Panorama Trail TR | High Sierra Topix  

Panorama Trail TR

If you've been searching for the best source of information and stimulating discussion related to Spring/Summer/Fall backpacking, hiking and camping in the Sierra Nevada...look no further!
User avatar

Panorama Trail TR

Postby Wandering Daisy » Wed Apr 25, 2012 8:06 pm

Hard way to Climb Sentinel Dome
April 23-24

This trip started out with numerous logistical problems. First, I had hoped that Glacier Point Road would be closed; camping logistics get difficult once the road opens. Second I got bad information when I got a permit. I was assured by the ranger that JMT was open and it was legal to park my car at ElCap Meadows. After eating dinner at Camp 4 I pulled out the brochures I was given upon entering, and the maps definitely indicated that overnight parking at ElCap Meadow was not legal. After specifically choosing the more crowded Camp 4 because of the ease of getting to ElCap bridge, I now realized that the plan would not work. I went into the tent and worried. Just as I was about to sleep two guys showed up and set up right next to me and sat there until midnight with bright headlamps and a stinky campfire not 10 feet from my tent. Next morning I awoke at 5:45 AM and slammed the bear boxes loudly as possible as I packed up and left. I felt terrible, almost sick. I decided to reverse the route, parked at Curry Village and got some coffee. By the time I fiddle-farted around and just missed the bus, I finally got started up the trail from Happy Isles at 8:15. As I walked up the trail, I felt better each step. Coffee and walking do miracles! I headed up the JMT and came to the next junction to find the gate closed! Damned if I was going to drop down and go up the Mist Trail. I scooted by the gate and continued. At the crux, there was a thin trench between the ice and rock wall that I easily got through. I met a couple going down. Finally I reached the Panorama Trail junction a bit after 10AM. The Panorama Trail was snow free and easy going so I reached Illouette Creek at 11:30. It was now hot and the slog up 1,300 feet to Glacier Point was tedious but with great views. Lots of snow-melt creeks were running so I could soak my bandana and hat in cold water. Several day-hikers were heading down. I took one short rest stop and continued across the road. Immediately, the snow became solid and deep. Footprints went off in many directions. I worked my way to the top, meeting a couple coming down. Thankfully they had broken trail! The view was fantastic and I had left my camera in my pack. Back to my pack, I continued to the Taft Point trailhead. Looking down towards the rim the snow was discouragingly covering nearly everything. Logistics failed me again. I think had it been early AM the snow would not have been so bad.

For a goal oriented person, I can at least say I made it to the top of Sentinel Dome . Yes, Glacier Point Road was open making actually climbing Sentinel Dome trivial. But my intent was to do the entire Panorama-Pohono –Yosemite Valley loop – this was just the consolation prize. At 4PM in the afternoon, sitting at the Taft Point parking lot, I realized that getting to Bridalveil Creek was not going to happen. Choices; hitch a ride back to the Valley, slog on to Taft Point and illegally camp there (I have camped there before when the Glacier Point Road was closed), or walk back down the Glacier Point Road and then on the snow-free trail back to legal camping on upper Illouette Creek. I did try to hitch but all I got was “we are too full”, even when the vehicles were obviously not. The thought of getting disoriented and stuck in snow late in the day nixed the second choice. So it was walk back down the shoulder of the road. The two miles went quickly and soon I was heading back down the same trail I came up hours before. My knees were screaming. Going another 3.5 miles was not going to happen. I filled two platypus containers with water and headed to a hidden spot quarter mile off the trail and well hidden for a bit if stealth camping. This was the first time in nine hours that I sat down for more than a few minutes. The evening was sublime. Hot tea, soup, dark chocolate and an amazing sunset- I could not have asked for more, barring the sore knees.

It had been a 9 hour, 13.5 mile, +5450-feet gain day! After a good night’s sleep I was up at 6AM getting some sunrise shots. I packed up and returned to the trail and this time, I took the Mist Trail back to Happy Isles. Surprisingly it took me longer to go downhill than I had gone uphill! I reached my car at 2:30, walking back to Curry Village rather than waiting for the bus. The second day was only 9 miles with 1,500 gain and 4,050 descent. Old knees slowed me down. When I left it was overcast. I guess I really was quite pleased (for myself at least) that when I looked at the Sentinel Web Cam this morning it was raining. Maybe the defeat was really a good call. A few photos below.

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image



User avatar
Wandering Daisy
Topix Junkie
 
Posts: 2606
Joined: Sun Jan 24, 2010 8:19 pm
Location: Fair Oaks CA (Sacramento area)
Experience: N/A

User avatar

Re: Panorama Trail TR

Postby maverick » Wed Apr 25, 2012 9:39 pm

Thanks for the TR & photo's WD. Liked you second, and really enjoyed the sixth
photo with the cloud all flattened up against HD. Sorry the to hear the knees were
giving you a bad time. Sierra, sunset, and dark chocolate are always a wining combo!
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
User avatar
maverick
Forums Moderator
Forums Moderator
 
Posts: 8029
Joined: Thu Apr 06, 2006 5:54 pm
Experience: Level 4 Explorer

User avatar

Re: Panorama Trail TR

Postby balzaccom » Thu Apr 26, 2012 8:35 am

Wow--not only lovely photos...but the snow level looks to be about 8,000 feet!

I gotta get up there next week!
Balzaccom

check out our website: http://www.backpackthesierra.com/
User avatar
balzaccom
Topix Fanatic
 
Posts: 1288
Joined: Wed Dec 17, 2008 9:22 pm
Experience: N/A

User avatar

Re: Panorama Trail TR

Postby LMBSGV » Thu Apr 26, 2012 9:46 am

Thanks for the report. I also love the photo of Half Dome and the flattened cloud.
User avatar
LMBSGV
Topix Expert
 
Posts: 579
Joined: Sat Oct 27, 2007 8:42 pm
Location: San Geronimo, CA
Experience: Level 4 Explorer

User avatar

Re: Panorama Trail TR

Postby gary c. » Thu Apr 26, 2012 9:52 am

It had been a 9 hour, 13.5 mile, +5450-feet gain day!

You can say what you want about old knees but it's only April. I don't like to do days like that even at the end of the season. I know you hike all the time but my hat is off to you. Your pictures are beautiful. Thanks for posting your reoport.
"On this proud and beautiful mountain we have lived hours of fraternal, warm and exalting nobility. Here for a few days we have ceased to be slaves and have really been men. It is hard to return to servitude."
-- Lionel Terray
User avatar
gary c.
Topix Expert
 
Posts: 998
Joined: Tue Jan 24, 2006 4:56 pm
Location: Lancaster, CA
Experience: N/A

User avatar

Re: Panorama Trail TR

Postby maverick » Thu Apr 26, 2012 10:15 am

Good call not continuing on, this is what the views are like from Sentinel Dome today: http://www.nps.gov/common/commonspot/cu ... 06E9D930E8
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
User avatar
maverick
Forums Moderator
Forums Moderator
 
Posts: 8029
Joined: Thu Apr 06, 2006 5:54 pm
Experience: Level 4 Explorer

User avatar

Re: Panorama Trail TR

Postby Bluewater » Thu Apr 26, 2012 5:23 pm

Thank you for the TR. Amazing views and beautiful weather. I like the pxt of the rainbow below Vernal Falls (and of course the clouds next to HD). Makes me want to get out soon.
User avatar
Bluewater
Topix Expert
 
Posts: 530
Joined: Sun Oct 23, 2011 3:33 pm
Location: Laguna Beach
Experience: Level 4 Explorer

Re: Panorama Trail TR

Postby Cross Country » Thu Apr 26, 2012 5:42 pm

A digital camera in the hands of someone like you is a treat to someone like me. Very nice pics.
Cross Country
Topix Fanatic
 
Posts: 1119
Joined: Thu Dec 24, 2009 11:16 am
Experience: N/A

User avatar

Re: Panorama Trail TR

Postby quentinc » Thu Apr 26, 2012 6:01 pm

Wonderful photos, and I sympathize about the knees! I was on a dreadful WTC trip last weekend that involved a 6,000 foot descent on Sunday (into 110 degree weather).
User avatar
quentinc
Topix Expert
 
Posts: 890
Joined: Tue Nov 01, 2005 10:28 pm
Location: Los Angeles
Experience: N/A

User avatar

Re: Panorama Trail TR

Postby sparky » Thu Apr 26, 2012 6:51 pm

Thanks for trip report. I have been curious what its like up there right now.

Great pictirues...hope I can find the time to get out soon too
There is a million ways to be human, all are worthwhile.

True happiness is the absence of striving for happiness.
-Chuang Tzu.
User avatar
sparky
Topix Expert
 
Posts: 880
Joined: Tue Jul 20, 2010 10:01 am
Experience: N/A

User avatar

Re: Panorama Trail TR

Postby windknot » Thu Apr 26, 2012 8:43 pm

Great report, thanks for sharing!
A few backcountry fishing pictures: http://wanderswithtrout.wordpress.com/
User avatar
windknot
Topix Fanatic
 
Posts: 1348
Joined: Wed Aug 16, 2006 10:07 pm
Experience: Level 4 Explorer

User avatar

Re: Panorama Trail TR

Postby SSSdave » Fri Apr 27, 2012 1:06 pm

Not surprised there was that much snow on the rim as it just snowed a half foot down on the floor on April 13. Snow level had been about 3500 feet and a huge cell just sat on areas of the lower Merced basin. At this time of year snow in shady forest areas is slow to melt. Visited the valley early Saturday morning for an hour but was sunny with harsh light making photo notions useless. So scooted back west out of the park to balmy lower canyon areas west of Briceberg where I camped a couple night.
User avatar
SSSdave
Topix Fanatic
 
Posts: 1965
Joined: Thu Nov 17, 2005 11:18 pm
Location: Silicon Valley
Experience: N/A

Next

Return to Backpacking / Hiking / Camping



Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Yahoo [Bot] and 12 guests