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May 13-15 - Buena Vista Lake?

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Re: May 13-15 - Buena Vista Lake?

Postby tim » Tue Apr 24, 2012 7:47 pm

What about Porcupine Creek to North Dome and the north rim? Tioga Rd is a very good bet to be open by then and permits wont be a problem (we've just booked ours for Saturday of Memorial Day weekend). You should have snow free travel from Indian Rock onwards - all open south facing slopes from what I've seen of other early season trip reports.

If you're more ambitious then what about Glen Aulin (though there are some tricky streams to cross)



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Re: May 13-15 - Buena Vista Lake?

Postby markskor » Tue Apr 24, 2012 7:52 pm

maverick wrote:Washburn is better, and can make it in a day.


Maybe, a long time ago... Valley - Washburn makes a real long 18+-mile day. Would rather split it up and stay Moraine Dome for the first night.
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Re: May 13-15 - Buena Vista Lake?

Postby DoyleWDonehoo » Tue Apr 24, 2012 8:40 pm

The Ostrander trail was one of the most dead-fall covered trails I have ever seen, ever (early season). And if there is snow on the trail on the last 1/3rd, the trail takes an ugly abrupt right turn and can be lost all-together. Approaching from Chilnualna Falls may be better because you gradually gain altitude on the way to that BV lake, giving you ample time to back off if the conditions get too complex. Heading out via Glacier Point (or Mono Meadow) is always a good idea, and you could always go up the Illiouette (some stream crossings) to approach 9100 foot BV Lake, probably still snowbound. If the Tioga road was open, snow or no snow, I would be really tempted (as I am now) to do the T. River trail via White Wolf->Pate Valley to catch the river at high water.
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Re: May 13-15 - Buena Vista Lake?

Postby packrat » Wed Apr 25, 2012 9:21 am

Wow, thanks for all of the responses and suggestions. You guys are a wealth of information.
So what I'm hearing is that yeah this trip is doable, but not necessarily all that fun this time of year. While I'm sure would could tackle snow/downed trees/extended x-country travel, as we have many times in the past, that's not the intended experience on this particular trip. We just want a nice mellow first trip of the season. We could go elsewhere and and find more suitable conditions for the time of year, but we want to go to Yosemite for sentimental reasons (finishing a trip cut short years ago).
I will be pulling back out the maps and start researching some of these various options that have been suggested. It seems like the greater Hetch Hetchy area might be my best best for drier conditions plus minimal crowds/available permits. Any recommendations for off trail exploration beyond Kibbie Lake or in Pate Valley?
Thanks again for the help!
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Re: May 13-15 - Buena Vista Lake?

Postby TehipiteTom » Wed Apr 25, 2012 11:59 am

packrat wrote:Any recommendations for off trail exploration beyond Kibbie Lake or in Pate Valley?
Thanks again for the help!

Lots of good info about the area east of Kibbie Lake/Kibbie Ridge in this thread. Generally a good choice for early season. Good luck with your trip!
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Re: May 13-15 - Buena Vista Lake?

Postby maverick » Wed Apr 25, 2012 1:17 pm

If you go up from Hetchy to Vernon Lake, and come back the same way you'll
stay close your 10 mile limit (one way). Doing the clock wise round loop trip through
Rancheria Creek would add onto you mileage significantly and it would be better
done spending a night at Rancheria as your last night, but in this case, spending
2 nights at Vernon would be time better spent, unless you can add another night
to be spent at RC and thus doing the loop.
The far eastern end of the basin sports a cool waterfall/cascade (Branigan Creek)
worth visiting. Following this creek up to Branigan Lake and then back to
the un-named chain of lakes leading south on the bench above the Vernon Lake
Basin makes for a very pretty and fun day hike. Once you reach the last of these
lakes you can descend back down (class 2) to Vernon Lake.
This is the Vernon Lake Basin from above, the largest lake is Vernon Lake. This was
taken from near the top of the cascade.
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Re: May 13-15 - Buena Vista Lake?

Postby DoyleWDonehoo » Wed Apr 25, 2012 2:27 pm

May 18, 2009, I did the Vernon-TilTill-Rancheria loop (clockwise). There was a lot of consolidated snow Between TilTill and Vernon Lake. It was pretty easy following the shaded trail (on Sierra Cement) once past the stream on that ridge (just above Vernon). As someone pointed out, this is not a normal year, but I would not be surprised if conditions next month are not similar to 2009.
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Re: May 13-15 - Buena Vista Lake?

Postby sparky » Wed Apr 25, 2012 5:18 pm

We had a great time mid july hiking up to jack main canyon, then down to vernon via ramps west of the cascades. We came out a couple hundred yards east of the ranger station.
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