Trip Report: Yosemite High Route (August & September, 2019)

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iainmacdonald
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Trip Report: Yosemite High Route (August & September, 2019)

Post by iainmacdonald » Fri Jan 24, 2020 6:41 pm

Hey folks, another trip report for your enjoyment. This once covers a two-part section hike of Skurka's Yosemite High Route accomplished last summer. AFAIK this is the most detailed TR this far covering this route, so hopefully it's informative. Enjoy!

https://www.iain-macdonald.com/yosemite ... rip-report








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Harlen
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Re: Trip Report: Yosemite High Route (August & September, 2019)

Post by Harlen » Fri Jan 24, 2020 10:57 pm

Hey Iain, from Ian, I really enjoyed your TR, and congratulations on the 2 trips. You do an amazing job of creating your TR's, with the map links, and the very complete photo doc., and your clear and informative writing. I like the way you combine shorter bits of text along with the photos, rather than pages of solid text. I also appreciate your attempt to compare trips, and that you give your honest appraisal of the scenery and the routes. I try to be a ruthless photo editor to avoid too many, too similar shots; I think you could edit the photos down a bit to shorten the report, and to emphasize some of your truly excellent photos. Take that advice or leave it-- you have some really great photography in your report! Kudos, and please keep them coming! Ian.
Last edited by Harlen on Sat Jan 25, 2020 12:34 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Trip Report: Yosemite High Route (August & September, 2019)

Post by wildhiker » Sat Jan 25, 2020 1:07 am

I enjoyed reading your report and viewing your many good photos. I'm also quite impressed by your pace and the distances you made each day even on the cross-country sections! I've been to most of the places you visited on this route on various trips starting in 1974! I'd say that this "Yosemite High Route" is a rather arbitrary route that cuts through a lot of beautiful country, but often misses many scenic and wild locations along the way that deserve further exploration. For example, it cuts across the various canyons in northern Yosemite, spending little time in each one. Yet they all have beautiful easy hikes down their lengths (at least the parts above the PCT) traversing flowery meadows and viewing great granite canyon walls.
-Phil

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Re: Trip Report: Yosemite High Route (August & September, 2019)

Post by Wandering Daisy » Sat Jan 25, 2020 11:46 am

Thanks for the great trip report. I assume lot of the location names used are those made up by Skruka. I have never heard of many. As a guide writer I do the same; if there is no official name or well known name for a place, I make one up (I do put those names inside quotes, so the reader knows they are made up). Names make route descriptions flow much better, rather than have to awkwardly say "the unnamed lake half a mile west of Lake 10,000). Totally agree that the Grand Canyon of the Tuolumne is a trip in itself, more appreciated with slower pace. I have done that slog from Pate Valley upward, and it is miserable, including rattlesnakes on the trail. Did you have any difficulty crossing Piute Creek?

Wildhiker- I agree with your assessment of the route. I too have been to almost all those places, plus more.

I feel all of Skurka's "high routes" would benefit from some more honest and detailed discussion on what his criteria are for the routes. There is nothing wrong with saying that a purpose of a route is contrived to be "gnarly" or to stay at higher elevations off trail even if the lower route via trail is actually more scenic. That would align the objectives of the person doing the route more with what Skurka envisions. Part of not particularly liking any route is a mismatch in objectives; you are expecting something and get something else. Northern Yosemite is sub-alpine canyon country, not particularly "high route" country, a disappointment if what you are expecting is alpine environments. I personally think northern Yosemite is wonderful, if you are open to what it is.

Also when you lollipop or loop a route that was intended to be a point-to-point route, it can detract from the original route. I did Roper's High Route as one continuous (however not contiguous) route which probably gives me a different perspective than someone doing bits and pieces over time. And to be fair, Roper spent a lifetime in the Sierra and spent several years putting together his high route. Given this, and that his route was the first popularized, it is tough to beat. I am sure, over time, Skurka's Yosemite High Route will be tweaked by those who do it and there will be better variations documented.

Disclosure: I am not much of a "thru-hiker". Halfway through any thru-route, I bail out because I want to spend more time at each specific location. Ropers High Route is the only one I have ever completed, and then I flip-flopped for logistical reasons.

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Re: Trip Report: Yosemite High Route (August & September, 2019)

Post by CAMERONM » Sat Jan 25, 2020 1:14 pm

Thanks for your informative report and extensive photography.
I have been researching Yosemite for next summer and your report confirms some reservations I have about the north and about what criteria Skurka used to lay down his route. I have done both the SHR and the PCT through the north and I wonder if should not just leave it at that for the time being, and keep south.

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Re: Trip Report: Yosemite High Route (August & September, 2019)

Post by davidsheridan » Sat Jan 25, 2020 1:55 pm

amazing adventure, thanks for posting and congratulations!

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Re: Trip Report: Yosemite High Route (August & September, 2019)

Post by balzaccom » Sun Jan 26, 2020 10:15 am

Beautiful report. Thanks for sharing it. While I have been to many of the places you visited, I am in awe of the mileage you covered and the speed you did it!

As with Daisy, our routes these days involve far free miles are far more resting/exploring. Tour trip is quite impressive.
Balzaccom

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Re: Trip Report: Yosemite High Route (August & September, 2019)

Post by Wandering Daisy » Sun Jan 26, 2020 12:41 pm

CameronM- there are a lot of really scenic canyons in Northern Yosemite that both the PCT and SHR and Skurka's new route miss. These locations are better suited for specific visits. If you try to "thru-route" them you are going "against the grain" topographically, adding a lot of work. Because of the topographic trends, think about loops out of Levett Meadows, Twin Lakes, Green Lakes, or Virginia Lake trailheads. Also depends on where you live; I live close so go a lot. If I had to drive from SoCal, I am not sure it is worth it if there are other closer locations on your agenda.

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Re: Trip Report: Yosemite High Route (August & September, 2019)

Post by LMBSGV » Sun Jan 26, 2020 2:59 pm

Beautiful report. Thanks for sharing it. While I have been to many of the places you visited, I am in awe of the mileage you covered and the speed you did it!
I share balzaccom's assessment. An amazing trip.

I also agree with WD's assertion about the canyon's of northern Yosemite. They are all unique and worth visiting.

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Re: Trip Report: Yosemite High Route (August & September, 2019)

Post by fpb56 » Thu Mar 26, 2020 7:00 pm

Great TR and photos

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