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May 13-15 - Buena Vista Lake?

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May 13-15 - Buena Vista Lake?

Postby packrat » Tue Apr 24, 2012 3:26 pm

Hello, first post here.
My girlfriend and I are looking for a 2 night, 3 day trip in Yosemite from 5/13/-5/15. We're both very experienced and competent backpackers, and are comfortable with difficult conditions. We're not looking for this particular trip to get too uncomfortable though. Looking for a nice one day hike in, set up camp, hang out a couple nights and do a day trip out of there, then hike back out. Roughly around 10 miles give or take on the way in and out is what we're shooting for.
Looking at some maps one idea has been to start at the Ostrander TH, hike through Turner Meadow to Buena Vista Lake, camp there, then loop around and come out at Mono Meadow TH. I'm aware that's getting a little high up for this time of year, but also know the snowpack has been pretty minimal this year and going fast. Any opinions on whether or not this would be doable without too much post-holing this time of year?
If consensus seems to be that it might be too early to hike this trip, I'd love to hear any other suggestions folks may have for a 2-3 day trip that we could pull off in Yosemite this time of year.
Thanks for the help.
Last edited by packrat on Tue Apr 24, 2012 4:41 pm, edited 1 time in total.



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Re: May 13-15 - Buena Vista Lake?

Postby DoyleWDonehoo » Tue Apr 24, 2012 4:31 pm

If you like snow, go for it. In just a normal year, you are getting snow above 7000 feet. Using all my fingers and toes, I count 20 days till your trip, and at least one more storm on the way, so it does not look good if you want to avoid snow. There are not a lot of options this early. If the road is open to it, Kibbie Lake would be nice early season considering your needs. Another might be a loop up Snow Creek and down the Yosemite falls trail. Lots of side trails there to interesting places. I have done trips in the south Sierra early season, staying below 6500 feet. But if we have another heat wave, things may rapidly change.
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Re: May 13-15 - Buena Vista Lake?

Postby oldranger » Tue Apr 24, 2012 4:36 pm

Packrat

Please post a TR as soon as you return as I am planning on hitting Buena Vista about a week later but coming from the south. Judging by how fast the snow is melting at Ostrander you should be OK. But Mother Nature can be fickle and a foot of new snow a day before either or both of our trips is not a totally impossible occurrence. My guess is that some of the higher n. slopes that you will cross may have some snow, but if you cross it early in the day it should be firm.

Have fun.

Re Doyle's comment: this ain't a normal year. Even with another storm (other than within 2 days of your trip) I think odds are in your favor. Worst case scenario is you turn around and find a nice place short of Buena Vista Lake.

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Re: May 13-15 - Buena Vista Lake?

Postby maverick » Tue Apr 24, 2012 4:53 pm

Hi Packrat,

Welcome to HST!
If, and that is a big if, snow is not an issue the whole Buena Vista Lake area can turn
into a big swamp in the early season.
Also a bigger issue, if things are really melting fast, Bridalveil and especially Chilnualna
Creeks can be an issue.
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Re: May 13-15 - Buena Vista Lake?

Postby sparky » Tue Apr 24, 2012 5:32 pm

Merced lake might be doable....its 15 miles but you can do it!!! :evil:
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Re: May 13-15 - Buena Vista Lake?

Postby maverick » Tue Apr 24, 2012 5:37 pm

Sparky wrote:

Merced Lake might be doable.


Unappealing lake, will not be that easy to get permits since it will be one of the
few places people can get too, and avoid the snow out of the Valley this early.
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Re: May 13-15 - Buena Vista Lake?

Postby DoyleWDonehoo » Tue Apr 24, 2012 5:53 pm

maverick wrote:
Sparky wrote:
Merced Lake might be doable.

Unappealing lake, will not be that easy to get permits since it will be one of the
few places people can get too, and avoid the snow out of the Valley this early.

Merced and Washbern Lake can be good destinations just for the Merced River that time of year, but as maverick said, a permit early season, even mid-week, would be very hard to get. I tried last year, but they were filled, even a day ahead.
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Re: May 13-15 - Buena Vista Lake?

Postby maverick » Tue Apr 24, 2012 6:00 pm

Washburn is better, and can make it in a day, but ML does nothing for me.
Could try going out of Glacier Point, may have better luck.
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Re: May 13-15 - Buena Vista Lake?

Postby RoguePhotonic » Tue Apr 24, 2012 6:41 pm

At first I thought this thread was for Buena Vista Lake outside of Bakersfield. I was like uh no you don't want to go there at all. :D
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Re: May 13-15 - Buena Vista Lake?

Postby AlmostThere » Tue Apr 24, 2012 7:11 pm

Last week's hike up to Chilnualna Falls - hardly any snow left at that elevation.

Glacier Pt Rd is open.

Be ready to deal with patchy snow across the trail if you go from Ostrander. There are portions of that route that are shaded most of the day, and I have "lost" hikers temporarily in the one corner at the top of cardiac hill due to snow over the trail - look for the yellow flags in the trees and the downed sugar pine with the cut in it to find the trail.
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Re: May 13-15 - Buena Vista Lake?

Postby sparky » Tue Apr 24, 2012 7:31 pm

hmm yes I didn't think about the crowds. I'm solo mostly and rarely get skunked.

Yes the lake isn't that great, but the canyon is. And worth it IMO, but there are better options mentioned. A little snow never hurt if it isnt steep.

Wherever you go....it'll be boggy...I have been wading through snow and slush and boggy mud in my local zones. Usually we melt out 2-3 weeks faster down here. San Jacinto had 1-3 feet of snow at 7500 ft last weekend on a shady forested plateau very slightly angled east 5 days ago.
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Re: May 13-15 - Buena Vista Lake?

Postby oldranger » Tue Apr 24, 2012 7:34 pm

Packrat

One other caveat. If you are not experienced at off trail travel and if you get to an area where the trail is obliterated by snow or other debris (could be a lot of downed trees due to the windstorm last fall) the minute you can't see the next blaze you should retrace your steps and call it good and settle for something short of your target destination.

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