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5-7 night trip from TM to the valley

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5-7 night trip from TM to the valley

Postby dreamer1 » Tue Feb 19, 2013 8:48 am

Hello to all,

The advice on this board has served me well on past trips in the High Sierra and was hoping to get some input on options for my next one.

Background info: My buddy and I, both from Canada, are in our very late 40s but in good shape. Have done the Tuolomne Meadows-Vogelsnag-Lyell Canyon semi-loop as well as TM to Cathedral lake, to Sunrise Camp to Tenaya Lake loop. Judging from those trips, I would say we're ok to do 5-7 miles per day, 8 or so if need be on a key day. We both love alpine lakes but no fishing. We also like being able to spend 2 days at the same spot along the way the day hike about and enjoy the scenery without a full backpack.

Next trip: We are planning for a 5-7 night trip in early September (right after Labor day). After a day or two of dayhiking from TM campground to get used to the altitude, we would like to leave from TM and head towards the valley via Voglesang, Merced, Red Peak/Ottaway Lake to ???
Not sure if this is overly ambitious given our time window, where we should stop along the way, and where to end. Also, we will need to take a ride back to TM to get back to our car and do not know what the bus service is like after Labor Day (starting off from the Yosemite valley is not an option for other reasons). Open to any and all suggestions, including alternate route options. We'll just be delighted to back in the midst of that wonderful landscape.

Thanks!



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Re: 5-7 night trip from TM to the valley

Postby RoguePhotonic » Tue Feb 19, 2013 9:59 am

Well the trail from Tuolumne Meadows over Volgelsang Pass, down to the Merced and then over Red Peak Pass to Glacier Point and down to the valley is about 52 miles. Sounds like too much if your doing 5-7 nights at 5-7 miles per day. It's a good hike though.
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Re: 5-7 night trip from TM to the valley

Postby oldranger » Tue Feb 19, 2013 10:32 am

What Rogue said! Except my preferred route would be the High Trail rather than dropping down to the Merced. 7 nights is doable but leaves no reasonable space for lay overs. I would take 2 weeks but then would do a couple of off trail excursions and a lot of fishing. I think if you are not fishing 10 days would be a much more enjoyable trip than what you have planned except for the extra starting weight.

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Re: 5-7 night trip from TM to the valley

Postby dreamer1 » Wed Feb 20, 2013 3:58 pm

Thanks for the advice. My notes on the total distance (from Scaffer's book on Hiking in Yosemite) were clealry off. Do not think we can go beyong 7 nights not do more than 8-9 miles a day -- and still keep it fun :-) May have to reconsider; maybe TM to Vogelsang, then Merced Lake HSC, head into Echo Valley and onto the Mist Trail? This appears to be about 25-27 miles. Really had my heart set on hiking by Red Peak pass... there will always be other trips. Thanks for the input. Any idea how often buses or shuttles would run from the valley to TM in mid-september. Last time I was there in late Sept. I was surpised to learn that the park schedule had been changed and limited to weekends. Being stuck mid-week did not help :-)
Last edited by dreamer1 on Fri Mar 01, 2013 4:38 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: 5-7 night trip from TM to the valley

Postby snusmumriken » Wed Feb 20, 2013 5:48 pm

Looks like YARTS has not published their 2013 summer schedule yet. Last year, like in years past, the bus ran only weekends in September.
http://www.yarts.com/schedule/2012/2012 ... 202012.pdf

Probably be the same this year. So start and end your weeklong trip on a weekend. Or do a loop trip out of Tuolomne.
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Re: 5-7 night trip from TM to the valley

Postby overheadx2 » Wed Feb 20, 2013 7:16 pm

I did the TM to Vogelsang, Washburn, Echo Valley to YV last Aug. I have to say, it was a nice hike but probably the least favorite of my young career. It was very crowded, sites are over used and the 5k elevation drop was brutal. There are better hikes within Yosemite, and a lot better hikes in the sierras.
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Re: 5-7 night trip from TM to the valley

Postby oleander » Thu Feb 21, 2013 3:25 pm

How about saving Red Peak Pass for a time when you have more days to play with (or want to hike higher mileage). Instead maybe hike one-way from Tuolumne Meadows southbound on the JMT, exiting at Agnew Meadows.

That trip is less than 30 miles. The whole point of it is you can take a lot of side trips if you are feeling energetic. This stretch has a ton of REALLY GOOD side trips. Some places to consider include Ireland Lake, Lyell Glacier, Marie Lakes, Davis Lake, the lake basin above and to the west of Garnet Lake, and Ediza Lake (and maybe Iceberg Lake above Ediza). Of those, Ediza is probably highest on the "Must See" list and is only ~1.5 miles off the JMT.

From Agnew Meadows, it is easy to get into Mammoth on the shuttle, and from Mammoth there are various ways to get back to your car parked back at Tuolumne.

Alternately, if you want to do fewer side trips, then from the Ediza/Shadow Lake area you can loop back north via River Trail or High Trail/PCT and Parker Pass and exit to Tioga Pass - with a very short shuttle back to your car.

September, when there are fewer people, is the time to do this trip.
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Re: 5-7 night trip from TM to the valley

Postby Saltydog » Sun Feb 24, 2013 1:13 pm

Interested in your reasoning for acclimating at TM for 2 days. Just about anywhere you go from there toward the Valley could be level or down for 2 days, so why not do your acclimating on the trail, 2 more days in the back country away from the TH?
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Re: 5-7 night trip from TM to the valley

Postby oldranger » Sun Feb 24, 2013 3:54 pm

Saltydog

They still have to go up to 10,000 ft. Spending a couple of days at Tuolumne is good thinking in my book. I know it takes my wife 3 days to acclimate to TM. Most people less but time at TM is not wasted anyway!

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Re: 5-7 night trip from TM to the valley

Postby SweetSierra » Sun Feb 24, 2013 5:54 pm

If you have your heart set on Red Peak Pass and you can deviate from your starting point at TM,
here is a suggested alternative, which is about 30 miles. It goes through Mono Meadows:
http://yosemiteexplorer.com/trails/red-peak

Also, you can go over Fernandez Pass and do a loop over Red Peak Pass and back. We did this trip about 10 years ago. I don't remember the location of our trailhead offhand but it isn't in the Yosemite Valley/Glacier point area but begins to the south of Red Peak Pass. You can look up Fernandez Pass in Secor's book and it should note the trailhead. It's a beautiful trip. We saw no one after the first five miles of the trip. Maybe something to consider for another year if you already have your permit for TM.

Oleander has some great suggestions.
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Re: 5-7 night trip from TM to the valley

Postby SweetSierra » Mon Feb 25, 2013 12:11 pm

Clover Meadow was the start of the loop over Fernandez Pass, into the Red Peak Pass area, over Isberg Pass, and back.
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Re: 5-7 night trip from TM to the valley

Postby oldranger » Tue Feb 26, 2013 9:32 am

Dreamer

Sweet Sierra's idea is a great one! More specifically a loop trip starting From the Fernandez Pass trailhead over Fernandez Pass, then to Red Peak Pass and out over Post Peak Pass is a comfortable trip for the longest window you have (or reverse). A few caveats are in order though. 1. Getting your permit at the visitor center in Oakhurst--make sure that a person who can issue the permit will be on duty or you will have to detour to Northfork to get your permit. I would not count on the permit office at Clover meadow being open after labor day and it is a little out of your way. 2. The closest store/restaurant with really limited options is at Beasore meadows close to an hours drive from trailhead. 3. Closest accomodations full service community is Oakhurst/Bass Lake. 4. Trailheads are about 7,000 ft elevation so you will have 3,000+/- ft climb facing you in the first day and a half. Spending one night at TH should be sufficient for acclimation. 5. The Granite Creek drainage is s. facing and water sources will probably be limited to lakes in September this year 6. The last mile to the TH is a bit rough but can be negotiated by standard vehicle if you drive carefully.

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