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Route from Nelson Lake to Emeric lake

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Route from Nelson Lake to Emeric lake

Postby snowpatch » Wed Nov 14, 2007 8:47 am

Is it possible to travel cross country from Nelson Lake to Emeric Lake via class 1-2 terrain? (in Yosemite Park)
I am hoping to hike from Tuolumne to Emeric Lake, via Elizabeth Lake and Nelson Lake, as a variation of the sierra high route. On the topos, it looks straightforward enough to get as far as the tarns above Emeric, but I am unsure of the descent from there.
I would really appreciate any route advise. thanks

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Postby SSSdave » Wed Nov 14, 2007 11:49 am

Given the usual Cathedral Peak granite terrain, though steep the route directly up southeast from lake 9637 is likely class 2 via ramps and cracks. But even if it is class 3 from being too smooth one would certainly find a class 2 route from Nelson by climbing the ridge due north of Emeric to about 10,080. In fact after reaching the 9840 saddle north of 9637, I wouldn't even waste time dropping down and just climb up to 10,080 and then down. ...David
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Postby maverick » Wed Nov 14, 2007 12:35 pm

Ive been to the lake nnw of Emeric, the terrain is not difficult, just
head south from Nelson, then go south of the cliffs and go up to
about 9680ft, go around to the lake and then down to Emeric.
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Postby cgundersen » Thu Nov 29, 2007 3:45 pm

Hi Snowpatch,
Another regular on this forum had sent me a very thorough trip report about your area of interest, and because I'm assuming he won't mind publicizing the info, I'll paste it here (I've not been there myself, but this report has enough detail both to make me want to visit the area, and to confirm that it's eminently "doable"). Here it goes:
Our trip to the un-named lake above Elizabeth went like this: We went in via Sunrise Lakes trailhead (near Tenaya Lake) hiked past the Sunrise High-Sierra Camp (the Hi-Sierra camps were closed the year we did this, which was an extra bonus), turned north onto the JMT, followed that for almost a mile. Turn east onto a trail that crosses over an easy ridge, drops into the Cathedral Fork of the Merced, then turns south towards Merced Lake, Little Yosemite Valley, etc. We followed this trail over the easy ridge and into the Cathedral Fork valley. When the trail turned sharply right to follow the river south, we continued eastward across the river, then turned north. Pleasant granite slabs take you upward for a short distance, then keep a lookout for the creek going up to Matthes. We stayed at Matthes the first night. Some party with llamas were at the north end of the lake. We camped at a nice spot in the edge of the trees on the south side. Matthes Lake is a nice place, but not quite as alpine as we prefer. Next morning we x-countried up thru very pleasant country to the saddle between Matthes and Nelson.
The first few minutes of descent down the open granite on the east side of the saddle were a little steep but the rock was very good and we just made sure to keep our shoes firmly connected to that nice grippy granite. Some nice meadow walking across Echo Creek takes you to the outfall of Nelson. I was a little nervous about this, so we got out the GPS and verified that we were in the right place, then just started following the creek up. Nelson is nice, a little more alpine in character than Matthes. A ranger and a couple of day-hikers came thru.
Next morning we headed for Reymann Lake. This was easy walking across meadow, then some open forest, then across fields of polished granite.
There's an awesome little campsite in a grove of trees at the NE end of Reymann, near the snowmelt creek coming down from above. We stayed at Reymann for two days. Two fishermen showed up on the second day. They came in from Rafferty Creek, then x-countried up to Reymann. I've been thinking ever since that one could use part of this trip I'm describing to you (from either way, Sunrise or Tuolomne) to create a unique way to get to Vogelsang and a loop trip back out. Just walk down to Rafferty Creek and proceed.

Anyway, while staying at Reymann we day-hiked east and thru the saddle directly north of Rafferty Peak, then contoured north thru some of that shrubby juniper, then turned northwest, looking for the un-named lakes west of Johnson Peak. The unpleasant juniper section wasn't very long.
We broke out onto a huge flank of granite rubble, then got far enough around the corner to see the lakes in a nice open basin. We went back to Reymann by taking a more direct route over the top of the ridge.
Instead of going thru the saddle east of Reymann, we just went over the top of the open ridgeline. Easy rock-and-ledge hopping down to Reymann. Next day we loaded up the packs and headed back again, sort of splitting the baby - we didn't go all the way over to the saddle, but we didn't go quite as directly over the top of the ridge either. Missed most of the juniper shrubbery that way.

We camped at the north end of the lower lake. There were a few nice
sandy tent sites. We could walk for a half a minute onto the granite brow that held the lakes and get a very nice vista. Watched the sun go down over Glen Aulin country. Elizabeth Lake was directly below us. We couldn't see the campers in Tuolomne but I betcha someone with a good nose could smell the hamburgers.

There is a unique little sandy beach and a very unique rocky dive spot/sunning platform along the NW shore of the upper un-named lake.
You'll have to see it for yourself. ;-)

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