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Yosemite Trip Report - Lyell/Vogelsang/Ireland loop

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Yosemite Trip Report - Lyell/Vogelsang/Ireland loop

Postby copeg » Tue Jun 03, 2008 2:44 pm

Was able to get out for an early season trip this past weekend and thought I'd post a detailed trip report. I got a relatively late start on Saturday. In no hurry whatsoever, I slowly made my way up Lyell, then Rafferty Creek. A few miles up Rafferty Creek I kept saying to myself "I must've been crazy to even think I'd need snowshoes". An hour later I was saying to myself "I'm crazy for NOT bringing snowshoes!" - the trail became completely lost under several feet of wet spring snow. Reaching a short, flat stretch of trail carved through the forest, I looked up from my wet feet to see a Red-Tailed Hawk flying down the forested tunnel right towards me. In what seemed like slow motion, on it flew towards me, coming within about 15 feet of me before making a sharp bank up, giving me a full prey's eye view only to disappear into the dense forest. Whoa...

Slow going as the afternoon snow turned wet, I spent the rest of the hike sinking a few inches with every step, followed by a good slip and slide to round it off. Reaching Fletcher Lake by late afternoon, I was happy to find a few flat and snow free camping spots around the frozen lake, with an unfrozen running stream for water within easy walking distance. That evening the fog rolled in as the sun began to set, to the east a large Sierra Wave stretched along the Sierra Crest.

A relatively cold night, the following day broke windy and clear. After lounging around camp, exploring Fletcher Lake, and watching the incredible number of different birds in the area, I began the slow work across the snow toward Evelyn Lake and Ireland Creek. The snow was still hard from the cold night, so I strapped on the crampons for easy walking. Taking my time, stopping here and there to eat and nap, I reach the Ireland Creek drainage a little after mid-day. Descending down the creek was an experience: a nice exercise in route finding down the steep and snowy forest, and only once dangerously postholing down to my waste. The snow faded into several streams, and I finally picked up the trail several hundred meters from the intersection with the JMT. Down in Lyell Canyon, I wandered around the area, at one point laying down and, not realizing how tired I really was, just fell asleep. Finally, I set up camp adjacent to a beautiful meadow, and for hours I watched several deer graze in the nearby meadow. Across the river there were two rabbits flirting with each other. That evening I saw the first people since leaving the trailhead.

The following morning I awoke to find everything coated in the thing layer of frost. My water bottle was partly frozen, and in the distance I could hear a coyote howling up a storm. The hike out was slow, as the majority of the trail in Lyell Canyon was flooded out from the spring thaw. Wading through puddle after puddle, I finally reached the trailhead parking lot to find my vehicle the only one there. Yes, a vacant Tuolumne Meadows - almost sounds oxymoronic.

The lowdown on current conditions (copied from another post): In Lyell the snow was patchy and not really even in need of mention. What was more of a nuisance was the amount of standing water in Lyell, making one wade through puddle after puddle. Rafferty Creek was snow free/patchy for quite some time, but around 9500 (a rough guess) the snow became constant, with mostly solid coverage all around. There were a number of snow free camp spots at Fletcher and Evelyn Lake. Stream and Creak crossing weren't a problem on the route I took. The lakes up there were still frozen solid, except for near the outlets.

For a general map of the area and route:
http://www.naturefocused.com/maps/map.p ... om=13&mt=p

A few pics, hopefully more to come:
Sunrise near the thawed outlet of Fletcher Lake
Image
Twilight
Image
Foggy sunset
Image
Evelyn Lake
Image



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Re: Yosemite Trip Report - Lyell/Vogelsang/Ireland loop

Postby Hikin Mike » Tue Jun 03, 2008 3:31 pm

Thanks for posting the TR and especially the photos Greg!
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Re: Yosemite Trip Report - Lyell/Vogelsang/Ireland loop

Postby hikerduane » Tue Jun 03, 2008 5:23 pm

Great photos, loved them. Thanks for the report.
Piece of cake.
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Re: Yosemite Trip Report - Lyell/Vogelsang/Ireland loop

Postby windknot » Tue Jun 03, 2008 10:03 pm

Stunning shots! Thanks for the report.

Matt
A few backcountry fishing pictures: http://wanderswithtrout.wordpress.com/
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Re: Yosemite Trip Report - Lyell/Vogelsang/Ireland loop

Postby Trekker » Tue Jun 03, 2008 11:54 pm

Greg, Please!!!! This is cruel and unusual punishment!!! :( :D
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Re: Yosemite Trip Report - Lyell/Vogelsang/Ireland loop

Postby Rosabella » Wed Jun 04, 2008 5:33 am

What amazing pictures, Greg!!! The colors of the sky at different times of day are just beautiful. Your pictures always are incredible.

Enjoyed the report! Sounds like a perfect solo out... other than I think I'd have been a little scared over that waist-high-postholing-thing.

Thanks for posting!
Rosie

P.S. I have to ask... are you still making your gear? Any new ideas or suggestions for rain gear? I'm gonna try to make a few things before summer (when I finish these ballet costumes :rolleyes: ).
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Re: Yosemite Trip Report - Lyell/Vogelsang/Ireland loop

Postby copeg » Wed Jun 04, 2008 8:01 am

Thanks everyone! Glad you enjoyed them, even if they were cruel and unusual :unibrow: haha

Hi Rosie! Still making my gear, in fact the jacket and pants in that last photo were homemade - gore-tex and EPIC, respectively (sewed a backpack last year, but didn't bring on this trip because of the extra weight I had to carry). The EPIC is nice, but wouldn't hold up to the functionality of Gore-tex. I usually just keep my eye out for deals, then pick up some stuff when I see them. I can send you a list of vendors if you'd like :nod:
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Re: Yosemite Trip Report - Lyell/Vogelsang/Ireland loop

Postby Rosabella » Wed Jun 04, 2008 9:37 am

Thanks Greg! I've got a few vendors listed in my "favorites" but I'd appreciate getting more... I'm still trying to find a heavy-weight, power-stretch pollarfleece in pink :D

I'd also appreciate any notes on which vendors you've had experience with... good or bad. My Email address is rosiebreen-at-msn period com

Thanks again!
Last edited by copeg on Wed Jun 04, 2008 9:53 am, edited 1 time in total.
Reason: edited email to prevent email spam
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Re: Yosemite Trip Report - Lyell/Vogelsang/Ireland loop

Postby copeg » Wed Jun 04, 2008 9:57 am

Hi Rosie, hope you don't mind but I edited the email in your post (placing literal emails is just asking for spam). I'll send you a list when I get a chance...
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Re: Yosemite Trip Report - Lyell/Vogelsang/Ireland loop

Postby Rosabella » Wed Jun 04, 2008 11:16 am

Thanks.... and thanks! :)
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Re: Yosemite Trip Report - Lyell/Vogelsang/Ireland loop

Postby The Other Tom » Wed Jun 04, 2008 5:28 pm

Greg,
Beautiful photos. My son and I have been to Vogelsand a couple of times, in August. There was still a patch of snow on Vogelsang. Thanks for posting.
Tom
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Re: Yosemite Trip Report - Lyell/Vogelsang/Ireland loop

Postby hikerduane » Wed Jun 04, 2008 7:02 pm

The photos are worthy of being hung up, sofa size of course in a living room or shown somewhere where people can see them and appreciate them. Very vivid colors.
Piece of cake.
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