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TR: Clouds Rest and Beyond -- April 17-19 -- snow conditions

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TR: Clouds Rest and Beyond -- April 17-19 -- snow conditions

Postby vhsvhs » Tue Apr 21, 2015 12:05 am

Hi All,

This past weekend I took a short backpacking trip from Glacier Point to Clouds Rest and beyond. I descended the peak along its NE route, and then followed the Merced River through Echo Valley and Little Yosemite Valley to return to GP. The Clouds Rest summit is basically snow free, except a few trivial patches among shaded rocks. The summit views into higher backcountry revealed snow levels that seem very low for this time in April. Rather, it feels like mid-June of a normal year. Many (most?) south facing slopes, including Mount Hoffman, are essentially snow free. The snow line is about 10,000' on north slopes, such as the Buena Vista Crest. Assuming the weather stays nice, I think it is reasonable to attempt higher elevation trips much sooner than normal (with an ice axe and caution).

My route passed through the fire devastation from the 2014 Little Yosemite Valley wildfire (a.k.a. "The Meadow Fire"). The fire was apocalyptic, especially between Moraine Dome and Bunnell Point. Lost Valley is essentially toast, and the really nice campsites below Point 7683 are now a mess of ashen charcoal stags. Sigh, nothing lasts forever.

I posted a few noteworthy photos below, and all the rest are on my Flickr page:
https://www.flickr.com/photos/victorhan ... 678256040/

ImageBuena Vista Crest, from Glacier Point

ImageClouds Rest, Tenaya Lake, Mount Conness, and beyond

ImageClouds Rest NE Foot Trail

ImageFire Damage on the SE slopes of Clouds Rest

ImageLost Valley, Merced River

ImageLittle Yosemite Valley

ImageGood Night

ImageTea Time along the Merced River

ImageStorms over Clouds Rest and Half Dome
Last edited by vhsvhs on Tue Apr 21, 2015 11:26 am, edited 2 times in total.



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Re: TR: Clouds Rest and Beyond -- April 17-19 -- snow condit

Postby Sierra_Summits » Tue Apr 21, 2015 7:48 am

Thanks for sharing your trip!
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Re: TR: Clouds Rest and Beyond -- April 17-19 -- snow condit

Postby Wandering Daisy » Tue Apr 21, 2015 9:15 am

Fire devastation is very sad. I cannot find information on the Yosemite website. Is the campground at Little Yosemite Valley burned? If so, what does this mean for camping for permits to Little Yosemite Valley?
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Re: TR: Clouds Rest and Beyond -- April 17-19 -- snow condit

Postby vhsvhs » Tue Apr 21, 2015 9:28 am

@WanderingDaisy - the campground at Little Yosemite Valley is fine, untouched by the fire. The devastation begins approx. 1 mile east, on the SE slopes of Clouds Rest and along the Merced River to Bunnell Point. Further upstream -- Echo Valley and Merced Lake -- were not damaged by the fire.
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Re: TR: Clouds Rest and Beyond -- April 17-19 -- snow condit

Postby gary c. » Tue Apr 21, 2015 10:01 am

Thanks for the report and pictures. I've been wanting to see some pictures of the burned area. Now I almost wish that I hadn't. That is a good sized snake.
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Re: TR: Clouds Rest and Beyond -- April 17-19 -- snow condit

Postby BSquared » Tue Apr 21, 2015 10:10 am

Thanks! This is great. It'll be wonderful to watch LYV through the next years as the forest begins to regenerate...

PS: May I take a raincheck on the tea? I'm a bit far away just now ;)
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Re: TR: Clouds Rest and Beyond -- April 17-19 -- snow condit

Postby coff20 » Tue Apr 21, 2015 10:42 am

Thanks for the trip report and those are some great pictures. In response to the picture labeled "ptarmigan?" I'd say female blue grouse based on its location. Ptarmigan are going to still have a lot of white on them at this time of year and are found up above the tree line.
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Re: TR: Clouds Rest and Beyond -- April 17-19 -- snow condit

Postby vhsvhs » Tue Apr 21, 2015 11:41 am

@coff20 - thanks, duly noted!
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Re: TR: Clouds Rest and Beyond -- April 17-19 -- snow condit

Postby maverick » Tue Apr 21, 2015 1:04 pm

Thanks V for the TR and pictures, the lack of snow for April is striking, especially the views towards Conness, but also on CR itself. :(
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Re: TR: Clouds Rest and Beyond -- April 17-19 -- snow condit

Postby longri » Tue Apr 21, 2015 3:40 pm

Nice photos. The lack of snow is a little shocking, isn't it? It's surreal.

The funny thing is your photos look almost identical in terms of snow coverage as the ones I took five weeks ago. In between there was a lot more melting but also a little new snow. Clouds Rest was already dry and Tenaya Lake completely melted in mid-March this year.
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