meadows in the winter for a while now. I put a cache up there and have been looking for the right combination of weather and availability to go with a friend. Last weekend was a strong possibility, but my buddie just couldn't squeeze out the time. What to do? Contact the bird...Chick-on's usually up for a little weekend trip, as if you haven't noticed. We met up early Friday morning at Mike's place (thanks for the french toast, Mike!) and were on the trail at Happy Isles about 10 or so, with the plan to head up towards Clouds Rest and see where our legs and the conditions might take us from there. With the exception of a the icy sections on the way up to Nevada Falls

where the microspikes were definitely needed, we were just plain old hiking up through Little Yosemite Valley, past the quarter domes

and were probably near about 9000 feet before we finally put on the snowshoes for the push to the summit of Clouds Rest, hoping to make it before sunset. The scramble up the summit block, wearing backpacks and snowshoes, through steep snow, rock, and fading light, exhausted after 6000 feet of vertical, was, well, interesting, and, as usual, the Bird led the way and took (likely embarrassing) photos of me from above clinging for dear life. Anyway, we made the top just after the sun went down and set up camp with great views all around and, fortunately, not much breeze. Here's a shot taken by the light of the almost full moon, with Half Dome and the valley lights to the right and below the tent.

The clouds came in that night, and we had limited visibility in the morning. But feeling good, we decided to make continue the loop and head northeast towards the Sunrise Lakes area

and then head down the Sunrise Trail towards Tenaya and highway 120. There was much more snow on this less exposed part of the trip, and the snowshoes were on all day. Cutting over to the highway we had a bit of a challenge finding a safe place to cross Tenaya Creek, but after a bit of searching found a good spot

And then it was quickly up to the highway. Question...when you hit the highway in winter time do you leave the wilderness?

We were comfortable going through the avy zone with the snow conditions; in a usual winter we probably would not have gotten onto the road until we had passed that area. We continued up to the quarry, hung a left and (my) legs were pretty much done at the last saddle before Mt Watkins, where we set up camp as the skies started to clear and had nice views of the moon rising over Tenaya Canyon.

It got more than a little breezy Saturday night, but we survived, and Sunday dawned clear and cold. Up Mt Watkins, down in the direction of Half Dome

And then down a gully, skirting back towards the cabin and then down to Snow Creek and the 108 switchbacks down to the Valley.

I am still itching to get to Tuolumne, and thanks to Bee's recent posting of Moosetrack's recent trip there Moosetracks my resolve to get there this year is that much stronger. Hopefully it happens!
avatar Re: In Search of Bigfoot
February 26, 2013 01:51PM
Tanks man. Awesum as ewe shoo al.

Here's some of mine:

Bet cha haven't seen this view of a Half a Dome:


Pinnacles and some big rock thingie:


Daylight burning...


Bigfoot the Clown climbing up with snowshoes on (doesn't look too bad) :
Once on top Bearpoof spent about half an hour tampon the snow down.


Zoom of what we went up...


Zoom of Mt. Maclure and Mt. Lyell (glacier is visible):


Finally up there.. last light:


Next morning:


Socked in... coming down... bummer couldn't find really see where Skiing Clouds Rest occurred... but we did run out
of footprints in the snow so if it was clear we probably could have seen where they started down that baby... o well:


Nice frosty trees:


Heading down from CR/Sunrise Lakes Jct. This snow was just awesome powder. Bearpoof is in this picture:


Morning the next day from tent after some Knarly winds during the night:


And lastly ...

Even the trees love Little Debbie:


Great trip... but they all are. Lots of fun... great weather...

Hope you enjoy



Chick-on is looking at you!
Re: In Search of Bigfoot
February 26, 2013 03:20PM
Great stuff,thanks to both for the pics.Always thought winter was really special for the solitude and scenery.
Re: In Search of Bigfoot
February 26, 2013 03:40PM
Fantastic photos. Great trip. Wish I were there....
Re: In Search of Bigfoot
February 26, 2013 05:49PM
Very, very nice pictures! Okay, now I don't feel so bad that: 1) I was exhausted when I climbed CR from Happy Isles, and 2) almost all of my pictures of the Chick-on man are of his back side taken from far behind him.

It looks like there were ski tracks from others on Watkins?
avatar Re: In Search of Bigfoot
February 27, 2013 07:28AM
Quote
basilbop
It looks like there were ski tracks from others on Watkins?
Yes. Was very surprised that didn't really see any ski tracks on Tioga Rd.
Just some animal tracks ... perhaps most go via Old Tioga up to May Lake and
around? Or just not enough traffic to TM via Snow Creek / Olmsted ?



Chick-on is looking at you!
avatar Re: In Search of Bigfoot
February 27, 2013 02:52PM
Quote
basilbop
Very, very nice pictures! Okay, now I don't feel so bad that: 1) I was exhausted when I climbed CR from Happy Isles, and 2) almost all of my pictures of the Chick-on man are of his back side taken from far behind him.
Yeah, I know what you mean about seeing Chick-on's backside the whole trip. The good news, however, is that his pictures tend to show my front side, and since I generally am the group photographer I never get in the pictures. I actually have pictures of me when I go on trips with Chick-on!
Re: In Search of Bigfoot
February 26, 2013 08:13PM
Thanks for the pics. I think you guys passed my wife and I going down Snow Creek. Definitely not cold or breezy for us Saturday night in front of the wood fire.

avatar Re: In Search of Bigfoot
February 26, 2013 08:25PM
Quote
AndrewF
Thanks for the pics. I think you guys passed my wife and I going down Snow Creek. Definitely not cold or breezy for us Saturday night in front of the wood fire.
Kewl. If you were the two at the BIG switchback having lunch right around... well... lemme lookie...
right around 12:30... wifie had snow shoes... you shortish touring skis..
yabba dabba doo.
smiling smiley

As you know... the cabin is a gem... glad you enjoyed it and had it to yourselves.
It was still warm when we got there... probably just missed you guys leaving.



Chick-on is looking at you!



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 02/26/2013 08:31PM by chick-on.
Re: In Search of Bigfoot
February 26, 2013 09:44PM
Yep... That was us. The skis were mostly dead weight as there were only a few pockets of powder. Good trip for wildlife though... Saw a huge bobcat down by Happy Isles sauntering down the road. And on our way up on Saturday, we stopped to take a break and a fox casually walked up the hill just next to the trail near us. We followed his tracks through the snow up the trail on the rim. He definitely knew his way around.
avatar Re: In Search of Bigfoot
February 27, 2013 09:46AM
Very cool re the wildlife. I saw a Marten on the way up to Nevada Falls....tried to get a picture...but all I got was a picture of rocks. Bummer.
avatar Re: In Search of Bigfoot
February 27, 2013 01:27AM
Great photos from the two of you. Thanks for posting them!

What was the temperature at dawn on the top of Cloud Rest that morning?

.
avatar Re: In Search of Bigfoot
February 27, 2013 07:25AM
Quote
plawrence
What was the temperature at dawn on the top of Cloud Rest that morning?
According to my calculations it was right around 20. Cloud cover keeps it warmer...
Next morning was colder... around 15. Crystal clear that night...

So again... not that cold. (o.. btw.. 3 days... 1 battery) wink



Chick-on is looking at you!
Re: In Search of Bigfoot
February 27, 2013 10:37AM
Saturday night my thermometer read 11F at around 6AM... That's pretty darn cold. Even if it was warmer the night before... being on the very top sounds coooold. I usually try to find a grove of trees or something for shelter.

Between this TR, the one from MooseTracks, and knowing there werent even any tracks on Tioga Rd... I want to go to the meadows even more now. Might have to take some time off work and make it happen soon.

And one more bonus photo... Cause why not...

avatar Re: In Search of Bigfoot
February 27, 2013 11:44AM
Post as many photos as you like. Love em.

My personal thermometer as cold is... if I can have my hands out of gloves and they
aren't screaming for back into the gloves in a short amount of time... not that cold.
smiling smiley
-10 Bag does wonders too. wink

Love the NeoAir XTherm Shorty Pad. Super Light. Super Compressible.
Works a treat. Much lighter and more compressible than Exped Downmat.
Guess I can thank the bear who stole my regular NeoAir near the Muir Gorge...

Have fun (and hope you get to TM) (doubt I will this yr)



Chick-on is looking at you!
avatar Re: In Search of Bigfoot
February 28, 2013 10:33AM
How do those Cloud Cakes compare to Twinkies? Did chick-on change his avatar to a Cloud Cake, without us noticing?
avatar Re: In Search of Bigfoot
February 28, 2013 02:49PM
Quote
yosemitejim
How do those Cloud Cakes compare to Twinkies? Did chick-on change his avatar to a Cloud Cake, without us noticing?

Feed ME!

I Love Little Debbie! Tasty!

How to properly pack a bear can post-Twinkie era:


Clouds Rest Cakes:


For the Twinkie Haters... here's a pix Z wifie really liked:




Chick-on is looking at you!
avatar Re: In Search of Bigfoot
February 28, 2013 02:55PM
I'm with the wifie, that is a great picture. grinning smiley
avatar Re: In Search of Bigfoot
February 26, 2013 04:12PM
Wow. Amazing stuff. Thanks for posting.
avatar Re: In Search of Bigfoot
February 26, 2013 07:19PM
Nice pictures (to both of you), thanks for posting.

I was in Hawaii at the time. On Friday I was finishing up a 3 day backpack on the Hawaii Volcanoes NP coast (most of which featured sunny though windy weather) and driving to Hilo, where everything smells of mold because it just won't stop raining.
Re: In Search of Bigfoot
February 26, 2013 08:17PM
Awesome.
avatar Re: In Search of Bigfoot
February 27, 2013 07:54AM
Here's a photosyth of ring around the Watkins Tree:
Clicky Here for The Faux Toe

Too bad all the contrails... Sunday morning was terrible for plane contrails...

Tanks to Bearpoof for suggesting this picture. Looks darn neat.



Chick-on is looking at you!
avatar Re: In Search of Bigfoot
February 27, 2013 08:14AM
Beautiful location for a pano shot. Despite the low (for late Feb) snowpack it shows.

8-14 day outlook shows below normal precip and above normal temps for the entire west coast: 8-14 day outlook.
avatar Re: In Search of Bigfoot
February 27, 2013 09:42AM
avatar Re: In Search of Bigfoot
February 27, 2013 03:47PM
Quote
chick-on

Here's a photosyth of ring around the Watkins Tree:
Clicky Here for The Faux Toe


Sweet!
.
avatar Re: In Search of Bigfoot
February 27, 2013 05:17PM
excellent photos!

did you find bigfoot?? smiling smiley
avatar Re: In Search of Bigfoot
February 27, 2013 09:32PM
Quote
marmot
did you find bigfoot?? smiling smiley

Found him in Manteca. Supplied the Frenchy Toast.

Bearpoof found some size 13 shoes and decided that was a good thing to wear.
The women in the valley just stared.... and shook their heads.
Some of them were wearing tights. At least they weren't white.
He said it was cold. Or so I am told. Glad I'm not that old. And yes we did ford.

(done amusing myself)
Have a nice day



Chick-on is looking at you!
avatar Re: In Search of Bigfoot
February 27, 2013 09:49PM
You can ignore him. Chick-on's got Bigfoot envy.
avatar Re: In Search of Bigfoot
February 28, 2013 07:01AM
Quote
Bearproof
You can ignore him. Chick-on's got Bigfoot envy.
Donut worrie. Plenty ignore.

envy? uh... my feets as big as Half-a-Dome!
Just lookie:
http://yosemitenews.info/forum/read.php?3,21074,53796#msg-53796

I don't need no stinkin Emery Board

Ok, something serious... we were SOOOO hoping ... and it was looking good for awhile
... that the top of Clouds Rest was gonna be like this after we got up there...
http://yosemitenews.info/forum/read.php?3,60337,60337#msg-60337

Have fun



Chick-on is looking at you!
avatar Re: In Search of Bigfoot
February 28, 2013 07:22AM
Quote
chick-on
Ok, something serious... we were SOOOO hoping ... and it was looking good for awhile
... that the top of Clouds Rest was gonna be like this after we got up there...
http://yosemitenews.info/forum/read.php?3,60337,60337#msg-60337

Yeah that woulda been cool...but it was still pretty cool.
avatar Re: In Search of Bigfoot
February 28, 2013 07:57AM
Here's Clouds Rest from Circus Tent in Photosynth

And since there was talk about Mist closure and all... and photo's of Beardood had Uppa Mist:

Just can't stress enough that Kahtoolas Microspikes != Crampons. Solid ice... good luck w/o crampons.
This was actually somewhat interesting to get by with Kahtoolas (luckily around on the left was do-able)

Have fun... be safe... eat your Twinkies



Chick-on is looking at you!
avatar Re: In Search of Bigfoot
February 28, 2013 11:08AM
Quote
chick-on
Here's Clouds Rest from Circus Tent in Photosynth

Brrrr. Looks real cold up there...


Quote
chick-on

And since there was talk about Mist closure and all... and photo's of Beardood had Uppa Mist:

Just can't stress enough that Kahtoolas Microspikes != Crampons. Solid ice... good luck w/o crampons.
This was actually somewhat interesting to get by with Kahtoolas (luckily around on the left was do-able)


Good advice.


Quote
chick-on

Have fun... be safe... eat your Twinkies


Don't you mean “eat your Cloud Cakes” wink

.
Re: In Search of Bigfoot
February 28, 2013 03:10PM
Isn't the "left side" eventually end in a cliff down to the River?

Though in all honesty it does look doable in Kahtoolas. I've been on sections like this here and several times watched as dogs navigated sections like this. In those spots the dogs were hilarious to watch and in no real danger.
avatar Re: In Search of Bigfoot
February 28, 2013 04:12PM
You're fairly safe here. Dogs have built-in crampons.
It's do-able ... sure... but you have to be very adept at stepping right. It was solid ice. Wasn't flat.
No give. You slip and lose balance.. you're going at it again with bruises.
Maybe this guy will give you his assessment of the situation:


In the other "ice climbing" picture I showed of Mist where z wifie was climbing up...
well... we would have been sca-rewed if the ice had been like this... we got lucky
in that there was a layer of ice about 1/4 inch thick... we could break thru that
and get footage. Didn't even have Kahtoolas then... just some crappy micros. really crappy.

Ice on flat surface... no problem. Ice on round surface.. inclined... not so easy.

That's my take on things.



Chick-on is looking at you!
avatar Re: In Search of Bigfoot
March 01, 2013 03:52PM
Quote
chick-on

Ice on flat surface... no problem. Ice on round surface.. inclined... not so easy.
.

Ice on flat surface no problem maybe for those who grew up close to the North Pole (places like Wisconsin), but for me, ice is ice and generally no fun. The microspikes were key, though, jam 'em in and they dug in pretty good. Handrails helped as well.
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