Back! I'll post pics when I get a chance, but here's a quick run-down:
Day 1: Alta Peak -- This went fine. My friend was jet-lagged and had a little altitude sickness, but we summited fine. Very little snow below 9000', and a few easy patches of snow at the summit. We could see that Mt. Brewer's South slope had a fair amount of snow on it (about 50-60% coverage), so we decided to just dayhike the rest of the trip. 14 miles + we went to the General Sherman tree.
Night 1: Lodgepole Campground -- The river was running about the same as last year, but there were more mosquitoes. Not a ton, but enough to be annoying. Most looked fairly small/young, but a few were giants.
Day 2: Rest day -- We drove to Crescent Meadow and wandered around for an hour or so. Lots of flying termites were swarming, but few mosquitoes and two bears. We also did Moro Rock and saw a couple of guys trying to hide a drone from the Ranger stationed at the top. Then we drove to Little Baldy and summited that, followed by a trip to the General Grant tree. Finally, we did Tokopah Falls, which was running stronger than last year. About 10 miles all included.
Night 2: Lodgepole Campground got a little busier with tourists and college kids.
Day 3: Mt. Silliman -- Failed due to instructions not matching conditions. The instructions all said to follow Silliman Creek until you get to Sillman Lake, then navigate the north shore, up some slabs to upper Silliman Lake, and then zigzag up to the summit. We followed the use-trail/creek through Silliman Meadow and into a marsh that my friend thought was the beginning of the slabs. I said it couldn't be the right place because the creek to the north was running strong, and this creek, rather than the trickle in the marsh, had to be Silliman Creek. So we followed the strong-running creek to a boulder-field and scrambled up to a broad, shallow lake, and then more scrambling up to a bigger, deeper lake that was its source. We couldn't figure out how it was possible to get up to the summit from there, though, because the slope looked like it was class 3+ at the top. So we headed north a little, found a big, flat marshy area with Silliman Pass to our left/north of us. We figured either way the summit was not going to happen, so we climbed the ridgeline to the southeast and got to a point where we could see the two small, unnamed lakes west of Crescent Lake and below Silliman's NW face. Got a great view, and navigated out. 14-15 miles r/t.
After much investigation, I realize what happened. We were supposed to go into the marsh my friend suggested, follow the tiny trickle that was Silliman Creek up the slabs, and proceed from there up the S slope. The problem was that Silliman Creek was dwarfed by the more significant creek-flow coming out of Little Lake. We ended up on the ridge between Little Lake and the two small lakes west of Crescent Lake.
We used the USGS Mt. Silliman map. Too bad I trusted the instructions over my cell phone GPS, which had a GPS + data signal and had us correctly placed on the map.
Night 3: Lodgepole Campground and the visitor's center was absolutely packed with tourists.
Day 4: Paradise Valley: We drove to Roads End and hiked up to the beginning of Paradise Valley. Not too many mosquitoes, but they were around. The water flow was a little stronger than last year.
Here's a map of our Mt. Silliman route. The red line is our route. The blue line is the unmarked creek, which was running with several orders of magnitude more flow than the pathetic trickle that is Silliman Creek.