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Yosemite backpacking advice for this summer/fall?

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Re: Yosemite backpacking advice for this summer/fall?

Postby Vidalia » Thu Apr 22, 2010 5:42 am

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!

Vidalia



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Re: Yosemite backpacking advice for this summer/fall?

Postby The Other Tom » Thu Apr 22, 2010 9:07 am

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.
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Re: Yosemite backpacking advice for this summer/fall?

Postby AlmostThere » Thu Apr 22, 2010 10:03 am

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.
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Re: Yosemite backpacking advice for this summer/fall?

Postby oldranger » Thu Apr 22, 2010 10:14 am

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.

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Re: Yosemite backpacking advice for this summer/fall?

Postby Vidalia » Thu Apr 22, 2010 11:02 am

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!

Vidalia
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Re: Yosemite backpacking advice for this summer/fall?

Postby gary c. » Thu Apr 22, 2010 11:54 am

I like wearing cotton T's also and almost always carry one with me.
"On this proud and beautiful mountain we have lived hours of fraternal, warm and exalting nobility. Here for a few days we have ceased to be slaves and have really been men. It is hard to return to servitude."
-- Lionel Terray
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Re: Yosemite backpacking advice for this summer/fall?

Postby rlown » Thu Apr 22, 2010 2:33 pm

Vidalia wrote: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?



In my experience, the privies have been open, at least in Glen Aulin (even had a solar charged light in it, so when you opened the door, a light would come on for a reasonable amount of time.)

Vogelsang has always had problems with their toilets, and in '08, we didn't try them.

Here's a pic of Vogelsang HSC below Fletcher. Note how dry it was in '06. Same in '08.

HPIM0338.jpg
Vogelsang '06


The bear boxes are all there, but... If you're anywhere near Vogelsang, that is not the place to camp. You'll probably end up at Ireland the first night (smallish fish.) If you make it to Evelyn, There's a big tree on the NE shore that is perfect to camp behind. Blocks the wind, and the fishing right off that bench is excellent. I've camped there about 9 times. Most go to the "delta" area, hence, i don't.

As I've always gone to that area in mid/late Sept, It has always been warm days with the occasional cold front. The rule of the day was cotton T's and shorts for hiking, but then carrying a full set of fleece and rain gear. It can and does drop into the teens in mid Sept, and lots of wind.

Given you're ticket is for Lyell, you won't run into the pack trains until you hit Vogelsang. After the HSC's close, there are daily mule trains, generally 3 at a time to go up and carry out stuff. You probably wont have a problem with that. As I like Rafferty that time of year to get to Evelyn, I find myself either following the droppings all the way up or helping corral a loose Mule who didn't want to cross the bridge.

Anyway, It'll be an epic adventure.
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Re: Yosemite backpacking advice for this summer/fall?

Postby Wandering Daisy » Mon Apr 26, 2010 2:49 pm

I am not sure why you want to camp at one of the High Sierra Camps if they are closed. In fact I am not sure why anyone would camp there unless you have booked a good dinner! There are so many beautiful places to camp that are not so over-run with people. You are required to have a bear cannister anyway, so the use of the bear boxes are really not needed. I find the Sierra High Camps really dusty, dirty and run down by Fall.
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Re: Yosemite backpacking advice for this summer/fall?

Postby The Other Tom » Mon Apr 26, 2010 5:01 pm

Wandering Daisy wrote:You are required to have a bear cannister anyway, so the use of the bear boxes are really not needed.

Are you sure you are required to have a bear cannister if you are staying in an area where there are bear boxes ? Seems to me you wouldn't need one if bear boxes are available.
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Re: Yosemite backpacking advice for this summer/fall?

Postby Wandering Daisy » Mon Apr 26, 2010 8:57 pm

That is what I was told the last time I got a permit. This was not the case several years ago. Evidently, they are worried about what you would do if the bear boxes filled up. But you need to check on this. Sometimes individuals who give out permits are not technically correct on what they tell or require of you.
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Re: Yosemite backpacking advice for this summer/fall?

Postby vic0825 » Tue Apr 27, 2010 6:53 pm

I will be going on my 1st overnight backpacking trip. I would like to stay at the high sierra camps (the tent cabins are full -- so I plan to bring my own tent and gear). Is anyone familiar with the high sierra camps. Is there a place we can camp there? I am a bit afraid to camp on my own where there are absolutely no one else, would like to have a few others around. If we can camp (using our own tent) at the high sierra camps, is it first-come first-serve. Does it fill up quickly? Would love to go to Volsang. Any advice would be great? Thanks
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Re: Yosemite backpacking advice for this summer/fall?

Postby markskor » Tue Apr 27, 2010 7:29 pm

Vic,
Congratulations on your first overnight Yosemite trip...the lakes around Voglesang are worth visiting but I have to question why you would want to stay immediately at the HSC. You can do so much better.

Here is the thing about the HSC's: great food served family style, hot showers at $5, crowded but adequate canvas tent cabins, a great crew of willing staff, all serviced daily by mules and with the mule trains comes...(wait for it)...(no, not the trail biscuits, of which there are many)...
Horse flies - (the ones that bite!)...Yowza!

There are better places - small but spectacular tarns close by...within 1/2 mile...Fletcher Lake, the Townsleys, Boothe just below...all have great camping sites where many others will also probably be camping too...close enough but not on top of you...plenty of room but safe...the fraternity of the "first night out" backpacking community. You can always walk easily to the HSC if you can bag a dinner reservation.

While backpacking Yosemite is a grand adventure, you are still on the main trail...just scratching the surface...many you encounter will also have your same itinerary - Voglesang area - first night. If you want solitude, it definitely can be found close by, but not on the main artery leading from Tuolumne to the Valley.

If I were you, I would head up Rafferty to the pass just before Voglesang...and at the sign (10,014 ft) just head up south-east (off trail - look at your TOPO) and stay around Fletcher...little closer than the HSC and where you really want to be.
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