Ideas for California Backpacking. Might need to change plans.

11:52 p.m. on May 27, 2019 (EDT)
Vern Oldham
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2 forum posts

My friend and I have been planning a Yosemite trip from late June to Early July.  A 6 day trip in the high backcountry starting at Hetch Hetchy and ending at Tuolumne meadows.  Got the permits and everything and now we're thinking the snowpack and high waters may prevent us from pretty much any decent trip up there.  Anyone have any ideas of another awesome place for a nice 5-6 day 50-60 mile trip in California.  I live near L.A. and he lives near S.F.

I look forward to reading your ideas!

9:51 a.m. on May 28, 2019 (EDT)
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4,163 forum posts

Late June is a month away.  It is going to get hot soon.  Bring some crampons and keep the same schedule.  I can  remember two pack trips in the Sierra that were after real snowy years.  We crossed a few snow drifts above 9,800 feet.  The creeks were higher than usual.  Otherwise they were  just a  years with great wild flowers. 

Or you can move to a lower elevation. 

7:44 p.m. on May 28, 2019 (EDT)
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3,572 forum posts

Vern, I concur with Ppine, you should not fret the snow.  I have seen snow that time of year pose a considerable challenge to backpacking only once in my 45+ years hiking the Sierra.  Bring crampons and a walking staff or trekking poles.  You will probably need these only to get over bands of snow that may cross approaches to passes.  If you have to travel over a longer section of snow, consider starting the day early when the snow is still firm, allowing you to walk on top of it, versus post holing.

You may find crossing streams at the standard crossing points too risky, but only at lower elevations.  I have always been able to find an alternative point to ford further up or down stream.  Anticipate this contingency as it can add a couple of hours to reaching the day's objective.

You may also be forced to skirt short sections of the trail acting as seasonal freshets or low lying portions flooded with standing water.  But no big deal.

Vern: GO! The Sierra will be exceptional this year at that time of the season.  This is the chance of a life time to see the Sierra in such beautiful condition.


11:31 p.m. on May 29, 2019 (EDT)
Vern Oldham
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2 forum posts

OK, thanks guys.  I think this is the encouragement we needed.  It has been an insane winter in the Sierras and we were not sure what to expect.  We're going!  Thanks to you!

July 3, 2020
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