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Tioga Pass/Gaylor Lakes Dec 18

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Tioga Pass/Gaylor Lakes Dec 18

Postby tim » Tue Dec 20, 2011 9:25 pm

We were up in Yosemite this weekend and took advantage of the wonderful weather and lack of snow to take a trip up to Tioga Pass. At Olmsted Point it was hard to tell whether it was August or December, and there was far less snow than when we were here on July 4 weekend.

Tenaya Lake.jpg
Tenaya Lake

Olmsted Point.jpg
Olmsted Point

What was quite a surprise was the number of ice skaters on Tenaya Lake - while we were playing on the ice there was even a hockey game going on.

Ice skating.jpg
Frozen Tenaya Lake

We then headed up through Tuolumne Meadows with only a few inches of snow on the ground.

Tuolumne Meadows.jpg
Tuolumne Meadows

After lunch we decided to hike from Tioga Pass over to Gaylor Lakes. The path was pretty visible, with up to about six inches of snow on the ascent, but the descent on the north side had up to 18 inches in places. However, the basin itself was pretty bare and we made an easy circumnavigation of the frozen lake.

Gaylor Lakes Basin.jpg
Gaylor Lakes basin

Gaylor Lake.jpg
Across Gaylor Lake

Cathedral Peak.jpg
View to Cathedral Peak

As the afternoon wore on, the snow got a bit hard in places and I had to kick steps back up to the pass. However, after a few tense moments we made it back to the car just before sunset on Mount Dana and alpenglow over Tenaya Lake and Half Dome. A wonderful day, and one that I'd highly recommend while this weather lasts - after all this is the latest that Tioga Pass has been open for more than 30 years, and with the current forecast it looks like it might be open right up until New Year.

Mount Dana.jpg
Mount Dana

Tenaya Lake sunset.jpg
Tenaya Lake sunset

Half Dome.jpg
Half Dome sunset



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Re: Tioga Pass/Gaylor Lakes Dec 18

Postby rlown » Tue Dec 20, 2011 9:48 pm

beautiful report.. Looks cold, but like august.. scary at this point as we need the snow.
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Re: Tioga Pass/Gaylor Lakes Dec 18

Postby tim » Tue Dec 20, 2011 9:52 pm

It wasn't too cold - mid to high 30s at 10500ft at 2pm, dropped to around 30 at sunset. The valley was mid 20s early morning, probably low teens to single digits overnight, but it was actually much warmer higher up where there was sunshine (hard to find in the valley this time of year).

We can always look forward to some nice early season trips if this weather continues...
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Re: Tioga Pass/Gaylor Lakes Dec 18

Postby hikerchick395 » Wed Dec 21, 2011 10:26 am

http://www.facebook.com/editprofile.php ... =1&theater


Here's a view from above Middle Gaylor Lake





(Tioga Pass closed Jan 1 2000 to end the 1999 season)
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Re: Tioga Pass/Gaylor Lakes Dec 18

Postby tim » Thu Dec 22, 2011 11:19 am

hikerchick395 wrote:http://www.facebook.com/editprofile.php?sk=basic&success=1#!/photo.php?fbid=207428819343107&set=a.101990279886962.3782.100002279706994&type=1&theater

Here's a view from above Middle Gaylor Lake

(Tioga Pass closed Jan 1 2000 to end the 1999 season)


I guess you were parked next to us then? It didn't look like anyone had actually been down into the basin since the last snowstorm, but lots of people had been to the col (and presumably climbed the peak).

Interesting that the Yosemite website (http://www.nps.gov/yose/planyourvisit/tiogaopen.htm) lists a much earlier date for 1999 (Nov 23). I know that 120 above Lee Vining outside the park is often open earlier in the spring than the rest of the route, but does the same thing sometimes happen with fall closing?
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Re: Tioga Pass/Gaylor Lakes Dec 18

Postby hikerchick395 » Fri Dec 23, 2011 10:30 am

Got my info from the Mono Lake Committee. For example, this year the NPS had put Nov 18 as this year's closing date, but I read that they will update it. The pass has closed and reopened a few times this year...over several websites it was stated that on Nov 18 the pass was closed and it would remain closed for the season. (I felt fortunate as I was up there on Nov 17.) But as in years past, it has reopened since.

Even these stats can be disputed as in some years, the pass opened at 3 or 4pm and they recorded it as open the next day. It is easy to remember as one year it opened on my birthday but was officially listed open the next day.

Not much traffic up Gaylor...a few footprints. I had the teal Chevy S10.
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Re: Tioga Pass/Gaylor Lakes Dec 18

Postby tim » Tue Dec 27, 2011 12:08 pm

We were in the gold Sienna next to you. Looks like the pass is still open and there are some fun pictures on the Yosemite Facebook page of people eating Christmas picnics on Tenaya Lake.
https://www.facebook.com/YosemiteNPS
We're going to Death Valley next week, so if 120 is still open we may try to come back over Tioga Pass in the first week of Jan.
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Re: Tioga Pass/Gaylor Lakes Dec 18

Postby Stevehymon » Wed Dec 28, 2011 10:25 am

Great report. Woukd love to see a photo of hockey on Tenaya Lake so I can show the guys/gals on my beer league team in L.A. Most of us have never had a chance to play outdoors. Thanks!
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Re: Tioga Pass/Gaylor Lakes Dec 18

Postby tim » Wed Dec 28, 2011 3:27 pm

Sadly the hockey game was up at the other end of the lake, so we never got a good photo of them.
You could always try it yourself though - with the current weather forecast Tioga Pass will certainly be open through the New Year holiday.
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Re: Tioga Pass/Gaylor Lakes Dec 18

Postby hikerchick395 » Thu Dec 29, 2011 6:01 pm

Went back up over Tioga Pass on the 26th. Tenaya Lake was very busy, with people parking into the lanes of the highway. There were hockey games, figure skaters, walkers (like ourselves,) sledders, people sitting in chairs and picnickers..some with their wine glasses in hand. (Sunbathers and picnickers on the east beach, too.) After my husband walked on the Dana Fork, then the Tuolumne by the 120 bridge, I went along, out on the ice on Tenaya Lake. Pretty cool. I only got brief video of hockey...I'll bet that there are some available to watch on youtube.
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Re: Tioga Pass/Gaylor Lakes Dec 18

Postby hikerchick395 » Thu Dec 29, 2011 6:22 pm

Image

Here's one pic I found...not at Tenaya though
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Re: Tioga Pass/Gaylor Lakes Dec 18

Postby oldranger » Thu Dec 29, 2011 7:08 pm

here is a link to a pic

I wish I was in california to see it for myself!

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