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Re: Birds of a Feather: El Cap and Beyond

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Birds of a Feather: El Cap and Beyond
April 16, 2013 09:22PM
Here's short-ish write-up from this weekend when I followed the pink bird around the northwest rim of the valley to some of his favorite places.

We first followed the Old Big Oak Flat Road ("Rockslides"winking smiley to the Cascade Creek bridge, with a photo break at Rainbow View and a benchmark hunt (successful!) at the former site of the Gentry's Ranger Station. (Hint: once you know where the old station was, the on-line NGS benchmark location info is spot-on...)



Rainbow View Photosynth

(Apologies: the white balance for many of the photos in this set is off due to an incorrect camera setting--and not because I was going for the faux retro Instagram-sepia look....)

From the Cascade Creek bridge, we checked out an old road spur just west of the bridge--which ended abruptly--before heading up-creek towards some nice falls (labeled "Falls" on the topo map, just over a mile upstream from the bridge). The route was rough in places, but overall not bad.



The falls were definitely worth the scramble:



Up to this point snow was not an issue, but above the highest cascade, coverage was almost 100% along the creek. We didn't have snowshoes, but the snow was mostly firm, except when it wasn't... Instead of getting our feet wet crossing the creek, we got them wet trudging through the snow until we found a log that we butt-scootched across (no style points awarded).



From here, we traversed eastward, then descended to a dome that the pink one had camped on previously (it's the dome maybe 1/2 mile SSE of the falls). This dome had nice views back at the falls:



...and, well, everywhere:

Pano From Dome

We had decided to push to camp on the top of El Cap, so we pushed on from this dome, following the ridge north of the El Cap trail past Point 8105, descending to meet the El Cap trail just before the Ribbon Creek crossing. The route had many areas of wonderful open granite:



...some not-so-tell-tale signs of a former trail (has someone been trying to modernize the Mono Trail...?)



...and a burnt-out area near Ribbon Creek (from the Cascade fire from a few years ago?)



The snow was soft and rough near Ribbon Creek, especially after we loaded up with water to haul to El Cap. Fortunately, a log that I had used about a year or so ago provided a dry crossing.

We saw the only people we'd seen since the Rockslides trailhead (apparently local climbing celebrities) just as they were leaving El Cap, maybe 20 minutes before sunset. They were heading for the trailhead...



Although it had been breezy in the afternoon, the wind died down once dark hit, and the night was very calm and restful. I was exhausted after following the pink one around and fell asleep right after my head hit my (inflatable ultralight) pillow.

The next morning, after packing up "Camp Cuben", we followed the trail towards Eagle Peak and Eagle Tower.



Eagle Peak offered excellent views all around, although its claimed benchmark remained elusive:





Eagle Peak Panorama

From there, after a little cross-country travel, we emerged on Eagle Tower with its wonderful views of Yosemite Falls.





Eagle Tower Panorama

From Eagle Tower, we could clearly see the rigging that someone had strung across the top of the falls, but it was far too windy for anyone to be using it.

After a bit more cross-country and a bit more snow, we hit the Yosemite Creek trail maybe 1/2 mile upstream of the junction at the top of the switchback. This is where we encountered the first people we'd seen since the climbers on El Cap. After checking out the brink of the falls (too windy), we headed down the switchbacks, stopping at Oh My Gosh! Point for some pictures and a final panorama:





Oh My Gosh! View

Although we had encountered a fair amount of snow up high, it was definitely summer in the valley, and many people were taking advantage of the weather to get out an enjoy Yosemite.

Okay, I lied... not so short-ish, but it was a wonderful trip, and I'm grateful to the pink bird for showing me some "off the beaten path" places. Can't wait for the next trip!

More Pictures




Technical Note: Since someone asked about creating Photosynths on a different thread: for the ones above, I used a Sony NEX 5N with either a Sigma 19mm or 30mm prime lens.
Re: Birds of a Feather: El Cap and Beyond
April 16, 2013 09:30PM
Excellent. Favorite pic is the one of the Upper Falls with the trail zig-zagging up on the left.

Now you must post the Gentry Station benchmark in the official thread. smiling smiley
Re: Birds of a Feather: El Cap and Beyond
April 16, 2013 10:54PM
Great trip! I'm jealous. You hit some of my favorite places.
avatar Re: Birds of a Feather: El Cap and Beyond
April 17, 2013 03:07AM
Thank you very much for your trip report and all the photos.

I'm especially enjoyed viewing the photos of the elusive "Twin Cascades Falls" near the Old Mono Trail. It looks like such a wonderful waterfall well off the beaten path.

In regards to that cut made through the downed tree, I wonder if maybe that's just 150+ year old cut from a tree that fell way back in the 1800's. Don't know how long it takes for regular pines and furs trunks to decay but I wouldn't think that cut was done in the last 20 years, for the simple reason, why?

Again, thanks for the trip report and the photos including that link to your photosynths. The view from Eagle Tower looked magnificent!

.
Re: Birds of a Feather: El Cap and Beyond
April 17, 2013 05:14AM
Great photos/story. I hope to do that area this fall; the view from
atop Eagle Tower would be worth any needed effort. Lucky birds.
avatar Re: Birds of a Feather: El Cap and Beyond
April 17, 2013 10:40AM
Awesome falls above Cascade Creek bridge. Been wondering about those for a while. Thanks so much for posting.
avatar Re: Birds of a Feather: El Cap and Beyond
April 17, 2013 10:48AM
Eagle Tower, dang it! another place to add to the list, this forum is dangerous . . . winking smiley
avatar Re: Birds of a Feather: El Cap and Beyond
April 17, 2013 11:44AM
Another great report on the forum. Thanks. I really love the Eagle Tower photosynth.
Re: Birds of a Feather: El Cap and Beyond
April 17, 2013 12:49PM
Were those Hexamid tents, and how are you liking them? Oh, great trip too.
Re: Birds of a Feather: El Cap and Beyond
April 17, 2013 01:00PM
The green tent is a Mountain Laurel Designs SoloMid (11oz.); the white one is a DuoMid (14oz.); both are in Cuben fiber. They have rectangular footprints.
avatar Re: Birds of a Feather: El Cap and Beyond
April 17, 2013 02:01PM
One thing I truly enjoy is going back to the same place during different times of the year...

Fall


Winter


Spring (this trip)


As for the Twin Falls... Was there earlier this year... and it got really cold during the night.. so much so that the pool froze up...



Was able to easily cross Cascade last time and get this Photosynth:
http://photosynth.net/view.aspx?cid=af7945df-95a1-4484-9950-c48b57ebce96

Crossing this time proved a bit more of a challenge.

Here's an Eagle Tower Synth from this time:
http://photosynth.net/view.aspx?cid=68c13476-9b5a-4442-83fc-7fbb80456028

And something really wanted to check out... El Cap Gully:
http://photosynth.net/view.aspx?cid=74d5a507-5ffa-4dc5-a19f-80818041d714

We had an interesting view of Clouds with Vogelsang and Parsons seemingly melding together:


Synth of that: http://photosynth.net/view.aspx?cid=32a4afff-836f-4e52-9996-d99d4325bc00

Great trip with views on nearly the entire trek.

Have fun
Chick-on is looking at you!



Chick-on is looking at you!
avatar Re: Birds of a Feather: El Cap and Beyond
April 17, 2013 02:12PM
Oops... meant to put this photosynth: http://photosynth.net/view.aspx?cid=b4cefcf8-a8a8-42b0-b20b-1cb990864a05

(can u say... too many faux toe since ? ) (haven't even gone thru all the photos yet... )



Chick-on is looking at you!
avatar Re: Birds of a Feather: El Cap and Beyond
April 17, 2013 02:33PM
No one, including you, can post too many photos of Yosemite here. Love'em all!

By the way, now that you've been multiple times to the "Twin Cascades Falls" and its environs, what is your preferred route to get there, or does the best route to take vary depending on the time of year?

.
avatar Re: Birds of a Feather: El Cap and Beyond
April 17, 2013 03:21PM
I knew Bridalveil was somewhere in the El Cap Gully photosynth, but I'm suprised it's so hidden from view.
avatar Re: Birds of a Feather: El Cap and Beyond
April 17, 2013 05:30PM
Bridal veil looks crazy from that angle. One of the coolest things about Yosemite is seeing so many things from different angles.
avatar Re: Birds of a Feather: El Cap and Beyond
April 17, 2013 09:52PM
Went to top o Ribbon in April of 2010 (dang time flies).
Better view of Bridal from there....

Here's a photosynth threw together with a few photos from then:
http://photosynth.net/view.aspx?cid=f450e698-961c-4ea1-86aa-8987c65af7a9

cropped :





Chick-on is looking at you!
avatar Re: Birds of a Feather: El Cap and Beyond
April 19, 2013 10:12AM
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