Devil's Postpile to Tuolumne in late June?

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Pika
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Devil's Postpile to Tuolumne in late June?

Post by Pika » Sun Mar 12, 2017 2:00 am

Hey everyone,

I'm thinking of going on a 3ish day trip in late June, maximizing beautiful scenery while avoiding the need for an ice axe / crampons and particularly dangerous river crossings. I'd be open to snowshoeing and some easy XC, though I'm not very experienced with either. Right now, I'm thinking of doing Agnew to Tuolumne (assuming Tioga Road opens up by then, Donohue doesn't fall afoul of the no ice-axe constraint, and that the river crossings aren't too bad), but would definitely be interested in hearing any suggestions you all have!

A bit about me: I'm a grad student in Southern California who has been lurking here for a while but haven't posted in the intro thread yet (sorry Maverick!) I got into hiking last summer, and have hiked about 200 miles since (50 on the West Highland Way in June, about 100 in the Sierra last August including the HST, 30 on the Skyline to the Sea trail in December, and a bunch of day hikes up various mountains in socal). I pack relatively light, and am comfortable averaging 15ish miles/day with a few thousand feet of elevation gain on snow free trail at 10,000 ft, though I don't mind shorter or longer days than that. For this trip, shorter might be better because of snow and because I might be hiking with a friend who has less backpacking experience.

Thanks in advance for your help!








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Re: Devil's Postpile to Tuolumne in late June?

Post by paul » Sun Mar 12, 2017 10:05 am

Donohue is very gentle, no need for an ice axe. Might be some post holing if you go over in the afternoon, might be a little icy first thing in the morning. The only creek crossing that comes to mind as an issue is the one below the north side of Donohue but I think that will be wide and still pretty shallow. Should be gorgeous, might be pretty buggy so bring a headnet.

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Re: Devil's Postpile to Tuolumne in late June?

Post by Lumbergh21 » Sun Mar 12, 2017 10:51 am

I've only been through there once and that was during a drought year in late July. Based on this year's snow pack, you had better be prepared for deep snow at the least. I agree that Donahue Pass is gradual enough that crampons and an ice axe aren't needed. The crossings of Rush Creek and the Lyell Fork may be okay since you are crossing so high in the drainage, but I wouldn't want to risk it. I would suggest postponing for a couple of months if at all possible. It should make the trip more enjoyable and much easier. Hopefully someone who has been through there that early in a high snow year will have some more specific advice.

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Re: Devil's Postpile to Tuolumne in late June?

Post by maverick » Sun Mar 12, 2017 11:03 am

I'm thinking of going on a 3ish day trip in late June
Keep in mind, Tioga Road opened on Jun 24th and Reds Meadow Road opened on Jun 29th in 2005, which was also an above average snow year.
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Re: Devil's Postpile to Tuolumne in late June?

Post by AlmostThere » Sun Mar 12, 2017 11:11 am

maverick wrote:
I'm thinking of going on a 3ish day trip in late June
Keep in mind, Tioga Road opened on Jun 24th and Reds Meadow Road opened on Jun 29th in 2005, which was also an above average snow year.
And they plow the roads, so the snow won't be melted out to the degree that most have become accustomed to during the drought. I don't intend to even go above 8000 til July, unless we're planning for snow fun.

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Re: Devil's Postpile to Tuolumne in late June?

Post by Pika » Sun Mar 12, 2017 2:13 pm

maverick wrote:
I'm thinking of going on a 3ish day trip in late June
Keep in mind, Tioga Road opened on Jun 24th and Reds Meadow Road opened on Jun 29th in 2005, which was also an above average snow year.
Wow that's really late! Do you know if YARTS will be up and running as soon as the road is plowed?

Also, that's a good point about bugs, Paul. I remember getting eaten alive by mosquitoes at Little Yosemite Valley in mid July of 2011. Though I was foolish and didn't bring a headnet on that trip.

The other window I have for a trip this summer is after September 20th. I was thinking of doing North Lake - South Lake then since I'll have a few more days. But it'd also be fun to hike from Devil's Postpile to the valley then. I haven't been to the Vogelsang / Merced Lake area yet.

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Re: Devil's Postpile to Tuolumne in late June?

Post by Big Ed » Wed Mar 22, 2017 7:25 pm

Pika wrote:
The other window I have for a trip this summer is after September 20th.
I've done high country trips that late, it's cold. You won't likely be happy with your summer gear. I remember walking a stretch of the JMT where the water pooled up on the trail was frozen, protecting the boot tracks underneath.

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Re: Devil's Postpile to Tuolumne in late June?

Post by alpinemike » Wed Mar 22, 2017 8:32 pm

While I agree that Donahue is not a steep pass... I actually advise bringing an ice ax to feel completely confident. This is of course assuming you know and have practiced how to self arrest. If not an ice ax then a pair of microspikes would make me feel more comfortable. Unless you're absolutely certain you're going to cross late afternoon and the snow will be nice and soft then I would never trust any sort of angle of snow without an ice ax. I've had several falls on snow and without an ice ax I wouldn't have felt safe.

That's just my opinion on snow safety.
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Re: Devil's Postpile to Tuolumne in late June?

Post by Wandering Daisy » Wed Mar 22, 2017 8:42 pm

I was up in that area late June in 2011 (or 2010?) and it was solid snow. Anyway a recent high snow year. I have some photos- but am away from home right now. I will dig them up and post them when I get home next week. I think the post-hole problems will be of more concern than needing ice axe or microspikes. Even if no post-holing walking in snow really slows you down. I doubt you can do it in 3 days because you may not be able to walk on the snow in the afternoons without falling through . It may actually be a wonderful late spring ski-tour this year. All depends on how the spring melt goes. One thing for sure, it will be very soggy.

Not totally sure but I think that there is a bridge across Rush Creek now. I remember doing a hard log crossing years ago. In 2015 I day-hiked on the trail and recall there was a bridge. Not sure which crossing of Rush Creek you are talking about.

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Re: Devil's Postpile to Tuolumne in late June?

Post by Pulpit » Thu Mar 23, 2017 10:21 am

I was up that way in late June 2010, which was an above average winter but nothing like 2017. We left out of Agnew Meadows, we hit the occasional snow up to Shadow Lake. I would say that somewhere just above 9000 feet the snow coverage began increasing steadily and it was almost total coverage once you got to 9,500 or 10,000 depending on the slope aspect. Trail became indistinguishable at that point. Expect a lot of postholing. Lakes were just beginning to thaw, if you are planning to camp above 9,000 be prepared for snow camping.
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