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Planning for Yosemite backpack

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Re: Planning for Yosemite backpack

Postby AlmostThere » Tue Oct 19, 2010 9:29 am

Bags with a rep for accurate rating tend to be pricey, but worth the price if you are going out a lot - I would be heading straight for western mountaineering, montbell, or a marmot. WM bags are conservatively rated, or so anyone I've spoken to who owns one will say.... They are really, really nice bags.

It would be quieter in terms of traffic on the trail. I've noticed people tend to stay up there a while once they are up there. And the amount of people varies a lot generally - some folks say they went up and saw a handful of others, others will show up and wait in line for two hours. But chatter on one of the yosemite specific forums seems to indicate that the permitting has indeed reduced the traffic on the dome, and there's been more folks going during the week.



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Re: Planning for Yosemite backpack

Postby hebby » Wed Oct 20, 2010 1:28 pm

I just got back from hiking from Red's Meadow to YV. We started on Sept. 23 and ended a day early on the 29th. I brought a 0 degree bag because it was fall and you never know what can happen. It was waaayyy to warm. But it was during that record heat wave and we had incredible weather the whole time. As we were leaving YV on Sunday Oct. 4th it was snowing in the high country so we got lucky. You should be fine in a 20 degree bag that time of year. There was hardly anyone around, we got to Half Dome for Sunrise which is a must do when you go. I reserved our permits through the INYO National Forest Ranger Station and picked them up at the Mammoth Lakes Station before we left you can contact them @

http://www.fs.usda.gov/wps/portal/fsint ... e/contact/

Inyo National Forest
351 Pacu Lane
Suite 200
Bishop, CA 93514
760-873-2400

Sunrrise at Vogelsang
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Beautiful Ferns and Aspens the trail went right through this grove it was incredible.
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Sunset behind Half Dome, our last night in the backcountry.
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Sunrise at Half Dome looking at Cloudsrest
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At the Diving Board
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Coming Down the Cables
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Re: Planning for Yosemite backpack

Postby AlmostThere » Wed Oct 20, 2010 4:52 pm

Great photos!

One nitpick - that ain't the Diving Board. It's called the Visor. The Diving Board is not on Half Dome but next to it, on the southern shoulder.
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Re: Planning for Yosemite backpack

Postby adam » Wed Oct 20, 2010 11:43 pm

regarding the original trip proposal: is it really important to you do climb half dome? the views are better from clouds rest, and half dome is a bit -- or a lot-- of a zoo. it will take what has been a wilderness trip, albiet a well-travelled wilderness, and turn it into an extension of the yosemite valley craziness. If it were me, I would spend the extra time somewhere in the many beautiful high-country areas you'll be passing through-- basically everywhere on your itenerary is full of wonderful side trips-- and save yourself the lines, crowds, and yahoos. I climbed half dome as a kid 20+ years ago, and have never had any desire to go back. Really stop to think if you want to spend one of the days of your trip hanging out with a few hundred other folks.

All that being said, the cables are pretty interesting, especially if you're not used to climbing mountains.
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Re: Planning for Yosemite backpack

Postby AlmostThere » Thu Oct 21, 2010 7:19 am

I have to say I don't get the Half Dome thing either... people insist it is a MUST DO and pester and bother me about scheduling it for the hiking group I belong to. What it is - a big rock with a sheer face and less impressive views than Clouds Rest, Dana, or any number of other high places. Some of the best views are OF the dome, which you don't get FROM it.

But every time I mention that people get upset with me. It's just my opinion. I'm not going to talk anyone out of going, just don't think it's worth the effort going. "But you've already been there." Well, one and a half times - I refused to go up the cables when there was a solid line of tourists on it. The knotheads in flipflops and Vans and bikinis are not who I want to be on top of a rock with.... I certainly don't want to be on the cables when they are weaving and yanking them around and generally being fools.

I would go elsewhere with my time, too - plenty of high spots to find. There's a whole mountain range connected to the rock, after all.
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Re: Planning for Yosemite backpack

Postby hebby » Thu Oct 21, 2010 11:39 am

I agree, especially in the summer. However in late Sept. at sunrise was pretty cool, and if you have never done it, you probably should since you are so close. There were only about 10 people up there. I would have preferred CR but we got off the JMT at Ireland creek and went up to Vogelsang lake and camped there, not at the HSC but at the lake which was soooo much better than the HSC. Then over Vogelsang Pass and down to Merced Lake. Then to just above LYV. I walked down to LYV without my pack to see what it was all about and got a bunch of strange looks from a lot of people wondering where this dirty guy was coming from with no pack at dusk. Pretty funny, I felt like I walked into a Walmart and had to bee line it back to our camp. I was not ready to deal with that many people after camping without anyone around for a while. The only time I saw anyone camping sort of close to us was at TI Lake and the Ireland Creek Junction. My mistake on the Visor/diving board. Have a great trip!
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Re: Planning for Yosemite backpack

Postby Wandering Daisy » Thu Oct 21, 2010 12:17 pm

I personally would do BOTH Clouds Rest and Half Dome. Simply go over the top of Clouds Rest and come down the trail to the junction with the John Muir Trail and camp here. EARLY next AM (last day of trip) do Clouds Rest BEFORE the crowds and then walk out. Do not miss the Mist Trail - much better than the John Muir Trail. Plan the last day mid-week or at some time when you do not need a special permit. Avoid Little Yosemite Valley at all costs!

I have climbed Half Dome many times - with cables up, without cables up and on a route next to the cabels. I love it! I feel like a kid at a playground. It is very true that it can be a bit unsafe if you are in the massive crowds going up or down. Just avoid the crowds. The thrill of Half Dome IS the cables. The view is nice too but the cables are a classic. I think it is a splendid finish to a 10-day trip.

It seems that people either LOVE the Half Dome route or HATE it. I do not know how you will feel about it - don't know until you try.
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Re: Planning for Yosemite backpack

Postby amigo » Thu Oct 21, 2010 5:34 pm

Thanks for all the replies. Re Half Dome...

I understand why many people would want nothing to do with HD and why it would be better to hike up something like Clouds Rest, for example. Well, we hope to hike up both :) We plan on doing some more "touristy" stuff and some less (such as in Ansel Adams Wilderness and hopefully in the Cathedral Peaks area). As well, we hope to head up Half Dome either very early morning or just before sunset, when I suppose there are fewer people. That's ok with us. As with many people, we just feel we want to do it.....at least once.

In the end, HD will be a half-day ordeal, I think. No big deal. We also intend on hiking down towards Yosemite Valley from HD ... another super-highway, right? Oh, well.

Last year, we hiked down South Kaibab and up Bright Angel trails in Grand Canyon, first time there. Even though there was no shortage of hikers, some in running shoes just out to do a small hike, I'm glad I did it. It was amazing.

As well, on the same trip, we hiked up Angel's Landing in Zion NP in Utah, another popular place. We're really glad we did it even though there also was no shortage of people there.

So, we accept the fact that we will be visiting some places with more people than others, but hey, such is life. A bit of touristy mixed in with some wilder places never killed anyone. Variety is the spice of life, I always say. Besides, I'm hoping this trip will be the first of many to the Sierra Nevada. Scouting trip, you might say. The whole region sounds nothing short of spectacular.

Again, thanks for all the comments.
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