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SHR RM to TM: Best direction for Level 3?

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SHR RM to TM: Best direction for Level 3?

Postby Ska-T » Thu Aug 11, 2016 11:58 pm

Regarding the Sierra High Route section between Red's Meadow and Tuolumne Meadows is there a better direction of travel for a Level 3 backpacker? Are the differences so slight that it doesn't matter?

The Level 3 person is my 31 yr old daughter. She is a good hiker and has some, but not a lot, of off-trail experience. For example when she was 15 yr old she was uncomfortable but did fine on Hands-and-Knees Pass and Glacier Pass going from Big 5 Lakes to Mineral King. Like most of us she likes stable talus better than steep scree.

She is slight of build and in the beginning of this SHR section she will be carrying perhaps 25 lbs. At the end of the trip that load will be about 16 lb. Therefore, I was thinking that since the longest on-trail part of this trip is the northern most, then maybe it is better to do the route north to south. That way the off-trail part would come after a couple days of acclimation and the load would be slightly lessened.

Is the navigation between Blue Lake and North Glacier Pass more difficult going north to south (or in that specific area, west to east)?

On a related topic, is the basin containing the Lyell Fork of the Merced River (the general area just north of Mt Ansel Adams) worth exploring from a scenic perspective? How is the travel between the Lyell Fork and Blue Lake, that is, over Foerster Ridge and Blue Lake Pass? Is this pretty good rock or nasty unstable talus and slippery scree? (Please don't suggest Google Earth. I hear it doesn't play nicely with Linux Mint 17.3.)



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Re: SHR RM to TM: Best direction for Level 3?

Postby Wandering Daisy » Fri Aug 12, 2016 5:34 am

I did the route north to south in 2010. Route-finding is a bit harder just because Roper describes everything from south-to-north. I personally prefer to do the steepest parts going up instead of down. In general, north sides of passes are steeper. There was snow when I did the route and I especially do not like going down on steep snow. As for trail miles, with packs as light as you have, I doubt that is much of a difference. I suspect permits may be easier to get south-to-north just because of the JMT hikers and the new Yosemite regulations regarding the JMT. You could figure out a daily route plan and see where you then would spend each night going each direction. I usually find that one direction just works better for the campsites I want to end the day at. I like to camp at the most scenic sites. Then there is car and shuttle logistics. If you take the bus between start and fishish, the bus schedule may be a factor. The shuttle bus at Reds Meaadows usually is more time consuming than planned.

Nancy Pass has some nasty and unpleasant loose scree. Miserable but not dangerous. The pass to Blue Lakes has some talus but it is pretty stable. White Bark Pass north side is also talus, as is the pass to Cecile Lake. By the way there is a use-trail that drops from Cecile Lake to Mineret Lake. The 3rd class slot decribed by both Roper and Secor does not need to be done.
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Re: SHR RM to TM: Best direction for Level 3?

Postby maverick » Fri Aug 12, 2016 7:50 am

You did not say when she is planning to do the section hike (month), which could make a difference.

Is the navigation between Blue Lake and North Glacier Pass more difficult going north to south (or in that specific area, west to east)?


This is a preferrence thing, most folks are more comfortable ascending the difficult part of a route, a few prefer descending it. There is plenty of information here on HST about this section, if she is proficient with route finding then she should be fine either way.

On a related topic, is the basin containing the Lyell Fork of the Merced River (the general area just north of Mt Ansel Adams) worth exploring from a scenic perspective? How is the travel between the Lyell Fork and Blue Lake, that is, over Foerster Ridge and Blue Lake Pass? Is this pretty good rock or nasty unstable talus and slippery scree?


Blue Lake Pass is a relatively moderate class 2 pass, the approach following the ridge from the north is just a little long, Foerster Ridge had relatively stable talus and yes the Lyell Fork is well worth exploring, one of the prettiest in Yosemite, which is why the Meet-up was held there this year. :)
As with the NGP to Blue Lake route, there are plenty of TR's through this section, here is one from another site about Foerster Ridge since I have no photo's of it. http://yosemitenews.info/forum/read.php?3,69110,69110
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Re: SHR RM to TM: Best direction for Level 3?

Postby Ska-T » Fri Aug 12, 2016 9:49 am

Thanks for the suggestions. We are starting the trip next week. Surprisingly we were able to get a permit for north to south travel and south to north permits were taken. I'm willing to cancel the reserved permit for a walk-up permit if south to north is a more favorable direction.

I didn't mean to give the impression that my daughter is going alone, she will be with two old foggy Level 4 hikers, one of them me. I've done the rest of the High Route south to north but haven't been on the Reds to Tuolumne section except Nancy Pass and the north side of North Glacier Pass. So far I haven't had any route finding or physical difficulties on the SHR, but some of the recent posts on HST about the section east of North Glacier Pass have me concerned since I am responsible for my daughter's welfare. Usually I just plan a route and go.

WD and Mav confirm my thought that direction for this trip isn't a major problem.

As WD says, the bus is a consideration. So is camping the night before the trip. The timing works best to park at Tuolumne the afternoon before the trip, ride to Mammoth Mtn, take one of the last shuttles to Reds Meadow NFS campground, and start the hike in the morning from the Postpile. Is it likely that YARTS will have available seats at 4 pm at Tuolumne on a Tues? I called YARTS and they were no help. The customer service guy just kept responding "seats are not guaranteed". Is it likely that the RM campground will not be full at 8PM next Tues? The NFS site says that specific campground gets "light" usage.

Although we would get a later start, camping is easier if we park at Mammoth Lodge the day of the hike and ride the bus to Tuolumne. However, only the 8AM bus timing works well. The 8AM bus is the only bus that goes all the way to Yosemite Valley and I worry about getting seats on that bus.

Thanks for the Foerster Ridge link, Mav. What is the least strenuous way to explore the Lyell Fork? By going up and back down from the Isberg trail, or by going over Foerster Ridge and down the Fork (or the reverse)?
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Re: SHR RM to TM: Best direction for Level 3?

Postby jgaffney » Wed Aug 17, 2016 8:16 pm

Ska-T wrote:Thanks for the suggestions. We are starting the trip next week. Surprisingly we were able to get a permit for north to south travel and south to north permits were taken. I'm willing to cancel the reserved permit for a walk-up permit if south to north is a more favorable direction.

I didn't mean to give the impression that my daughter is going alone, she will be with two old foggy Level 4 hikers, one of them me. I've done the rest of the High Route south to north but haven't been on the Reds to Tuolumne section except Nancy Pass and the north side of North Glacier Pass. So far I haven't had any route finding or physical difficulties on the SHR, but some of the recent posts on HST about the section east of North Glacier Pass have me concerned since I am responsible for my daughter's welfare. Usually I just plan a route and go.

WD and Mav confirm my thought that direction for this trip isn't a major problem.

As WD says, the bus is a consideration. So is camping the night before the trip. The timing works best to park at Tuolumne the afternoon before the trip, ride to Mammoth Mtn, take one of the last shuttles to Reds Meadow NFS campground, and start the hike in the morning from the Postpile. Is it likely that YARTS will have available seats at 4 pm at Tuolumne on a Tues? I called YARTS and they were no help. The customer service guy just kept responding "seats are not guaranteed". Is it likely that the RM campground will not be full at 8PM next Tues? The NFS site says that specific campground gets "light" usage.

Although we would get a later start, camping is easier if we park at Mammoth Lodge the day of the hike and ride the bus to Tuolumne. However, only the 8AM bus timing works well. The 8AM bus is the only bus that goes all the way to Yosemite Valley and I worry about getting seats on that bus.

Thanks for the Foerster Ridge link, Mav. What is the least strenuous way to explore the Lyell Fork? By going up and back down from the Isberg trail, or by going over Foerster Ridge and down the Fork (or the reverse)?

I hiked the JMT from Tuolumne Meadows to Devils Postpile, spent the night at the hostel in Mammoth (++), and rode YARTS back to TM in the morning. No problem getting a seat on the bus because you're near the start of the run.

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