Northwestern Yosemite Trip Report

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Northwestern Yosemite Trip Report

Post by maverick » Tue May 15, 2007 9:59 pm

So driving towards Yosemite and having 5 days to get away I still had
not made up my mind on where I should go.
It was either the Valley or the Hetch Hetchy area. I really did not want
to start off my trip with alot of people around or put up with any traffic
though this probably would not have been an issue on Thursday.
I got to HH late because of a last minute problem but placed my foot on
the dam at 12:30pm.
I went up the Beehive trail toward the Vernon Lakes Basin.
The trail was fine only 2-3 snow patches and it was around 85F. I
went up Morraine Ridge where the snow was heavy at around 7500ft
but manageable without gaiters.
I got to where Falls Creek touches the trail 3/4 miles from Ardeth Lake
and could not go any further because the trail had turned into a rushing
river with a large steep snow bridge blocking one side of the ravine the trail was passing thru, so back to the 7800ft elevation lines of peak
8467ft meet the trail and spent the night there.
The next day I climbed the peak and then hiked around the peak. Once
at 8000ft the snow was consistently 5-6ft deep.
Ardeth was all ice except the western end were there was some thawing
but which was frozen by the morning.
Seeing the lake frozen was quite pretty and different than from before
when I had seen the lake years ago later in the season.
The next day it was over to Miwok Lake which was also frozen with a
island in the middle that really made it cool!
The ice looked even thicker than Ardeth. Then I climbed
a large rocky hill behind the lake and got the best view on Bearup Lake
and the upper part of Frog Lake Drainage.
The lake was pretty with some ice still floating around in it and alot of good campsite especially on the western and northern sides unlike
Ardeth that had one dry camp spot at the western end which was a
The next day it was down Frog creek then up to the Morraine Ridge Trail
and down the slabs to the Vernon Lakes Basin.
I enjoyed my stay at the lakes much more than previous times before, probably because of my meeting a couple in the afternoon coming in from Rancheria, whom I got to share stories and a great hike up to Lower Brannigan Lake.
The Brannigans are not that great but taking the southern fork towards the no name chain of lakes was fun with alot of bush and scrambling.
We climbed up next to the outlet of the Brannigans that
rushed down towards the Vernon Basin. Then proceeded to skirt the
lake on its southern side till we got to the fork and visited each lake
then down climbed the ridge back to the basin.
This is where I had an encounter with a nice size adult black bear
which was the icing on the cake for the day!!
The next day it was back to HH.
The ridges western side have snow I saw some very heavy but some
very little.
The eastern sides were snow free.
My guess is that the lakes above 8000ft are frozen with minimal thawing
unless the surface area is totally exposed to the sun.
Skeeterz where only seen on the last day out, but they may start up in
2-3 weeks.
The temps at 8500ft where 70's during the day and 30's at night.
At 6500ft the were 80's and high 40's.
I have a few pics for you to see of the areas mentioned above.

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Post by rightstar76 » Tue May 15, 2007 11:29 pm

You are so lucky! It must have been beautiful up there. The pictures definitely show it. Thanks for sharing them!

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Post by Rosabella » Wed May 16, 2007 5:51 am

Beautiful pictures, maverick! I've not been in that area before.... I enjoyed reading your trip report. Thanks!

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Post by Snow Nymph » Wed May 16, 2007 6:57 am

Beautiful pix! Have to read report later, gotta get ready for work! Thanks!
Expose yourself to your deepest fear; after that, fear has no power, and the fear of freedom shrinks and vanishes. You are free . . . . Jim Morrison" onclick=";return false;

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Post by TehipiteTom » Wed May 16, 2007 2:22 pm

Great pics, interesting report. I'll be going in just west of there in a week--a little lower, though (nothing above 8,000), so I don't imagine I'll see much snow.

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Post by maverick » Wed May 16, 2007 3:03 pm

Hello TT

Nance Peak and the rest of the ridge on the western side of Edith Lake
was snow free on its eastern side and probably on it western side too.
Kibbie Ridge toward Mercur Peak will probably have some on top and
on its western facing slopes.

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Post by Grzldvt » Wed May 16, 2007 11:37 pm

Hmmm, you have me rethinking my trip this weekend.... I have a run in Bishop and on my way back was going into the Ten Lakes area. From tioga Road the area looked pretty clear, but based on your report, there may be some pretty thick snow still hanging around at the pass.

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Post by SSSdave » Thu May 17, 2007 1:38 pm

A backpack up into that region without a bear encounter would be uncommon. I'm not a fan of backpacking into such snowy spring areas as forest areas of convex piles of hard slippery snow make the going tedious. I'd guess the higher areas you visited will be much nicer visually with greenery and wildflowers by late June though squeeters will be peaking. Has been 28 years now since I've seen those lakes. But like many remote Sierra backcountry areas, their timeless looking essentially the same as the decades pass by. Mav, you didn't need to cross Falls Creek? I saw Wapama last weekend when in the area and that creek looked pretty roaring as one would expect. Forced you to take the south side bushwhack around Vernon I bet? One of the above 6000 foot areas I've seen rattlesnakes in the western Sierra.

This coming weekend into Tuesday, I'm mulling climbing up to the bench atop Wapama Falls then set up a camp beside Fall Creek a couple nights. Nice and green with wildflowers in the 4000 to 5500 foot elevations of that canyon still. ...David

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Post by maverick » Thu May 17, 2007 2:00 pm

Hi Dave

Didnt see much flowers except a few towards edge before the final
descent towards HH.
Some of the purple flowers had a dried faded look to them, but
there were alot of butterflies.
The snow was easy going, a little hard in the morning after the low
Falls Creek was manageable with downed trees c rossing it though
towards Ardeth the trail had turned into a rushing stream.
Yep south side Vernon skirting the lake to the Brannigan runoff.
Run-off towards Wapama is in full swing.

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