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Re: Yosemite backpacking advice for this summer/fall?

Posted: Wed Apr 21, 2010 7:54 am
by markskor
rlown wrote:
markskor wrote:Vidalia writes:

5. Is it possible to hike to Half Dome from Little Yosemite Valley camp, reservations?
That is what most everybody does who overnights HD. Get up pre-sunrise, leave the tent set up - food in bearboxes...atop the Dome by 10:00, and back to LYV by noon.
I think if you want to go up Half Dome, i think you now also need that special permit as well as the basic wilderness permit. Info at:" onclick=";return false;

Also, the trip up lyell always seems "steeper" than the rafferty creek trail. And personally, for fishing, I really like Evelyn but am not so crazy about Boothe..
I do not think that even Yosemite knows yet how this is going to work regarding Half Dome. I was there last week (in the Valley) and asked about this at the main Wilderness Permit office (which unfortunately is not open until May 1 - budget cuts) - so all wilderness duties/paperwork is now either being done only by phone or badly by what seemed to be junior rangers in the larger stone building front desk. From what I could ascertain, something about new rules on weekends only, additional permit needed but these are free when picking up regular wilderness permits, but some mention of a quota...
(It got a bit confusing/conflicting as to what happens if you happen to be on a long trip and forget what day it they were going to enforce this.) It seemed that the gray areas were mostly with those doing trips of multiple nights originating elsewhere than Happy Isles.
Stay tuned.

Re: Yosemite backpacking advice for this summer/fall?

Posted: Wed Apr 21, 2010 9:23 am
by AlmostThere
Vidalia wrote:

If anyone can answer a couple more questions I would be forever indebted!
1. Any site suggestions for camp sites along the way?
2. Do the planned camp sites sound like the best idea considering the entry and exit points?
3. What would be a good 2 night camp to day hike from?
4. Is there any requirement for reservations at the backpacker’s campground at Tuolumne?
5. Is it possible to hike to Half Dome from Little Yosemite Valley camp, reservations?
6. Do the indicated camps at Vogelsang, Merced and Little Yosemite Camps require any reservations?
7. With the permit I have could I possibly follow Rafferty Creek or is the Lyell Canyon past Evyelyn Lake just as good?

I promise to post a full trip report with photos when I get back!

Thanks, Vidalia
there are actually two options for bus to TM, look at for the guided tour bus to Tioga Pass - this is the hiker's bus in addition to the tour bus, and they will let you make reservations unlike YARTS. The hiker bus will stop at trailheads other than the main stops FYI.

You don't need reservation for any bper campground in the park - just a wilderness permit starting the next day, or you can stay on your last night coming out of your trip. Unlike others I have seen a ranger checking permits each time I have been there.

Yes, the High Sierra Camps require reservations - if you are eating there or staying in the tent cabins. If you are simply backpacking through you are required to stay within the designated sites for backpackers but it costs nothing and no reservations are needed. Look on the Yosemite regulations to see how far you need to be from the HSC to disperse camp again. I may be incorrect but I believe it's the standard two miles. In Little Yosemite you are required to stay within the designated area unless you are two miles up the trail. Outside these areas you have the run of the park for camping, tho rangers will ask you to re-use established sites in heavy use areas, like Rancheria Falls near Hetch Hetchy.

If you are doing Half Dome on a weekend (friday-sunday) or on a holiday, you will need the permit, but mention it to the ranger when you pick up your wilderness permit and they will add the HD permit, no reservation or fee necessary.

Re: Yosemite backpacking advice for this summer/fall?

Posted: Wed Apr 21, 2010 2:23 pm
by adam
this is only somewhat on topic, but since the backpacker campsites are being discussed: Is it legit to stay there if you arrive after the wilderness permit offices have closed, but you plan to get one and start hiking the next morning? I've done this a few times, and usually end up setting up a tent in the dark and leaving early without encountering a ranger, so I suppose that practically it's not an issue. But theoretically, it occurs to me that it could also function as a blanket excuse even if you weren't planning on getting a permit the next morning.

Re: Yosemite backpacking advice for this summer/fall?

Posted: Wed Apr 21, 2010 2:48 pm
by gary c.
On our trip last year we were checked twice before getting too far out fromTuolumne. We were checked again at the trail junction comming down from Washburn Lake by an armed forester (I think he even asked to see fishing licences, can't remember for sure) and then again in our camp at the Sunrise Creek junction. The girl that came into camp at Sunrise was very nice, she even got on the radio and checked with someone about the bus schedule for us. While setting up camp at the valley backpackers camp a young lady came by and asked if we had our permit but didn't ask to see it. She said that someone would be bye later and sure enough about an hour before dark a man came and asked to see the permit and make sure everything was square. Kind of a hassle but I'm glad they check for permits. Can't imagine what things would be like if they didn't.

Re: Yosemite backpacking advice for this summer/fall?

Posted: Thu Apr 22, 2010 5:42 am
by Vidalia
First, thanks to everyone that provided such great ideas and information! Because of that I think I am finally getting the "feel" of what to expect and how I will be approaching the hike. Although I have been backpacking all my life, Yosemite is a different beast than most places. Everyone's insight has helped a lot.

I noticed the High Sierra Camps are tentatively scheduled to close by Sept 6 so they will not be open when we hike. Are the privies still usable after they close? What about the bear boxes? We will be taking bear containers of course but I was wondering if anything was left after the camps closed?

Looks like the Half Dome permits can be picked up with the hiking permits so I will do that when we arrive.

Looking at the average temps and rainfall I'm thinking wind protection and warmth are the two main issues to deal with in mid-September. My rain shell is very light and is a good outer layer but I'm thinking this may be one of the few places cotton may be nice to have!

I noticed Tuolumne is still getting snow (14" last week!) and they are at about 120% of "normal" snow pack. Good thing for us hiking in the usually dry period of September.

Thanks for the head-up on making sure you have the corect permits, etc. I've been checked at various parks and always try to do the right thing. Sometimes it seems overkill but I always try and be nice about it.

Now it's time to start ramping up the exercise for the trip. 5 months will be gone before I know it. I have a trip scheduled for Mt. Rainier in July so that will be a good workup to Yosemite. We don't have much in the way of mountains around here but there is enought elevation in the North Georgia/North Carolina mountains that I can get in some work.

Thanks again and keep those ideas of "gotta do this' and "consider trying this" coming!


Re: Yosemite backpacking advice for this summer/fall?

Posted: Thu Apr 22, 2010 9:07 am
by The Other Tom
Bear boxes should be available. Not sure about the privies. They don't "take them down" like they do the tents, but the doors may be locked.

Re: Yosemite backpacking advice for this summer/fall?

Posted: Thu Apr 22, 2010 10:03 am
by AlmostThere
Most bear boxes I have seen are mounted in concrete. Not real portable. So they will be usable all year....

Colder weather/shoulder season temps are no place for cotton. Fleece, down jackets, waterproof gear, heavier base layers - I have taken both mid- and expedition weight base layers, a 300wt windstopper fleece, a down jacket, and a rain shell. Layering all these kept me warm at 9,500 feet on a clear night when the temps dropped into the 20s in November. I wore both mid and expedition weight tops to bed, with fleece pants and two pair of thick wool socks, inside the 20F down quilt I had. Was comfortable all night while the lake and any mud in the trail froze.... Cotton will get wet and stay wet, synthetics are good, wool is excellent, and down is tops. Next winter I plan to have down booties and mittens, and down beanie - the balaclava is nice but not enough for a cold sleeper.

Re: Yosemite backpacking advice for this summer/fall?

Posted: Thu Apr 22, 2010 10:14 am
by oldranger
I generally agree with Almost There and I personally never take anything cotton except my handkerchief. However if you are hiking down to Yosemite Valley your last day and you like the cooling effects of wet cotton, and don't mind the extra weight then by all means carry the extra shirt but,imho, carry your full complement of synthetic clothing.


Re: Yosemite backpacking advice for this summer/fall?

Posted: Thu Apr 22, 2010 11:02 am
by Vidalia
Thanks for the feedback on cotton. I wasn't really saying I was thinking of choosing cotton as my means to stay dry or warm. I was thinking how nice a dry cotton tshirt feels and since the rain chance is pretty low and the humidity is usually low I might just consoder throwing in an old cotton tshirt to wear around camp. Thay are comfortable!

On the issue of choosing the right gear. The suggestion was made to carry a down jacket or vest. Wouldn't the same reason you suggest against cotton go for down also? Once down gets wet it dries even slower than cotton and the warmth value is zilch.

I started backpacking with frameless cotton canvas rucksacks with no hip belt, Korea era shelter halves and hand me down army boots. The best pair of hiking pants I ever had were a pair of Greek military 100% wool pants I found at an Army Navy surplus store in New Jersey. Came with a pair of suspenders and lasted almost 20 years before they finally wore out. Wish I could find another pair.

Beleive me, I have more damn technical clothing than I will ever use (so says my wife!). I will be appropriately outfitted with clothing that has all the requisite name labels on it.

Thanks again!


Re: Yosemite backpacking advice for this summer/fall?

Posted: Thu Apr 22, 2010 11:54 am
by gary c.
I like wearing cotton T's also and almost always carry one with me.