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Late TR: Cloud's Rest attempt in Mid-March

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Late TR: Cloud's Rest attempt in Mid-March

Postby KevinDo » Wed Jun 29, 2016 5:03 am

Originally posted on the YosemiteNews forum

Better late than never! My friend Melly and I attempted to do Cloud's Rest mid-March....The plan was to do the Happy Isles --> Cloud's Rest --> Snow Creek loop. The week prior seemed pretty bad as temperatures were pretty high. Thankfully we had about a 3/4 day window of moderate temperatures with forecasted highs of low 50s. After that, the temperatures were forecasted to shoot back up so we went for it. The big concern was the previous hot week would make the portion of trail below Cloud's Rest a challenge...we weren't wrong.

Spoiler: We didn't make it but still, we had some great views!

All photos were taken by my friend Melly Lee
Day 1 - Drive up from Los Angeles! AND the annoying birthday party:confused:
Woke up at at 4am and got on the road and meet up with my friend Melly at UCLA. After moving all the gear to her car (gotta love that prius mpg!), we began the long drive up to Yosemite Valley. I think we arrived at Oakhurst around 1pm and went straight to the grocery store to find some pre-cooked bacon :baconstrips: (thanks for the tip basilpop & chick-on!) and dinner. Ended up getting into the Valley at 3pm...To be honest, I did NOT expect that sort of crowd on a weekday. Took us about 30 minutes of waiting to get our permits in the visitor center!

After that, went to our campsite at Upper Pines and started sorting everything out

Food for 4-5 days. Mountain Houses for breakfast since I wanted to keep it simple and easy in the morning. We also had pancakes & bacon planned for the last celebratory breakfast :pancakes: In addition to that, we had a mixture of Energy snacks and Orzo+Olive oil for lunch. And of course some home-made dehydrated dishes liek chili mac and beef & chicken gumbo

Now the plan was to wake up at 3am to get an early start so we "tried" to go to sleep around 6-7pm after making hot links for dinner. Sadly, we were camped next to a group who was celebrating a 21st songs went raging on till maybe 11:30pm...I think it was around 2am we decided that we weren't going to get any sleep so we just packed up and went to the trailhead.

Day 2 - Up the two falls and towards our campsite at the Cloud's Rest junction

Armed with snowshoes on our backs, we began the slow walk up Vernal/Nevada falls. The falls looked great!

Some clouds coming in

Top of Nevada Falls


Now I know it was late in the season but I was hoping their would be snow at the top of Nevada/LYV area. BUT it was bone dry. It would another hour and half before we found snow around 2 miles away from the CR junction. I was definitely excited to get the snowshoes off my back! :backpacker:

Random patches of snow at around 7k

The snow became more abundant about a mile away from the junction. At the junction, there was considerable number of pools all over from the snow melt. Eventually we found a nice dry spot for the night


Cooked chili mac, melted snow, and called it a night! Thankfully there wouldn't be any camp songs tonight!

Day 3 - Summit Day! was supposed to be...we still had fun

About 4 inches of snow dumped on us overnight and we woke up to a winter wonderland


The plan was to wake up at 3/4am and be on the trail by 5 as we didn't went to do with the afternoon melt...Well since we didn't get any sleep the night before, we basically overslept till 6am :whiteflag:
Thankfully the snow was still in tip-top shape!

Now this is where the photo taken took a break was we were exhausted.
As we woke up late, we decided to try to take a shortcut to save time. What we ended up doing was going up the slope to the left of the 8400 peak. It would save as some miles so why not. Boy was that mistake. We ended up in No-Mans land which was full of snow-covered rivers and streams and of course rocks. Can't recall how many times my feet went through the snow. Miraculously neither of us got soaked or hurt but we sure were became more tired traveling through that area. Eventually we cleared it and started going up the sleep. This was where I kept thinking, why did I leave my ice axe at home...the "normal" trail would have been fine!
Eventually we made to about 9200 feet at 3pm and were less than 2 miles from the summit. Really wanted to keep going but with the sun setting in about 2.5 hours, I didn't want to be setting up camp in the dark. Plus melting snow would take some time so we ended up calling it a day at 9200 feet. Checking the forecast, the next day's temperatures were forecasted higher than expected so we heartbreakingly decided to head back down the next morning as we didn't want to be on the southern facing slopes with high temperatures the next day. :whiteflag:

Though we didn't make our goal, we still had an awesome view of the Clark Range



The wind was originally blowing from another direction so we built the windwall in that orientation. However, the wind changed angles at night and we ended up getting some windburn that night. Thermometer read -8F that night. That + the wind made things slightly...less enjoyable.
But I guess the saving grace was the full moon that lit up the entire Clark Range all night long. I would randomly wake up throughout the night thinking we had slept in as it the moon's brightness made it seem like it was 8am or something!

Thankfully we didn't oversleep and was up and about at 5am. The slope going back down was pretty ...slippery with the top thin layer cracking all over the place...We carefully took our time heading down the sleep aiming for as many anchors as we good. At the bottom, we went around no-mans land this time and didn't run into much difficulties. Starting around 9500 feet, the snow that had dropped the previous day was melting quickly so we removed our snowshoes and begrudingly reattached them to our packs.

Eventually we got back down to Nevada Falls and enjoyed our last lunch: The originally planned pancake and bacon breakfast. Boy was it good!

Some clouds coming around Liberty Cap

Made it back down to the Valley around 1pm and went looking for a snack at Curry Village...but some for renaming madness was occurring so finding Curry Village seemed near impossible

Ate a bunch of Chef Boyardees and finally left the park and headed back down to Los Angeles. Hoping to reattempt this loop sometime mid-December if conditions allow!

Just wanted to say thanks to the fellow board members who helped me with planning this trip: Chick-on, Basilpop, & VengeanceASX

Thanks for reading!

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Re: Late TR: Cloud's Rest attempt in Mid-March

Postby sheperd80 » Wed Jun 29, 2016 6:48 am

Atleast u got some great pics and had a nice trip regardless. Its always dissapointing having to quit a destination but sounds like you made the right decision.

Thanks for the report!

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