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High Sierra Camp Loop- before they open

Backpacking and camping basics and other general trip planning discussion for the uninitiated. Use this forum to learn where to look for the information you need, and to ask questions, related to the beginner basics of backpacking and camping, including technique and best practices.
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High Sierra Camp Loop- before they open

Postby firstTimeBackpacker » Fri May 15, 2015 3:19 pm

Hello!
My husband and I just got our permits for our first multi-day backpacking trip starting out of Glen Aulin and ending with the final night in Vogelsang.....seems like the typical loop direction. We're starting out on June 16th intentionally before the camps open. Can you tell me anything about what to expect as far as the crowds up there? And I see they have bear boxes at the camps....I'm wondering if the water and bathrooms will be open and working as well.

I'm also wondering if you think we should head in a different direction? As much as digging a cat hole kind of grosses me out, I gotta admit, I'm eager for some wildness.

What do you seasoned backpackers think if you don't mind me asking? My father did the John Muir back in the 70s and still can't stop talking about it....I definitely want to start adding those kind of memories.
Thanks for any and all input!
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Re: High Sierra Camp Loop- before they open

Postby maverick » Fri May 15, 2015 4:09 pm

Hi FirstTimeBackpacker,

Welcome to HST!
I'm also wondering if you think we should head in a different direction?


What are you asking, a different area, or doing the circuit in reverse? Please clarify.

Also please read: http://www.highsierratopix.com/communit ... f=1&t=4205

What is exact route that you are planning?

If you get the time and intro would be great. :) viewtopic.php?f=1&t=9329
HST= Wilderness Adventurer who knows no bounds, except for their own imagination.

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Re: High Sierra Camp Loop- before they open

Postby firstTimeBackpacker » Sat May 16, 2015 10:12 am

Hi maverick!
Thanks for the reply! I introduced myself on the other board just now:) Also, the link you attached didn't work but I will search through because I'm sure you've discussed the High Sierra Camp loop many times over!

When I asked about heading in another direction- I guess what I'm really saying is I don't want to cheat myself. The more research I've done on the HSC loop I've realized they have running water and toilets, fire rings and bear boxes and I sort of feel like that's cheating. Now the camps won't be open yet so maybe just the bear boxes will be available- so I'll get to treat my own water and dig holes for the bathroom! This is my first time backpacking (more than 1 night) so perhaps doing a tried and true loop is a good way to start?

We (my husband and I) plan to park at Lembert Dome and do the loop with our first night at Glen Aulin, working our way through the camps and ending at Vogelsang. Again, we've got permits for June 16th so the camps won't be open yet. I'm hoping that means it won't be too crowded.

I'm really looking forward to this. I just bought new hiking boots(Salomon) and have been taking day hikes with my pack on the weekends.
any tips are appreciated!
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Re: High Sierra Camp Loop- before they open

Postby rlown » Sat May 16, 2015 10:29 am

Welcome aboard! The link Mav was trying to share is viewtopic.php?f=1&t=4205

Note that the toilet at Glen Aulin was open even after the camp was taken down, well into early October. If that's a concern, call the park and ask them their plan for the toidies.. That's not the big deal anyway.

You do know you need to carry a bear can regardless of bear boxes, right? If you get stuck for any reason, you need to protect your food and the bears. June is a big time for bears to be out and about. Not saying they'll be a problem, but they know the HSC route better than you do! You can rent the can at the permit pickup station or if you own one, so much the better.
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Re: High Sierra Camp Loop- before they open

Postby AlmostThere » Sun May 17, 2015 8:21 pm

firstTimeBackpacker wrote:When I asked about heading in another direction- I guess what I'm really saying is I don't want to cheat myself. The more research I've done on the HSC loop I've realized they have running water and toilets, fire rings and bear boxes and I sort of feel like that's cheating. Now the camps won't be open yet so maybe just the bear boxes will be available- so I'll get to treat my own water and dig holes for the bathroom! This is my first time backpacking (more than 1 night) so perhaps doing a tried and true loop is a good way to start?


If you are backpacking and not staying at the resort, you won't be allowed to use the running water or toilets or showers anyway. You'll be in the backpacker camp, where the only amenity is a bear locker.

First ever backpack? One night/two day trip FIRST. Multi day trip later. You can do all the research in the world but it isn't real until you go. Make it short miles, single night, and get the gear figured out before you attempt longer trips. Trust me, this is tried and true advice. Actually, the real easy learning curve would be to sleep in the yard with the gear, take the gear car camping and pretend the car isn't there (but it's a quick bail-out if it's colder or the weather turns on you), and then an overnight.

You can also avoid the camps by finding campsites a few miles distant from each of them. But, if you're truly determined to make it your first trip, you should perhaps be spending the night at the camps. If you get into some situation having a camp within less than a day's hike might be a lifesaver. The camps have staff getting them ready for opening, and getting help would thus be much easier to do.
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Re: High Sierra Camp Loop- before they open

Postby firstTimeBackpacker » Tue May 19, 2015 10:38 am

Hi AlmostThere!
Thank you so much for your excellent advice. We've been carrying our packs twice a week (a short 4 mile Temescal loop in Santa Monica during the work week) and also adding a long 9-12 mile with some elevation gain(2500ish) in the San Gabriels every Sunday for the past 3 weeks. My new boots are starting to feel better. We also have two overnights coming up where we'll be using all our gear.....the stove, trying out preparation of the freeze dried meals, also hiking with trekking poles we just got. I know you're right- all the research doesn't replace actually doing it.....so I'm hoping this will help speed up the learning curve before June 16th. And I think I'll take you're advice and just stay in the backpacker camps with the bear boxes. We want to push ourselves but we don't want to be stupid.
I also filled out the quick survey below detailing my experience.
I'm so glad this site is here, I'm finding lots of great info, thank you!
firstTimeBackpacker

What level of backpacking experience do you have?
Level 2- Some backpacking trips, using trails

What terrain are you comfortable/uncomfortable with?
- Class 1 terrain/trail hiking

What is your main interest?
- Lakes
- Forests
- Big Mountain scenery

How many days/nights is your trip, not including travel to trailhead?
5 nights, 6 days

How many miles did you want to do a day, any layovers?
6-10- according the the specified trail we're looking at, the High Sierra Camp loop

Do you have a route logistics preference: loop, out and back, point to point (which
may require 2 vehicles or hitchhiking)?
We definitely want to stick with a loop for parking convenience.

Is there a particular area in the Sierra that your most interested in(Yosemite, SEKI
western sierra start or eastern start ect.)? Not really, just eager to get on foot in the back country.

Will you be hiking with a dog? NO.
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Re: High Sierra Camp Loop- before they open

Postby firstTimeBackpacker » Tue May 19, 2015 10:43 am

And thankyou, rlown!
Especially for the note about carrying bear canisters no matter what. That obviously makes sense and we'll rent one when we pick up our permit. Wishful thinking that I could get away carrying one less thing:)
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