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SE Yosemite Advice?

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SE Yosemite Advice?

Postby BSquared » Fri Feb 04, 2011 6:52 pm

So, we've got our wilderness permits for a week-long trip that's tentatively planned for Tuolumne -> Vogelsang Lake -> near Lyell Fork, Merced -> Blue Lake in Bench Canyon -> down to the Valley via Washburn and Merced Lakes. What have the Old Yosemite Hands to suggest about such a trip? Tips? Places we have to camp/shouldn't camp? General advice? Is a week long enough (well, of course not, but can a bunch of old farts do it in a week without killing ourselves)? One consideration is that we'll likely have at least a couple of people who have done precious little cross-country travel; I'm guessing that Blue-Lake Pass (or Foerster Pass) won't tax us too much, but it is a question. I'm also just a little concerned about all our old knees vs. all that downhill during the last three days from the High Trail to the Valley.

Wandering Daisy already provided some good advice about a use trail that seems to run up from the High Trail into the basin below BLP; thanks, Daisy! And as zero-elevation denizens we've decided to spend a couple of days camping at Tuolumne beforehand to do a little acclimation. What else? Mike? Russ? Mark? Chime in here! Maybe we can meet up, unlike two years ago, when never made it to Thousand-Island Lake to meet Mark... :\
—B²



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Re: SE Yosemite Advice?

Postby maverick » Fri Feb 04, 2011 7:52 pm

Hi B2

I don't get the last part of your intended trip.
You mention Lyell Fork, then Blue Canyon, and then plan to exit via the Merced Corridor
to YV.
Are you planning to go up the Lyell Fork, then over to Foerster Creek, and up and over
BLP? How are you planing to get back to the trail to get to YL?
Are planning to go over to Isberg Pass, and shoot down the trail from there?
Is this a whole week Mon thru Sunday? I would really try to push starting on Sat
the week before, and finish Sun, especially if you do not want to rush, plus the
newbies will appreciate it much more, as will your knees.
The Lyell Fork/BLP area is rugged, but doable with some experienced people in the
group to help with some route finding.
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Re: SE Yosemite Advice?

Postby markskor » Fri Feb 04, 2011 8:20 pm

B² -

Great trip plan and just so happens I am considering a similar route this season too… (God help Yosemite if we ever share a backcountry evening).

FWIW, I feel that once again a bit ambitious for a week with acclimation – better done in 10 - 12 days, but as always, HYOH.

Did similar route a few years back and (talking as a fisherman here, so bear with me), did the following/campsites.
Day 1 - Tuolumne to Fletcher (the freeway)…actually spent 2 nights in the vicinity to visit other nearby lakes.
Day 3 – Over Vogelsang Pass to Bernice… (‘Nuff said)…another 2 nights here…worth it if you carry a rod.
Day 5 – Took the upper trail above Washburn and 1500 feet above/ almost to the end of Washburn, there is a cool waterfall/overlook…camped there. (– see Topo).
Day 6 – Down and then a bit of slab/easy meadow X-country up to Harriet Lakes – also see Topo
Day 8 – Up the slabs and over the talus ridge (obvious saddle) to Blue Lake/ Bench Canyon – wild area, Mike should chime in here as he has fresh pictures/route suggestions from doing same route over the ridge 2 years ago. BTW, when I applied for the permit for this trip, when I told the Wilderness Ranger in Tuolumne I was going to Bench Canyon, she had no idea where it was…read, seldom visited.
Day 9 – Back X-country to pick up Isberg Pass/triple fork trail down to Washburn
Day 11 – Moraine Dome Waterslide (detest LYV)
Day 12 - Valley...a great trip!

I might just be going this way again come late July … (at least as far as Harriet’s)…slight detour here.
When do you plan going?
Mark
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Re: SE Yosemite Advice?

Postby Wandering Daisy » Fri Feb 04, 2011 8:42 pm

Forester Pass is not hard if you have done lots of off-trail travel. The people in your group who have done mostly trail travel will find it challenging. Not that they cannot do it, but plan on slow going. The pass is short but has some steep talus. Route finding can be tricky.

The upper Lyell Fork is stark but spectacular. It is best done as a day-hike camped from a site near the trail. Another nice day-hike would be Hutchins Creek lakes. I personally like the Hutchins Creek lakes better than those up the Lyell Fork. But to get to either of the upper basins, you have to go up some pretty steep terrain with lots of steep slab walking. Carrying full packs up here would be a chore. Either upper basin is worth a planned layover in order to day-hike to these upper lakes.

I assume you will return back over Forester Pass and via the Tripple Peak Fork trail. Instead of going down Forester Creek you can head to Harriet Lake and then traverse off-trail the bench northwest of Isberg Peak and past several small lakes (that have fish). You intersect the trail at the junction north of Lake 10,005. This route is pristine and not terribly difficult. Tripple Peak Trail is really nice - the creek runs over rock slabs in mini-canyons down joint systems. There is nice camping near the trail junction with the Red Peak Pass trail. From here you have another alternative of going over Red PEak Pass and down Illiouwette Creek. This would have less crowds, but I like the scenery via Merced Lake better. Rather than camp at Merced Lake, continue a few miles more and camp where the trail crosses east of Bunnell Cascade. This makes for a reasonable hike out and you avoid LYV and Merced Lake- both way overcrowed. There is also good camping in Echo Valley. Do not take the high trail from Echo Valley to Sunrise Creek - it has lots of elevation gain, is hot and dry, and scenery is not that great.
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Re: SE Yosemite Advice?

Postby BSquared » Sun Feb 06, 2011 3:41 pm

maverick wrote:I don't get the last part of your intended trip.

Sorry, it was a little ambiguous. The only cross-country we'll be doing is up and over BLP, and then we'll basically retrace our steps (but follow Daisy's excellent suggestion of a shortcut) back to the High Trail, and then down to the Merced via the Triple Peak Fork Trail.

Daisy: thanks for yet more excellent advice! I wish we had time to explore the Lyell Fork (enjoyed your trip report), but I just put that in my plan description because we'll probably camp near there (Doyle P. Donahue's "Waterfall Camp").

Markskor: Let's compare itineraries, maybe we can watch you (and Russ?) catch some fish and swap some yarns. Also: "Moraine Dome Waterslide?" Tell me more about this—sounds like an interesting route variation, although I actually like Little Yosemite Valley. Of course it all depends on how crowded it is...

You're not the only one to suggest that a week is too short, so we're going to consider adding at least one and possibly two more days to the itinerary; good idea. This isn't a problem with the wilderness-permit people, is it?
—B²
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Re: SE Yosemite Advice?

Postby markskor » Sun Feb 06, 2011 4:17 pm

B­² -
Much better you add that extra day (or three) to this upcoming Yosemite trip - unless you really enjoy the death march syndrome. Some do, just never been my cup of Sierra Tea.

Quite possibly we will cross paths as intend similar routes, or we will just trail each other by a day or so...too early to tell, but will stay in touch/ touch bases before.

"Moraine Dome Waterslide?" - Same trail down from Merced Lake, 2 level miles before LYV, the trail passes a 200 yard waterslide into a large swimming pool (Cannot miss it - just past Moraine Dome up on the right). Good sites for 5 or six parties on the Merced River - last legal "wilderness" camping before immersing yourself in the zoo of LYV, (and all the Half Domers), and of course, the eventual Valley hoards.

Sometimes it is quite enjoyable to stay in LYV to "strut your trip"/ visit with the masses, often though, as the LYV camp is off-river (and IMO a bit of a pit with a 2-story crapper), I often choose not to deal with it.
HYOH
Mark
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Re: SE Yosemite Advice?

Postby BSquared » Sun Feb 06, 2011 6:04 pm

markskor wrote:"Moraine Dome Waterslide?" - Same trail down from Merced Lake, 2 level miles before LYV, the trail passes a 200 yard waterslide into a large swimming pool (Cannot miss it - just past Moraine Dome up on the right). Good sites for 5 or six parties on the Merced River - last legal "wilderness" camping before immersing yourself in the zoo of LYV, (and all the Half Domers), and of course, the eventual Valley hoards.

Ah, hadn't tumbled to the fact that [of course] camping would be restricted as we neared the LYV official campsite. Thanks for that! I like LYV to look at and to walk through, but I agree with you that there are far better places to camp.

Ummm... "HYOH?"
—B²
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Re: SE Yosemite Advice?

Postby rlown » Mon Feb 07, 2011 7:39 pm

HYOH - "Hike your own hike"
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Re: SE Yosemite Advice?

Postby oldranger » Mon Feb 07, 2011 9:12 pm

Bill,

I think your trip is a little ambitious for the time allotted. I would pay attention to mark's advice. The trip over Blue Lakes pass is not difficult but requires care. The more people in your group the more care. There may be a couple of ways to reduce your milage but still get to Blue Lakes. The first I am not sure but it may be possible to head directly toward Blue Lake Pass from the Lyle Fork. The saddle should be obvious on your topo. If someone knows this won't go please set me straight. After returning from Blue Lakes just head down Harriet Creek past the High Trail. The first 1/4 mile or so past the trail is a little messy (and buggy) with vegetation but soon opens up to wonderful slabs all the way down to the Triple Peak Fork. The trail down canyon will be within a couple hundred yards on the west side of the TPF. This will save about 4 miles of walking but will also cause you to miss the flowers around Harriet.

Mike
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Re: SE Yosemite Advice?

Postby BSquared » Tue Feb 08, 2011 8:07 am

oldranger wrote:After returning from Blue Lakes just head down Harriet Creek past the High Trail. The first 1/4 mile or so past the trail is a little messy (and buggy) with vegetation but soon opens up to wonderful slabs all the way down to the Triple Peak Fork. The trail down canyon will be within a couple hundred yards on the west side of the TPF. This will save about 4 miles of walking but will also cause you to miss the flowers around Harriet.

Mike

Cool idea. I'm looking at the topo, and I think what you're calling "Harriet Creek" is called "Foerster Creek" on the map; sound right? And it looks like the slabs you're talking about must be just to the north of the creek as it flows down into TPF canyon. Yes?
—B²
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Re: SE Yosemite Advice?

Postby oldranger » Tue Feb 08, 2011 8:50 am

yes yes

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Re: SE Yosemite Advice?

Postby BSquared » Tue Feb 08, 2011 9:32 am

Thanks for being so agreeable! :p
—B²
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