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Vernel Fall, Merced River, Yosemite National Park

The Moon is Waxing Crescent (3% of Full)


Re: Cherry-Bopping Dandy

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Cherry-Bopping Dandy
May 08, 2013 09:28PM
Cherry Creek Canyon is perhaps the ultimate granite-lover's paradise. Unboubtedly, it would be much more possible if it were accessible via trail, or even straightforward cross-country travel. Instead, it is guarded by a thicket of various mid-elevation shrubs and an intimidating crack climb from the lower end, a steep forested descent from the middle, and some intricate granite moves and routefinding challenges from the upper end.

Our hardy group started from the parking area at the final switchback on the Shingle Springs (Kibbie Lake/Ridge trailhead) road. At one time the Forest Service warned novices of the lack of official trails ahead; the sign is gone, but the lack of trails and thick brush remains. The going is slow and tedious, but with enough patience, the "green mossy slabs" are reached, and (with luck, or experience), most of the bushwhacking is over.

From here, it's down nice granite slabs, across Snow Canyon Creek (where we saw the only other people we'd see the entire weekend), around to the faint path that leads to the gap on the Red Spur, then across and down the dome to a large pool with a nice sandy beach.

From here, we followed the creek over mostly gentle granite.

Eventually, we came to the crux: a spot where the creek runs against a tall, seemingly vertical wall, with one major weakness: a long crack that leads to the "Chockstone", under which two more people crawled for the first time this weekend.

"This is great!"

Past this obstacle, my wife and I continued up-canyon while our companion checked out the "Ramp Route", a potential mostly-granite alternative to the Lookout Point route. The Schifrin "favorite spot" grove was a bit buggy, but we quickly emerged at the base of the long granite ramp where my friend and I had camped during my first Cherry trip. We climbed the ramp , then descended to the base of a nice little waterfall.

After a bit more climbing, we reached what is informally known as "Camp Flintstone" at the base of Cherry Bomb Gorge. (The name comes from some "improvements" that had been made in the past; alas, the Bedrock Furniture Builders appear to have returned...) The clouds were threatening, so we rushed to the small pool east of the camp to bathe while there was still some sun.

We arrived back at camp around the same time as our companion. We spent the rest of the day preparing camp, collecting and treating water, climbing a nearby dome, and cooking and eating dinner before retiring for the night.

Flintstone Area Photosynth Note: broken in a few places...

That night, we were greeting with thunder and light rain, and it continued to drizzle in the morning. We decided to leave our camp set up and day-hike up canyon. After climbing the flowing granite slabs east of camp, we stopped at the Cherry Bomb Gorge "observation area" for some views and pictures.

From there we continued up and over dome 6458, then across open terrain to the next mini-crux, where the route steeply drops into a gully.

Past here, more wonderful open granite, a final nasty descent, then more open granite before the final return to the creek.

We took a lunch break at the river. (Hmmm, that chicken seems a bit pink and undercooked...) The day had been mostly overcast, but fortunately, without rain.

Cherry Creek Photosynth

My wife and I continued up-canyon for another mile or so, to about where the Hyatt Lake outlet joins Cherry Creek. This was my wife's first backpacking trip in well over a year, and her still-recovering ankle needed some cooling off, so while she soaked it in the creek, our companion continued about a mile further upstream, stopping just short of the upper crux (well, it was a crux in the rain/snow with not-so-grippy shoes...)

On the way back we checked out a dome with excellent views of the creek and some interesting granite "chatter" across the canyon.

Dome Photosynth

After more strolling across open granite, we stopped again at the "observation deck" for another peek at Cherry Bomb.

We enjoyed another wonderful evening and sunset after returning to camp.

It rained again that night, and continued into the morning. The clouds were much lower than the previous day; at times it was impossible to see more than a few hundred feet up the canyon walls. We had decided to return via the "Lookout Point" route, a short but steep climb from Flintstone to the Kibbie Ridge trail near, well, Lookout Point. Routefinding was never much of a challenge despite the clouds; in fact, they added a mystical, if not magical, feel to the terrain.

We found a mostly brush-free route to the top of "Mastadome" (Dome 6202), and after a few zigs and zags around some tall granite ribs, started the steep climb through the forest. Our luck continued as we avoided significant shrubbery.

We eventually emerged on the well-trod Kibbie Ridge trail, and after a short sprint down it took a final break at Lookout Point.

The rain had stopped while we were here and I made the mistake of removing my pack cover, guaranteeing more rain--and light snow--on our hike back to the trailhead. Still it could have been a lot worse: we got dumped on while driving down 120 from the Cherry Lake junction towards Groveland. (Or, some unknown critter could have sabotaged our car...)

This TR ended up being a bit longer than expected, but... can you have too much Cherry Creek Canyon?

More Pictures

Ben Schifrin's Emigrant Wilderness book includes a general route description, but it is not detailed enough for those who are not very comfortable with cross-country travel, non-technical climbing "moves", or traveling over steep granite surfaces.

Links to previous Cherry Creek Canyon posts:

my first descent: May 2008
some bill-e-g dude, July 2010; chick-on + basilbop, May 2011
basilbop: July, 2011
Re: Cherry-Bopping Dandy
May 08, 2013 10:22PM
Oh, man!! I've got to get up there....
avatar Re: Cherry-Bopping Dandy
May 09, 2013 07:50AM
Nice pictures. I have to get to this place sometime.
Re: Cherry-Bopping Dandy
May 09, 2013 05:30PM
Nice pictures. I have to get to this place sometime.

Oh, man!! I've got to get up there....

No, you don't... it's a terrible place... thick brush, slippery granite, camera-devouring whirlpools, large boulders waiting to roll down and crush you, wire-eating critters, strange bird-like creatures... I'd stay far, far away...
Re: Cherry-Bopping Dandy
May 09, 2013 07:26PM
Dragons will be invading the territory someday, oh yessssss.
avatar Re: Cherry-Bopping Dandy
May 09, 2013 07:35PM
Well, sure, but Chick-on found camera-crunching creatures in Pate Valley, and lots of people go there.
Re: Cherry-Bopping Dandy
May 09, 2013 08:48AM
Cherry Creek is awesome. Kinda like walking through the glaciology chapter of a geology textbook. There's more glacier polish per square mile there than I've seen anywhere. Thanks for sharing.

A few pix from last time I went down it:

avatar Re: Cherry-Bopping Dandy
May 09, 2013 11:09AM
Cherry kicks booty.

Tanks to Basilblop and his wife for inviting me along.

A few of mine:

"Old Dood Dome"

Atop Z Old Dood Dome w/ Flintstone in background

My favorite Photosynth complete with Chick-on Bomb:

Last year made an attempt to go UP thru the Bomb... ruined one camera on that attempt.
2nd Gorge was easy to get thru... this year... def. want to just hike downstream jumping into the pools
A very few from that trip are here:

(was able to take really crappy pix with my Archos (which a bear later ate on Muir Gorge Trip))

Anywho. Tanks 2 Basil

Cool Cherry Goodness

Chick-on is looking at you!
Re: Cherry-Bopping Dandy
May 09, 2013 06:36PM
Wow! REALLY wow! Simply fabulous pictures...definitely goes onto my list. Thanks for posting these...looks like an absolutely stunning area (have I said "wow" yet?)!
avatar Re: Cherry-Bopping Dandy
May 10, 2013 09:57PM
Wow! REALLY wow! Simply fabulous pictures...definitely goes onto my list. Thanks for posting these...looks like an absolutely stunning area (have I said "wow" yet?)!

Agreed. Wow!
Re: Cherry-Bopping Dandy
May 09, 2013 07:32PM
Very most excellent!!
So you mean to tell me while I spent the weekend searching and googling
Cherry Creek Canyon you all were out there in it??!
I see how it is.

I'm heading to Yosemite on May 20th and this was in the running for a backpack,
but I never got a feel for how, um, technical it was to get back there.
Maybe not a good choice for a solo trip when I haven't spent much time in that area?
I've done some cross country but, more of the 'alpine with large easy landmarks' variety.
avatar Re: Cherry-Bopping Dandy
May 09, 2013 09:31PM
Don't feel so bad... I spend most of the week when I'm suppose to be working thinking about where to go next.

tongue sticking out smiley

Chick-on is looking at you!
avatar Re: Cherry-Bopping Dandy
May 09, 2013 11:39PM
Beautiful pictures. I can never see enough of Cherry Canyon. Thanks for sharing. On a sidenote, I wonder when Flintstone camp was rebuilt? It's been at least 2 years since I've been in there.
Re: Cherry-Bopping Dandy
May 10, 2013 01:45PM
Really great pics. However, Something about the hiker silhouette on the rock in the mist that looks really cool.
avatar Re: Cherry-Bopping Dandy
May 16, 2013 02:36PM
Was poking around... and I know we talked quite a bit about Cherry... so figured I'd throw this pict. up.

The Chokstone Route is the dotted line. No rope rqd. Much easier than the solid line.
Def. not trivial though.

Word of advice: just stay out of the canyon entirely... it's very dangerous...
tongue sticking out smiley

And thx to them... remembered I was suppose to get one of them UFO visible pack covers..
(the stealth garbage bag works... but... )

Chick-on is looking at you!
Re: Cherry-Bopping Dandy
May 16, 2013 06:07PM
If you are interested in the hi-vis orange pack covers: http://www.shop.backpackingadventuregear.com/Orange-Sil-nylon-Packcovers-Starting-at-orangepc.htm

Back a number of years ago, I bought mine from ULA Equipment, who actually bought them from Etowah. After this round in Cherry, both Basilbop and Chick-On expressed interest in my orange packcover. ULA said to just order straight from Etowah, so I ordered one for Basilbop last week, and it just shipped and should be here next week! Yay! With our O2 Rainwear jackets and the orange packcovers, we'll have to work pretty hard at losing sight of each other! smiling smiley
Re: Cherry-Bopping Dandy
May 16, 2013 07:26PM
After this round in Cherry, both Basilbop and Chick-On expressed interest in my orange packcover.

I can see where I would need a satellite-rated pack cover, unless I was fortunate to get in trouble tail-side-up:

But chick-on...? Chick-on is looking at you!
avatar Re: Cherry-Bopping Dandy
May 16, 2013 08:17PM
Z Perret stole ur pack cover on a previous trip:

After I showed a buddy at work that photo.. he said I was nuts not to get one.

Here's basil and his wife on the chockstone route:

Chick-on is looking at you!
Re: Cherry-Bopping Dandy
May 16, 2013 08:04PM
Another view of the Chockstone route:

The normal disclaimers apply: experts only, climb at your own risk, remember you have to go back down this thing, etc...

Also, I know that there are stories about Cherry Creek Canyon being a paradise, where after a hard day hike you can bathe au naturel in warm pools and then dry off and warm up on glistening granite:

But in fact it's a place that only a special kind of insane would find "awesome":

"That's Awesome!"

Which isn't to say there isn't plenty of granite...

And remember:

It will take a lot of experience before Cherry Creek Canyon is pure "Type 1" fun... Expect some short-term "Type 3" experiences the first few times. You have been warned!
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