TR: Northern Yosemite High Route (September 2-7, 2020)

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alido2boord
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TR: Northern Yosemite High Route (September 2-7, 2020)

Post by alido2boord » Sat Sep 12, 2020 8:49 pm

Hi all. My friends and I did a part of the northern part of the Yosemite High Route. Part of the trip was mostly smoke free until the second half when all the fire went wild over the weekend. If you don't want to read the trip report, you can head straight to the video and pics at the bottom of the post.

Day 1 - We went to McCabe Lakes via Young Lakes. Not too hard of a day. Roosevelt Lake was beautiful and going up to Don't Be A Smart Pass gave us a very beautiful view of the lake as we leave it. Don't Be A Smart Pass is a pretty easy pass to hike up, unless you're not too acclimated, which I concluded I was not as I used to be.

Day 2 - We left Upper McCabe Lake and followed the drainage down until we met up with the trail and then split off again when we got to Spiller Creek. For some reason, it felt very sloggish to me although the terrain wasn't too bad and it was only a gradual uphill. Once we got to the base of Matterhorn Pass, the real fun started! It was a fun approach to the pass. In my opinion, the pass from the east is mostly Class 2 with a few Class 3 moves near the top. It's a worthy pass to attempt if you're comfortable. My friend was definitely not comfortable as you may tell in the video below, but she did great. After Matterhorn Pass, we got back on the trail as we went back up to Burro Pass. It seems to me that the actual trail is a little more west than what it shows on the map. Slightly deceiving if you're looking for it while the map shows you've passed it. We stayed at the lake just northwest of Burro Pass for the night (WL10302).

Day 3 - We followed the trail that took us out of Yosemite and into Hoover Wilderness at Mule Pass. But that didn't last long because after a few miles because we were back in Yosemite as we came back in via Rock Island Pass. There were a lot rocks south of Mule Pass that looked like it would be fun to climb and/or boulder. I wonder if these are actual established climbing areas. I would love to go back to that area and boulder around. We got to Rock Island Lake by 2 pm since it was a short day. Probably my most favorite lake in all of Sierra Nevada!!! It's nestled in a beautiful open valley.

Day 4 - This was a long day. We were originally planning on hiking to Rodgers Lake and camp there - 10-11 miles from Rock Island Lake - but we decided to hike deeper so that we can shorten our last day so we can get home early. This meant we ended up hiking about 18.5 miles to a lake sitting above the Grand Canyon of the Tuolumne River (GCTR) at WL6687. Anyway, before that, I was starting to run low on water because all the creeks that were on the map were actually super dry! It was the thirstiest I've ever been on a trip in the Sierra Nevada. Also, this was the day when we started to notice that there was heavy smoke in the sky. Some ash was falling and everything was slowly layering in the ash. Every time we touched something, our hands turned black.

Day 5 - We cranked out 17 miles on this day to get to Glen Aulin. GCTR was beautiful, but the water was low, so waterfalls weren't as lush, but I was happy to see water all around after being thirsty the day before. Unfortunately because of the low water, I didn't get the name of Waterwheel Falls until AFTER we got home and I looked up what it was supposed to look like. I'll have to come back another year when there is more running water.

Day 6 - Well, this day was a short day of about 6 and a half miles. Nothing much to it but hiking back to the car and getting home. Motivation is high whenever it's the last day!

Video:

Pictures:
Going up Don't Be A Smart Pass with Roosevelt Lake behind.
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Upper McCabe Lake.
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Hiking down the drainage from Upper McCabe Lake.
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Hiking up Matterhorn Pass.
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Final approach to Matterhorn Pass.
119026868_10220193133112761_4520957311597545933_o.jpg

Looking towards Rock Island Lake.
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Appraoching Rock Island Lake.
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Canyon after leaving Rock Island Lake.
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Camping near the lake sitting above the Grand Canyon of the Tuolumne River (GCTR) at WL6687
119007404_10220193155993333_2071401813253504971_o.jpg
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Last edited by alido2boord on Mon Sep 14, 2020 8:24 am, edited 1 time in total.








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kpeter
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Re: TR: Northern Yosemite High Route (September 2-7, 2020)

Post by kpeter » Sun Sep 13, 2020 10:47 am

Wonderful trip report! Your friend seemed like a very good sport after you coaxed her over a pretty hairy pass. I've never been in that region of Yosemite and really need to explore it. If I do, it will no doubt be at a slower pace than you young people managed :) The water situation looked a little sketchy there for a while. But how wonderful you and friends got out and had a great adventure despite everything.

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Re: TR: Northern Yosemite High Route (September 2-7, 2020)

Post by alido2boord » Sun Sep 13, 2020 11:33 am

kpeter wrote:
Sun Sep 13, 2020 10:47 am
Wonderful trip report! Your friend seemed like a very good sport after you coaxed her over a pretty hairy pass. I've never been in that region of Yosemite and really need to explore it. If I do, it will no doubt be at a slower pace than you young people managed :) The water situation looked a little sketchy there for a while. But how wonderful you and friends got out and had a great adventure despite everything.
She is indeed a great sport! The funny part is that she was the one who planned this trip, so I found it amusing. Haha.

And thank you for your kind words. :)

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Re: TR: Northern Yosemite High Route (September 2-7, 2020)

Post by SweetSierra » Sun Sep 13, 2020 4:22 pm

In your video, you captured what I think might be a Sierra Nevada marten, coming up over a log to watch you.
What a treat to see it. It's pretty rare to see them.

Thanks for the trip report. Matterhorn Pass does look hairy, especially near the top with those steep drop offs.
It can be unnerving to be thirsty and not find water where you expect to find it. I've filled up a bottle a few times with some pretty rancid looking stuff just in case I might need it (and I sometimes did). Once, I filtered stale and gunky water through a bandana, held my breath and swallowed (Wild Horse Mesa, Mojave Desert). Glad you came to good water at the end of that dry day.

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Re: TR: Northern Yosemite High Route (September 2-7, 2020)

Post by alido2boord » Sun Sep 13, 2020 6:01 pm

SweetSierra wrote:
Sun Sep 13, 2020 4:22 pm
In your video, you captured what I think might be a Sierra Nevada marten, coming up over a log to watch you.
What a treat to see it. It's pretty rare to see them.

Thanks for the trip report. Matterhorn Pass does look hairy, especially near the top with those steep drop offs.
It can be unnerving to be thirsty and not find water where you expect to find it. I've filled up a bottle a few times with some pretty rancid looking stuff just in case I might need it (and I sometimes did). Once, I filtered stale and gunky water through a bandana, held my breath and swallowed (Wild Horse Mesa, Mojave Desert). Glad you came to good water at the end of that dry day.
Oh interesting! I was wondering what that cute little fellow was. I have never seen one in the Sierras before, so it was awesome to see!

I hope I won't get to the point where I will be desperate enough to drink (filtered) stale and gunky water. But perhaps I'll have to experience it one day.

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Re: TR: Northern Yosemite High Route (September 2-7, 2020)

Post by bobby49 » Sun Sep 13, 2020 6:54 pm

American marten, or pine marten, is a member of the mustelid family (weasels). Although they are found across the Sierra, you need to be pretty sharp-eyed to spot them. Even then, you better be pretty quick, because they are fast-movers.

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Re: TR: Northern Yosemite High Route (September 2-7, 2020)

Post by alido2boord » Mon Sep 14, 2020 7:17 am

bobby49 wrote:
Sun Sep 13, 2020 6:54 pm
American marten, or pine marten, is a member of the mustelid family (weasels). Although they are found across the Sierra, you need to be pretty sharp-eyed to spot them. Even then, you better be pretty quick, because they are fast-movers.
Fascinating. I'm glad I was able to capture one! I hope to come across more in the future now that I know they exist in the area.

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Re: TR: Northern Yosemite High Route (September 2-7, 2020)

Post by Enigmagic » Mon Sep 14, 2020 7:57 am

I've been wanting to do some sections of this for a while (also skipping Stanton Pass :nod: ), thanks for the TR! The loop around Crown Point was my first backpacking trip after we moved down from Seattle. Love the area.
alido2boord wrote:
Sat Sep 12, 2020 8:49 pm
After Matterhorn Pass, we got back on the trail as we went back up to Burro Pass. It seems to me that the actual trail is a little more west than what it shows on the map. Slightly deceiving if you're looking for it while the map shows you've passed it.
Indeed, the USGS maps are way off in some sections of Yosemite and Hoover. I fixed this trail up in OSM about a month ago, it will update in CalTopo's MapBuilder layers when he runs an import again. Or switch to the OpenStreetMap layer to see it now.
alido2boord wrote:
Sat Sep 12, 2020 8:49 pm
Caltopo of GPS tracking
Skurka encourages folks to keep gpx tracks from his routes private. To encourage adventure and hopefully limit the number of use trails that develop.

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Re: TR: Northern Yosemite High Route (September 2-7, 2020)

Post by alido2boord » Mon Sep 14, 2020 8:36 am

Enigmagic wrote:
Mon Sep 14, 2020 7:57 am
I've been wanting to do some sections of this for a while (also skipping Stanton Pass :nod: ), thanks for the TR! The loop around Crown Point was my first backpacking trip after we moved down from Seattle. Love the area.
That's awesome. The area near Crown Point was one of my favorite areas on the trip.
Enigmagic wrote:
Mon Sep 14, 2020 7:57 am
Indeed, the USGS maps are way off in some sections of Yosemite and Hoover. I fixed this trail up in OSM about a month ago, it will update in CalTopo's MapBuilder layers when he runs an import again. Or switch to the OpenStreetMap layer to see it now.
Oo. Thanks for your contribution! I did not know this is pretty much open source.
Enigmagic wrote:
Mon Sep 14, 2020 7:57 am
Skurka encourages folks to keep gpx tracks from his routes private. To encourage adventure and hopefully limit the number of use trails that develop.
Thanks for letting me know. I have removed the link. I didn't know he wanted to keep his routes private, but that makes sense. Route finding and planning yourself is the fun part anyway. :p

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