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Minarets to Yosemite- Late August

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Minarets to Yosemite- Late August

Postby mikeymike » Sun Jun 12, 2011 3:11 pm

Hey All,

I'm a new member of this forum- so thanks in advance for all the help. I'll start with the basic info:

Experience: Level 2/3 (My hiking partner lacks experience hiking at high altitudes; we both have experience navigating and lugging heavy packs over long distances)
Terrain: Class 2
Main Interest: Big mountain scenery
Time length: 4-5 days, 3-4 nights
Mileage: 10-15/day
Preferred Course: 1-way (if not- loop trip)
Preferred Area: Minarets + Yosemite (if feasible)

My buddy and I are looking to to start a trek the sierras starting Aug 24th. Everyone I know (and from what I've read) says that the Minarets are a must; however, my friend (originally from Texas), has never been to Yosemite, and he'd like to take at least a brief visit while he's in the area. So I figured we'd drive from San Jose to Yosemite Valley Aug 23- spend a day with the heaping masses in the Valley, then take YARTS to Mammoth in the evening, and then start from either Devil's Postpile/Agnews Meadows back up to Tuolumne Meadows/Yosemite Valley. Is this a good idea/feasible in the amount of time we have? Or should we just stick with a loop-hike through the Minarets? I'd like to pack in a lot in the limited time we have. However, neither of us have backpacked through the Sierras, and even though we're confident in our abilities- we also know that the mountains can humble any man. Any and all advice is more than welcome!



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Re: Minarets to Yosemite- Late August

Postby The Other Tom » Sun Jun 12, 2011 3:41 pm

Welcome to HST !
My son and I did that trip in reverse (TM to Agnew meadows) a few years ago. We started in TM around 9AM and finished at Agnew around noon 4 days later. Lots of people hike that route in less time, but we went slow and enjoyed the scenery.
If your desire is big mountain scenery, then personally I would do a loop out of Agnew or Red's Meadow. You don't get much big mountain scenery after you pass Lyle glacier going toward TM, but Lyle and its glacier are spectacular. There are several trip recommendations for a loop trip in this area. You can search this forum, and I'm sure others will respond with more info.
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Re: Minarets to Yosemite- Late August

Postby maverick » Sun Jun 12, 2011 4:25 pm

Welcome aboard Mike!
Going from DPP or AM to YV in 4 nights would make for a death march requiring
very early starts, with late day finishes, and unless this is you style of backpacking it
will make for a very undesirable way to experience some of the best places in the Sierra
Nevada.
Now AM to TM is doable in 4 nights, though personally staying in the Minarets would be
your best bet since there are just so many things to do in the Minarets, and even after a
week of exploring you still will not have been able to see everything.
There are several beautiful lakes that will dazzle you like Ashley Lake, Lake Ediza, 1000
Is Lake, Minaret Lake, Garnet Lake, and then the lakes that are off trail like Cecile
Lake, Iceberg Lake, Ritter Lakes, Nydiver Lakes, peaks to climb like Banner Peak from
Catherine Lake, just to name a few places, and great things one could do.
Start from DPP finishing at AM via the beautiful High Trail(wild flowers galore and great
big mountain scenery), and then take the shuttle back to Mammoth.
There are numerous trip reports that you can read here on HST by using the search
feature and also on the web.
If after you have looked at the map, finding some lakes or places of interest, and have
any questions please ask, and our members will be happy to answer you questions, and
hopefullybe able to aid in your planning so you'll have a wonderful and safe trip.
HST= Wilderness Adventurer who knows no bounds, except for their own imagination.

Have a safer backcountry experience by using the HST ReConn Form 2.0, named after Larry Conn, a HST member: http://reconn.org
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Re: Minarets to Yosemite- Late August

Postby markskor » Sun Jun 12, 2011 4:36 pm

Hi MikeyMike - welcome!

Highly recommend your first choice - Mammoth to Yosemite (just as far as Tuolumne though)...amazing trip! 4 or 5 days is perfect timing too.
There are enough variations/ lake possibilities/trails up to 1000 Island to keep you happy for as long as you have days. Rush Creek or perhaps Marie lakes offer great fishing too - Waugh is a bog - avoid.
At Donahue Pass, maybe a side day trip (sans packs) up to see the Glacier before it is gone...Easy next day from there home, following the lazy Lyell, all the way to Tuolumne.
Couple of thoughts though:
At Devils Postpile/ Reds Meadow, grab the free shuttle to Agnew Meadows and start from there instead of Reds...saves 5 miles of dust.
And most importantly, here we always refer to the Sierra, never Sierras...just wrong.
Mountainman who swims with trout
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Re: Minarets to Yosemite- Late August

Postby oldranger » Sun Jun 12, 2011 5:28 pm

Mike

I did Agnew to Y Valley last summer at the same time of the year last year. (posted tr last winter) 1st day was hour and a half in the evening to SJ River, then 1 full day hike, followed by 1/3 day hike, lay over day, full day, then 1/2 day to TM, layover day, full day to Vogelsang, layover, full day to Merced Lake, Lay over, then full day out to valley.

I agree with both mark and maverick either trip they propose will be great but Agnew to Valley in the time allotted doesn't give much time but to glance at the scenery. I think I could do it in 6 days if I cut out TM but I would be one tired old fart.

MIke
Mike

Who can't do everything he used to and what he can do takes a hell of a lot longer!
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Re: Minarets to Yosemite- Late August

Postby Wandering Daisy » Sun Jun 12, 2011 5:53 pm

You can do the original plan and utilize the Tuolumne shuttle bus to shorten the miles. If you take the shuttle from Tuolumne Meadows to Tenaya Lake or Olmstead Point it is a long but OK day to Yosemite Valley. However if you spend time in Yosemite Valley, do the day-hike up to Nevada Falls and you will see the best of the route from Tuolumne to the valley anyway. Another option, IF you are really good at off-trail travel do part of the Sierra High Route: (1) Agnew Meadow-- trail to Ediza Lake, then off-trail to Nydiver Lake, (2) --High Route to Twin Island Lakes , (3) High Route to Blue Lake , (4) trail to Merced Lake (5) trails out to Happy Isles. There is very tricky route finding on this part of the Sierra High Route, so only you can judge if this is appropriate for you. The passes are class 2 and you said you can do class 2. But I agree with others, once you get into the heart of the Minarets, you will want to spend more time there.
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Re: Minarets to Yosemite- Late August

Postby Mike McGuire » Sun Jun 12, 2011 9:53 pm

If you wanted to make it a real jaw dropping first experience of Yosemite for your friend, your might consider driving to Mammoth instead of the valley. YARTS is a once a day proposition, the leg from the valley to Mammoth leaving at 5 pm and arriving at nearly 9. The main downside is the extra driving and perhaps a second night in Mammoth, but the drive is not without its rewards.

Mike
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Re: Minarets to Yosemite- Late August

Postby Wandering Daisy » Mon Jun 13, 2011 6:54 am

Good point about the time needed for YARTS. I suggest you sit down and do a detailed logistics plan. First, where are you going to stay in Mammoth? You will be too late to catch the last bus down to the Postpile. Where do you have to be to catch the first bus? I used the bus system in Mammoth last year, and if you hit the transfers just right, it is quite efficient, but if you miss it can be time consuming. Can you get a permit out of Agnew Meadows when you want it? These are difficult permits to get. And if you do a first-come permit, plan on spending an hour or so in Mammoth getting that permit. You will arrive in Mammoth after the FS office is closed. You would have to wait until they open (8am I believe) then wait in line. Then catch town loop bus to ski center. Then transfer to Postpile bus. It is possible you may not get to the trailhead until 10AM. By the way, there is a nice campground right next to the FS office in Mammoth.
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Re: Minarets to Yosemite- Late August

Postby mikeymike » Tue Jun 14, 2011 1:46 pm

wow! you guys have been great with all this advice- and all so quickly!

so after reading a bit and discussing with my buddy, we're leaning towards a loop in the Minarets, and possibly a stop over in yosemite for the day on the way to/or from Mammoth. we're not gonna get a chance to see mountains like these for some time- so we want to take advantage of this great opportunity. lucky for us, I just found a friend who has a place in Mammoth who'll let us crash at their place the nights before and after our trek.

when I checked earlier this week, trails were starting to book up, but not exactly on our starting date. hopefully this weekend I can sit down with some maps and start thinking about the right route. (it's so much more fun than studying for exams)

does anyone know how early in the morning the Mammoth shuttle starts up? and when the last one is each day?

thanks again. you guys are great.
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Re: Minarets to Yosemite- Late August

Postby maverick » Tue Jun 14, 2011 2:03 pm

HST= Wilderness Adventurer who knows no bounds, except for their own imagination.

Have a safer backcountry experience by using the HST ReConn Form 2.0, named after Larry Conn, a HST member: http://reconn.org
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