Skiing a Circle- Yosemite Valley to Tuolumne Meadows and Back

Discussion about winter adventure sports in the Sierra Nevada mountains including but not limited to; winter backpacking and camping, mountaineering, downhill and cross-country skiing, snowboarding, snowshoeing, etc.
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bobby49
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Re: Skiing a Circle- Yosemite Valley to Tuolumne Meadows and Back

Post by bobby49 » Mon Apr 06, 2020 11:00 pm

Harlen wrote:
Mon Apr 06, 2020 10:11 pm
I had also heard of the Black Bear takeover, and more recently, the Hut was locked up do to excessive partying in it, supposedly by Park staff people?
Back in 1980, I remember seeing where one wall had been knocked in and then repaired. That March, there was a fair depth of snow, so you could see the cabin in the distance if you knew exactly where to look, but it was half-buried. In the 1960s, I'm not sure that "partying" was the correct word. But the park superintendent surely was not going to let a damn hippy commune exist within a few miles of Yosemite Valley. The commune people used to drift down to the valley in the morning and go to the Yosemite Lodge cafeteria to invest in one cup of coffee. Then they would sit in a back corner of the dining area, pretend to be reading a newspaper, and watch families coming and going to breakfast. Inevitably, some kid would leave half of his breakfast untouched when the family was leaving. Then the commune member would walk over to that abandoned food and "scarf" it up, either to be eaten there or to be carried back up to the cabin.








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Re: Skiing a Circle- Yosemite Valley to Tuolumne Meadows and Back

Post by Wandering Daisy » Tue Apr 07, 2020 7:45 am

Mystery Lake: Looks like Lake Catherine and the snowfield/glacier between Ritter and Banner, but that was nowhere near your reported route. That kind of rock also surrounds upper Ottoway Lake, but that too is not near your route.

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Re: Skiing a Circle- Yosemite Valley to Tuolumne Meadows and Back

Post by Harlen » Tue Apr 07, 2020 10:49 am

WD writes:
Mystery Lake: Looks like Lake Catherine and the snowfield/glacier between Ritter and Banner, but that was nowhere near your reported route. That kind of rock also surrounds upper Ottoway Lake, but that too is not near your route.
Yes, well... I was bored of my new routine "sheltering in bed," and with only the small Cromebook, I had access to just a few random photos from Downloads- so I put in that picture of a friend at Catherine Lake. There used to be a HST thread where random "Mystery" spots were posted and we were meant to guess at them- maybe that inspired me to post it. Anyhow, it sure is a spot to remember; it is a really wild feeling environment!

We camped there on ledges once:
072.jpg
Catherine Lake Camp with the west ridge of Ritter hanging over the lake.

wildhiker, I'll bet you have some images from around there. We've seen your nice camp shot from Bench Canyon in another post. Should we make a new thread about the Ritter Range perhaps: photos and stories from the Ritter Range? Why not, better than
sheltering in bed
.
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Re: Skiing a Circle- Yosemite Valley to Tuolumne Meadows and Back

Post by Wandering Daisy » Tue Apr 07, 2020 4:08 pm

Here is a photo that I took looking down that gully. I climbed Banner and Ritter on a 4th July trip 2004.
Banner Gully (2004-July).jpg
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Re: Skiing a Circle- Yosemite Valley to Tuolumne Meadows and Back

Post by Wandering Daisy » Tue Apr 07, 2020 4:25 pm

Here are two photos from my August 2010 High Route. The other lake is just a ways south of Catherine Lk. 2010 was a relatively high snowpack year.
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Re: Skiing a Circle- Yosemite Valley to Tuolumne Meadows and Back

Post by Harlen » Thu Apr 09, 2020 9:26 am

Daisy those are 3 fantastic photos! Thanks for including them.

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Re: Skiing a Circle- Yosemite Valley to Tuolumne Meadows and Back

Post by Harlen » Sun Apr 19, 2020 12:56 pm

I just came across this "Alert" from one of the Yosemite website pages- it's found below the Covid-19 Closure information, and includes a map of the Snow Creek closure area, which did not come up when I pasted the stuff below. So, as I asked in my Trip Report above-- Does anyone know what incidents occurred between humans and bears in this area? I have tried to find out by poking around the internet to no avail.

I am very interested in bear-human interaction, and just bears in general. Thanks for the assist, Ian.


Safety Closure (Wildlife Protection)

May 31, 2017 (The designation will remain in place until rescinded.)

Due to increasing bear activity along the Snow Creek Trail and the resulting potential for negative human-bear interactions, the area to the south and east of the footbridge as depicted on the attached map will be closed to overnight camping. The National Park Service will continue to monitor bear activity in this area and will re-open the area to camping as soon as conditions allow.

By order of the Superintendent of Yosemite National Park and under authority of Title 36, Code of Federal Regulations, Section 1.5(a) (1):

The area marked on the accompanying map entitled Wildlife Safety Closure dated May 31, 2017 is closed to overnight camping or unattended food (even when stored properly).
The marked area remains open for day use.

Notice of closure will be posted and area will be monitored to ensure compliance. Your cooperation in complying with this temporary restriction is greatly appreciated. Please see map below for more information.

The area at the top of Snow Creek east of the trail is closed to camping.

Last updated: April 9, 2020

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Re: Skiing a Circle- Yosemite Valley to Tuolumne Meadows and Back

Post by Harlen » Sun Apr 19, 2020 1:20 pm

Still "Sheltering on my A$$, and wandering around the internet, I got into a scientific paper¹ on bear management in YNP, and found some interesting points:
Yosemite has an extensive history of black bear research, educational programs, and innovative solutions for reducing human–bear incidents. Despite this, human–bear incidents peaked in 1998 at 1,584. The resulting political fallout led to Yosemite receiving funds to expand its bear management program... In 2011, Yosemite reached a milestone when it recorded only 114 human–bear incidents—a 93% decrease from the 1998 high. To sustain this lower level of incidents while facing shrinking budgets and increasing visitation, bear managers turned to more modern technology. From 2014–2018, we evaluated the effectiveness of using global positioning system (GPS) collars to manage bears more proactively,... and gain insight into the bears’ spatial and temporal movements. The GPS collars were effective in achieving these goals,... By the end of November 2018, Yosemite had recorded only 22 human–bear incidents—a 99% decrease from the 1998 high. The GPS collars are now an integral part of the Yosemite bear management program.
So, rather than some dramatic bear-human incidents around that Snow Creek terrace area, perhaps Yosemite NP ecologists just saw that the bears were using that area extensively, as a den site perhaps. Would that be enough to instigate an area closure?

¹Berryman Institute, Using Global Positioning System Technology to Manage Human-Black Bear Incidents at Yosemite National Park

** Half and hour later: Here it is, I put "Snow Creek into my bear incident search and came up with the probable cause of the bear-related closure:
Two summers ago, in a shocking turn, park staffers found that one female black bear in the Snow Creek area, northeast of Yosemite Valley, had learned how to crack open bear canisters—a veritable coup in the human-bear innovation race. She doesn’t paw or jaw the canisters into submission. Instead, she stalks a particular backcountry campsite at night, sniffing out canisters stashed near ground level, moves them to a nearby 400-foot-high ledge, then lets gravity take over. “I think she kind of rolls them,” says Lee-Roney. The bear then scrambles to the base of the cliff and retrieves the goodies.
I wonder if it was worth it to the bear? If she batted the cans off the edge of the cliff they could end up at the foot of Mt Watkins?

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Re: Skiing a Circle- Yosemite Valley to Tuolumne Meadows and Back

Post by Wandering Daisy » Mon Apr 20, 2020 9:31 am

I have seen several bears on several occasions, particularly between Snow Creek bridge and Mt. Watkins when I did an early season hike about 3 years ago. The bears could have been coming out of hibernation. On the other hand the gal with me never saw the bears. I think a lot of people miss the bears because they simply are not looking for them. I am always scanning the area ahead of me for bears so I do not startle them. When there is snow on the trail I see quite a few bear tracks and then I yell out regularly and tap my trekking poles on rocks.

The camping closure is just for the buttress below the bridge. I suspect that more than bears are the "reason". It had been getting a lot of use. Bears have been rolling bear cans of cliffs for ages, and not only that one location on Snow Creek. Seriously, I seldom report bear activity in Yosemite to the rangers because they often over-react and close things down where bears are active. I think a bit of it is also fear of liability.

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Re: Skiing a Circle- Yosemite Valley to Tuolumne Meadows and Back

Post by bobby49 » Mon Apr 20, 2020 2:13 pm

The Porcupine Creek trailhead is a bit north of there on the highway. Between the trailhead and the Snow Creek bridge, I've seen bears on every trip.

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