Hetch Hetchy/Vernon Loop

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suziet_
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Hetch Hetchy/Vernon Loop

Post by suziet_ » Tue Feb 21, 2017 1:12 pm

Hello,

I've obtained a permit for MDW to do the Hetch Hetchy/Lake Vernon Loop starting Friday and ending Monday. We will be entering Beehive Meadows and exiting Rancheria Falls. I am curious about if anyone has recommendations, helpful hints, things to look out for or tips having to do with the path we will be hiking. Also, what's the situation on camp fires?








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balzaccom
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Re: Hetch Hetchy/Vernon Loop

Post by balzaccom » Tue Feb 21, 2017 4:11 pm

Is the bridge at Wapama Falls open? Last I looked it was damaged and closed. That will pretty much alter your route.

Anything above 6000 feet is going to have a ton of snow for the next couple of months...
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Re: Hetch Hetchy/Vernon Loop

Post by oldranger » Tue Feb 21, 2017 4:30 pm

Are you kidding me? Vernon Lake had 7 feet of snow at the end of January, Beehive 61/2 feet. There is more now and it is snowing currently. This won't be packed walk on top of snow.

1. Unless you are experienced in winter travel in severe conditions you should not attempt this trip.

2. Under the conditions even if you are experienced it is unlikely you could complete the trip in the alloted time.

Friday looks OK weatherwise but the remainder of the time significant winds and snowfall are likely.

Don't do it!

Oh one more thing from Yosemite NP website: Beehive Trail (from Rancheria Falls Trail) is closed due to rockslides.
Mike

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maverick
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Re: Hetch Hetchy/Vernon Loop

Post by maverick » Tue Feb 21, 2017 5:36 pm

Hi Suziet,

Welcome to HST!
I've obtained a permit for MDW to do the Hetch Hetchy/Lake Vernon Loop starting Friday and ending Monday
What dates, surely you are not planning to do this, this coming weekend!
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Re: Hetch Hetchy/Vernon Loop

Post by longri » Tue Feb 21, 2017 5:51 pm

I think "MDW" is code for Memorial Day Weekend.

It should be less snowy then than it is now, but I'll bet there will still be a lot of snow. This year is looking somewhat like 2011 and that year I went to do that loop on Memorial Day weekend. We never got past Beehive Meadow, there was just too much snow. I don't know what I was thinking. In fact, it was snowing when we were there. It snowed as low as Yosemite Valley that weekend.

Beehive Meadow - 28 May 2011
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oldranger
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Re: Hetch Hetchy/Vernon Loop

Post by oldranger » Tue Feb 21, 2017 6:00 pm

I think "MDW" is code for Memorial Day Weekend.
Oh! :o still an iffy proposition. Still some snow and Tiltil Valley will be flooded.
Mike

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Re: Hetch Hetchy/Vernon Loop

Post by SSSdave » Tue Feb 21, 2017 7:06 pm

The stopper will be Falls Creek below Wapama Falls even if the bridge is still there. It is a large stream early season and with this winter's deep snowpack is certain to be flowing above the bridge walk way well into June and maybe July.

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Re: Hetch Hetchy/Vernon Loop

Post by longri » Tue Feb 21, 2017 7:43 pm

Did the bridge get damaged this year?

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Re: Hetch Hetchy/Vernon Loop

Post by kpeter » Tue Feb 21, 2017 10:01 pm

The bridge at the outlet of Vernon will probably be impassable and highly dangerous at that time. During the peak of runoff, the water surrounds the bridge and requires wading for up to 20 feet through very swift water passing over a smooth granite slab. The year I was there was drier and later in June, and a woman was swept from the bridge area and had to be medevaced.

The first picture below shows Falls Creek below the bridge several days after its peak--a full 24" lower than its crest. In the next picture you can see water flowing around the far (north) side of the bridge. At this point it is a mere film since it has receded. A couple of days earlier the water was high enough to be running vigorously around both ends of the bridge. This was on June 17 of 2010, which was not an especially high snow year and several weeks later than you would be traveling. It is hard to imagine the snow melting out sufficiently to reduce this danger prior to Memorial Day. If late May were very cool, perhaps the stream would not be impassable, but that is pretty unlikely.

The best option would be to plan for an in-and-out rather than a loop, going from Hetch Hetchy through Beehive to Vernon and back the same way. Such a route would not cross any major streams.
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maverick
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Re: Hetch Hetchy/Vernon Loop

Post by maverick » Wed Feb 22, 2017 10:02 am

Kpeter wrote:
The year I was there was drier and later in June, and a woman was swept from the bridge area and had to be medevaced.
Vividly remember this incident too: http://www.laweekly.com/news/gregory-me ... nt-2395814
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I don't give out specific route information, my belief is that it takes away from the whole adventure spirit of a trip, if you need every inch planned out, you'll have to get that from someone else.

Have a safer backcountry experience by using the HST ReConn Form 2.0, named after Larry Conn, a HST member: http://reconn.org

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