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Planning for Yosemite backpack

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Re: Planning for Yosemite backpack

Postby oldranger » Sun Sep 26, 2010 1:56 pm

Amigo

I completed Agnew to Yosemite Valley earlier in the month. Marksor is my chief advisor for all things yosemite and whatever route you choose will be good. Since you are coming from SF I would advise, as Mark advised me, to park in the Orchard parking near curry Village then take Yarts to Mammoth. If your timing is right you could drive from sf and catch 5 PM Yarts bus in one day. If you need to start early the next day you might see if you can reserve for the next day start and set up an after hours pickup of your permit at the Mammoth Visitor center for next day start. That would avoid having to wait for the ranger station to open, then catching shuttle to mammoth Mt. Inn, then catch shuttle down to Agnew. Personally I'd relax, spend two nights at mammoth, getting my permit the next day for following day start (which you can do with reservation for that following day). Then catch earliest shuttles to get to Agnew. This gives you two nights to acclimate which really helps when you are planning on hiking up to 10,000 feet the first hiking day and over 11,000 ft the next day.

This plan also reduces having to worry about getting out early enough to catch Yarts on your day out to retrieve your car in Mammoth. Oh yes my trip involved 5 nights between Agnew and TM, two nights at TM, Two nights at Vogelsang, and two nights at Merced Lake also did a layover at w. end of 1,000 Island lake. Like Markskor I'm into layover days for fishing. Layover at TM was used to shuttle car to Valley.

Maverick--TR will be coming when I get a chance and when there are few other TRs to read! :D

Mike
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Re: Planning for Yosemite backpack

Postby tim » Sun Sep 26, 2010 2:27 pm

Given the bus timings (Yosemite Valley to Mammoth arrives in Mammoth about 8.45pm) and the layout of Mammoth then you would most probably be better off taking the car to Mammoth, and getting the bus back at the end, even though its a longer drive. The Mammoth Ranger Station is at one end of town (just as you come in from Hwy 395) and then you need three shuttles in total to get to the Village (base of the mountain), then up to Mammoth Mountain Inn, then down to Agnew Meadows. As a result, getting around Mammoth is extremely time consuming by bus (they aren't scheduled to connect with one another and run every 20-30 mins) and may not even be possible that late in the evening, limiting your campsite options significantly (so you'll probably need to stay in a hotel when you arrive that late at night, then go back to the ranger station the next morning then go up to MMI and down to Agnew - almost certainly wasting most of the day and potentially taking stuff for a hotel stay that you're stuck with if you don't have a car).

On the other hand if you take the car to Mammoth (camping either there the first night, perhaps even in Agnew Meadows, or on the way, say up on Tioga Pass/TM), you can get the permit from the Ranger Station (personally I wouldn't risk a walk-in if you are coming a long way, and this would definitely require an extra day in Mammoth), park at Mammoth Mountain Inn (so you only need to get one bus down to Agnew) and then when you get the bus back from YV you get straight to your car and drive wherever for the night. There should be no problem in getting down to the Valley for a 5pm bus the last afternoon (though allow plenty of time for the Valley shuttle, especially on a weekend). You'd also have chance to potentially drop off a food cache at TM on the way over Tioga Pass and reduce your load (there was some discussion about options for this in a previous thread). BTW I'm not sure if they will allow a night box if you are going into Yosemite - you may have to do it while the Mammoth Ranger Station is open (before 5pm).
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Re: Planning for Yosemite backpack

Postby markskor » Sun Sep 26, 2010 2:58 pm

If I had 9 days...(maybe 10 airport to airport), and a few $, and I wanted to not rush through this most spectacular Sierra section:
- Fly into Sacramento instead of SF - from SAC airport to Valley - 4 1/2 hours - half hour longer from SF and Bay area traffic.
- Having a permit in hand, reserved might just save a day waiting anywhere but...
- As Mike obviously listened to my good advise previously (smart man), leave your parked rental car in orchard lot at Curry (safe) and when in valley use free shuttle to Village. Grab your reserved permit just before grabbing the 5:00 bus, boards just outside wilderness office and head to Tuolumne - BP camp by 7:00 PM -acclimatization - or on to Mammoth and a cheap hotel. It will probably be too late to catch the Postpile shuttle so you have to stay somewhere that night. (1)
- Grab late morning TM -Mammoth bus (or free shuttle if staying Mammoth) to Mammoth Ski lot where you find the $ shuttle down to the Postpile and trailhead...camp in after a few - 4 miles. The hardest part is just setting up the car logistics...lots of buses and transfers this day; as Tim mentioned above - allow for it. (2)
- Camp 1000 Island lake - a can't miss sunrise/sunset. (3)
- camp high tarn below (TM side) Donahue, or a mile lower at Twin Bridges. (4)
- overnight Tuolumne Meadows BP. (5)
- free shuttle bus to Tenaya trailhead and either Sunrise Lakes (6) or Clouds Rest (6)
- Stay LYV (see the zoo - strut), after HD. (7)
- Down the Mist, beer and pizza, and BP camp. (8)
- add one day free for anything serendipitous (9)
- back to airport
Mountainman who swims with trout
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Re: Planning for Yosemite backpack

Postby amigo » Sun Sep 26, 2010 4:09 pm

I really appreciate all the good advice from you guys. We're tentatively thinking of heading there late August. Now I'll have several months of dreaming :) Can't wait! Thanks a million!
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Re: Planning for Yosemite backpack

Postby tim » Sun Sep 26, 2010 5:58 pm

I'm a bit puzzled by Markskor's proposal that you pick up the Agnew to YV permit (ie an Inyo NF permit) in Yosemite. Is that possible? Do they fax it over or something? That would be very useful and would save a lot of time in Mammoth.
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Re: Planning for Yosemite backpack

Postby oldranger » Sun Sep 26, 2010 10:45 pm

To the best of my knowledge if you start outside of the park you need to get your permit from the agency that is responsible for the trailhead. This means Inyo National forest. Since I picked my permit up the day I left Oregon I called the Inyo National Forest Wilderness permit office and notified them I would be late to pick up my permit and they agreed to hold it til the close of business. Then I picked it up at the Mono Lake visitor center rather than Mammoth (if coming from the s. you can pick it up in Bishop, too.) Then took our time and had a steak at Whoa Nelli deli before heading to Mammoth. As my wife dropped me off the 5 pm shuttle to Agnew arrived and left but the 5:30 shuttle worked fine. From the shuttle stop it was less than 3 miles (mostly down hill) to where the river trail splits and heads up to Shadow. I camped there and completed a 550 mile day! The forest service folks on the Inyo seem to be really willing to make it as easy as possible to pick up your permit.

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Re: Planning for Yosemite backpack

Postby amigo » Tue Sep 28, 2010 1:56 pm

If we take a shuttle to Tuolumne Meadows or bus to Mammoth Lakes and hike back to Yosemite Village over multiple days, how close to Happy Isles can we leave the car?
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Re: Planning for Yosemite backpack

Postby John Dittli » Tue Sep 28, 2010 2:04 pm

About a mile
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Re: Planning for Yosemite backpack

Postby amigo » Tue Oct 19, 2010 8:40 am

How cold does it normally get late August/early September in Thousand Island Lake and high Yosemite areas? I'm trying to look for a warmer sleeping bag than I have now but not sure what rating I should target.

Is 1000 Island Lake much higher elevation than Mammoth Lakes?

Thanks.
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Re: Planning for Yosemite backpack

Postby AlmostThere » Tue Oct 19, 2010 8:49 am

I'd go with an accurately rated (so many are not) 20 degree bag/quilt and clothing layers to go lower if necessary. I've never had a reason to regret that... and a number of occasions where I was happy I did. We had snow the first week of August on that route, in 2009.

Thousand Island is higher. As I recall, Island Pass is between 9-10,000 feet, so the lake is a bit lower than that.
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Re: Planning for Yosemite backpack

Postby AlmostThere » Tue Oct 19, 2010 9:06 am

amigo wrote:
So, even if we climb Half Dome on a weekend from the "back side" (not starting at Happy Isles) would still require a separate permit?

We'd be looking to camp as close to Half Dome as possible to get an early start and avoid crowds. Where's the closest we'd be allowed to camp? Can you camp right at its base? Hopefully one can camp farther north from LYV.



I didn't see an answer to these... but yes, you need a stamp on your wilderness permit for Half Dome to climb it on a weekend (fri-sun) or holiday. You need to tell the ranger when you pick up the permit and they will add the stamp for the day you intend to climb it. That's if they don't change the rules next year...

You can camp close up there on the ridge before you start climbing the dome, I believe - but you will have to haul all your water. Your options for camps with water source would be the junction of Clouds Rest spur/JMT near a creek, or Little Yosemite Valley. There is a spring on the trail heading up to Half Dome as well. I could camp near there with my hammock. Not sure about flat spots for tents as I had not paid attention to that as we were hiking at night.... You need to be at minimum two miles from Little Yosemite Valley to camp. My map doesn't show the spring, but I strongly suspect it's within that limit... would not stop you from filtering up extra water and going further, however.

You will not avoid people by going up early, but you may be able to avoid standing in a long, long line by going during a permit period. Last time I was there, little over a year ago, there were people on the cables before dawn when we went. There were 30+ people sitting around drinking, in sleeping bags, on top. It seems to have shifted with the permit for weekends - the best time to go now might just be the weekend!
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Re: Planning for Yosemite backpack

Postby amigo » Tue Oct 19, 2010 9:13 am

Thanks re sleeping bag rating. Guess the issue is how to know the true rating.

So, are you saying that there'd likely be less people climbing Half Dome during a weekend/holiday due to limit on number of permits than mid-week? Perhaps it would be quieter if we climbed in the evening?
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