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Yosemite, North Rim, May 23-26 2009
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Dylan Snodgrass
(TrueNorth)

Locale: San Francisco, CA
Yosemite, North Rim, May 23-26 2009 on 05/31/2009 20:55:19 MDT Print View

My wife and I recently hiked the North Rim of Yosemite during the Memorial Day weekend.

Trip description:
-4 day point to point
-Total mileage:~31 miles
-Elevation Gain/Loss: Oh ya..!
-Temperature range:35F-70F
- Map Used: Tom Harrison, Yosemite High
Country Trail Map.

Day 1:
Old Big Oak Flat Road (OBOFRT), sometimes called "rockslides" to Cascade Creek.
Mileage:~5 miles

Day 2:
Cascade creek to Yosemite Falls.
Mileage:~12 miles

Day 3:
Yosemite Falls to Snow Creek Trail at the North rim/Snow Creek Falls area.
Mileage:~7.5

Day 4:
Snow Creek Falls to the valley floor.
Mileage:~6 miles

We followed the excellent tips from a recent article describing this trip in Backpacker Magazine.
http://www.backpacker.com/yosemites_north_rim_exclusive_google_flyover_video_photo_slideshow/destinations/13062

Day one tips:
I can't say enough about the OBOFRT trail. You leave the craziness of the valley immediately and have some of the best views in the park all to yourself. The OBOFRT is not hard to follow but do pay attention to the cairns when crossing the rock slides (non technical scrambles). Make sure you keep your camp clean at Cascade creek, we had bear activity during the night.

Day Two tips:
We did encounter some snow on day two around the ribbon meadow area that required some route finding. The trail is flagged with red metal tags on trees for routing across snow but there is some distance between them. No big deal but expect to slow down in that area. Of course it's melting fast so I'm sure things are different already. We really enjoyed climbing down a little ways from the top of El Cap to were it breaks off and peering over the abyss. Two climbers came over the edge while we were there, five days on the rock! Excellent campsites above Yosemite Falls along Yosemite Creek for night number two.

Day three tips:
We chose to follow Lehamite Creek instead of taking the scenic route via North Dome, in retrospect we regretted it. The Lehamite Creek portion of the trail is nice (and steep) but North Dome looks much more spectacular. A good spot for a dip in Snow Creek is approx .2 miles before you reach the North Rim, just past the bridge. We had the BEST campsite I have ever had in my 20 years of backpacking. Why? The view of Half Dome is amazing.

Day 4:
Its elevator shaft steep to Mirror Lake and you're home. We hopped the shuttle back to trail head parking and before we knew it, were taking showers in Curry Village. The easiest way to return bear cans is by parking in the Yosemite Village Store lot and walking through the store to the Wilderness Center.

Begining of the OBOFRT.
Begining of the OBOFRT

First view of Bridalveil Falls, 15 minutes into the hike!
First view of Bridalveil Falls, 15 minutes into the hike!

The first of many rock slides to scramble over, El Cap in the background.
The first of many rockslides to scramble over, El Cap in the background.

Snow around the Ribbon Medows area.
Snow around the Ribbon Medows area.

Trail markers to follow thru Ribbon Medows area.
Trail markers to follow thru Ribbon Medows area.

Top of El Cap.
Top of El Cap

Awesome camp above Yosemite Falls on Yosemite creek.
Awesome camp above Yosemite Falls on Yosemite creek.

Campsite with amazing view of Half Dome.
Campsite with amazing view of Half Dome.

Loving it!
Loveing it!

Apline glow shot from the tent, truly amazing spot to pitch a tent, did I mention...no mosquitos!
Apline glow shot from the tent, truly amazing spot to pitch a tent, did I mention...no mosquitos!

My attempt to go lighter, we are using freezer bag cooking now. What a great system.
My attempt to go lighter, we are using freezer bag cooking now.  What a great system.

Gear issues, worked/did not work.
We choose to wear boots thinking we would encounter much more snow than we did. Although handy for the portion we did encounter snow, trail runners would have been sufficient.
New to our camping gear is Aqua Mira and freezer bag cooking. Thank you BPL community! Both are a leap forward in making our packs lighter.
*Alert to husbands* I ditched the tarp and we brought a tent. I also dropped the 3/4 length Thermareast Prolight pads for insulated air core pads w/ 2 1/2 of comfort. Neither of these are ultralight by any means but my wife was much more comfortable. She is already asking when are we going on our next trip! Something must be working...
If you have any questions about this hike please feel free to ask.

Edited by TrueNorth on 05/31/2009 21:37:47 MDT.

Jared Cook
(rooinater) - F

Locale: Northwet
Re: Yosemite, North Rim, May 23-26 2009 on 05/31/2009 21:09:45 MDT Print View

great trip report! great pictures! is that a rei half dome or quarter dome I see? I have a half dome lying around here that we use for car camping now. The freezer bag cooking method has really cleaned up the mess and added to the simplicity of my backpacking also.

I really need to get to yosemite one of these years.

Edited by rooinater on 05/31/2009 21:10:34 MDT.

Dave T
(DaveT) - F
camp. on 06/01/2009 11:10:57 MDT Print View

What a campsite near Half Dome!

Nice.

Steven Evans
(Steve_Evans) - MLife

Locale: Canada
Re: Yosemite, North Rim, May 23-26 2009 on 06/01/2009 11:45:01 MDT Print View

Wow, that is a seriously amazing campsite - and I mean AMAZING!!!!...good call on the extra luxuries for your main squeeze. You should see what I bring when I go with my girlfriend :)

Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Re: Yosemite, North Rim, May 23-26 2009 on 06/01/2009 11:49:28 MDT Print View

Dylan,

An excellent adventure!! And few people encountered in Yosemite on a holiday weekend.

Yep, sometime you have to make gear concessions to make the ladies happy; but if Momma is happy, everyone is happy.

:)

Ken Helwig
(kennyhel77) - MLife

Locale: Scotts Valley CA via San Jose, CA
Re: Yosemite, North Rim, May 23-26 2009 on 06/01/2009 13:11:13 MDT Print View

Dylan, nice trip report. I want to do this hike too!
When I hike with my wife we split stuff up and we usually have a baseweight of 11-12 lbs each. I always bring a good sleeping pad for her and make sure we use the tent. Make it fun, and they will go!

Joe Westing
(pedro87) - F
Re: Yosemite, North Rim, May 23-26 2009 on 06/01/2009 13:32:10 MDT Print View

Dylan,

I agree with the others...fantastic trip report! I saw this trip in Backpacker too and it seemed like an amazing route. Your pictures definitely confirm that. So jealous of all you Californians. Though I find Backpacker useless for gear, I still subscribe to enjoy their trip/route suggestions and articles. That magazine never fails to make me want to get out on a trip...for all its failings, it's still totally the money for me.

@Jared

It looks like his tent is the Half Dome (http://www.rei.com/product/728308). I have the old version of the Quarter Dome and I love it. Lux for solo use and usually ok for two (I am fairly short and slim which helps).

Richard Gless
(rgless) - MLife

Locale: San Francisco Bay Area
Yosemite, North Rim, May 23-26 2009 on 06/01/2009 14:23:34 MDT Print View

I saw this in Backpacking mag as well. Obviously a great trip. What were the stream crossings like? I would have thought they would be pretty hard, especially Yosemite Creek above the falls.

Jeffrey Davis
(Gallamar) - F

Locale: San Francisco Bay Area
Re: Yosemite, North Rim, May 23-26 2009 on 06/01/2009 22:46:54 MDT Print View

Great trip report - thank you for the commentary and excellent photos. That campsite looks amazing. Great motivation to get out and do the North Rim. Enjoy the next trip together!

Jim MacDiarmid
(jrmacd) - MLife
Nice Trip. on 06/02/2009 10:15:04 MDT Print View

Looks like a great trip. Yosemite Valley is great (once you get our of the valley). I day hiked up Yosemite Falls a few weekends ago and saw the place where you camped. Made me wish I had my stuff. Thought about making a frantic run for El Capitan, but I was wondereing up snow-coverage, and it was getting late in the day. Glad I didn't try now.

I had actually been looking into that trip up OBOFR to the top of El Capitan as a 1-nighter How did you get to the trailhead? Looking at the park map, it didn't look like the valley shuttle went that far, and didn't want to walk from there to the the closest stop on top of what I was already hiking.

edit: Then again, if there was bear activity at Cascade Creek, I'm glad the my plans didn't pan out.

Edited by jrmacd on 06/02/2009 10:30:46 MDT.

Tom Clark
(TomClark) - MLife

Locale: East Coast
Re: Yosemite, North Rim, May 23-26 2009 on 06/06/2009 14:45:22 MDT Print View

I enjoyed the report & photos. Have you seen Tony Farley's "Beautiful Places TV" episodes on North Dome and Yosemite Falls? I think you'd like the views.

http://www.onnetworks.com/videos/beautiful-places-in-hd/yosemite-north-dome

Edited by TomClark on 06/06/2009 14:55:14 MDT.

Kendall Clement
(socalpacker) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Yosemite, North Rim, May 23-26 2009 on 06/29/2009 11:24:23 MDT Print View

Great pics and report. I also saw this in Backpacker Mag and am planning to make this hike this summer. Your pics and report have made me look forward to it even more!

Thanks,
Kendall

Edited by socalpacker on 06/30/2009 14:47:34 MDT.

Ny-Ann Nolasco
(bluepigband) - F
OBOFORT trail on 06/29/2010 23:16:57 MDT Print View

Hi, thanks so much for your trail report. We're doing this hike this weekend, and your and Kelly Bastone's article from backpacker are the two main literature we're basing our trip from. Thanks so much.

I had a few questions, and hopefully this is still an active forum so it'll get to you in time. :)

1. The first day with 5 miles, how long did it take you to climb ascent to the trail? We're planning to leave SF Friday then start the trail around 1 or 1:30. Is this still doable? I know it's only 5 miles, but it looked and sounded pretty brutal.

2. Parking -- how did you guys deal with parking and/or shuttle issues?

Once again, your trip report is excellent and thank you so much.

Dylan Snodgrass
(TrueNorth)

Locale: San Francisco, CA
Yosemite, North Rim, May 23-26 2009 on 06/29/2010 23:30:24 MDT Print View

You will love this trip!

1. No problem, if you start by 1:30 you can make it. It is in no way a brutal hike. The views will slow you down some I recommend taking time to enjoy them. The last part of the OBOFRT is clear and wide you could hike it with headlamps if you had to. Just be mindful when crossing the rockslide areas (at the beginning) and you will be fine.

2. Driving out of the valley (west?) just past El Cap meadow there is a pullout on your right. We parked in this pullout and didn't have any problems. The pullout consisted of a wide spot with a very short "road" to a dirt sort of a parking area. We did leave a note for the rangers with our itinerary in the window.

* Make sure you bring bear cans we had bear activity our first night and saw plenty of prints and scat the rest of the trip. Your going to love it!

Ryan Tucker
(BeartoothTucker) - M
thanks on 06/30/2010 07:01:42 MDT Print View

great story and pics. thanks for sharing. looks like a beautiful area.

Dave T
(DaveT) - F
yosemite. on 06/30/2010 10:09:09 MDT Print View

dylan,

thanks for that trip report. what a great route!

nice one!

dave.

Christopher Konsowitz
(TheKonz)

Locale: Southeast
Awesome on 06/30/2010 20:15:16 MDT Print View

Dylan,

Great trip report and again what an amazing campsite!! These pictures make me wish I was out there right now!

Chris

Jarod Fleming
(flemdawg1) - F

Locale: SE US
just reserved this trip as a 2-nighter on 07/01/2010 13:28:27 MDT Print View

I noticed you used a free-standing tent in the pics, would a non free-stander (TT Rainshadow 2) work?

Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: just reserved this trip as a 2-nighter on 07/01/2010 14:04:06 MDT Print View

The entire North Rim is well below timberline, so the type of shelter is not critical. I've slept "out" there on many years.

--B.G.--

Jarod Fleming
(flemdawg1) - F

Locale: SE US
How were the water sources? on 07/01/2010 15:14:07 MDT Print View

I'm coming for the Southeast where water is somewhat abundant and going on this trip July29-31 (dropping back into the valley at Yosemite Falls). Should I carry more than 3 liters at a time (I sweat like a beast)? maybe an extra 4liter Nalgene Canteen or platy? Looks like water should be OK @ Cascade Creek and Yosemite Falls/Creek, any in between those 2 points (12 miles)?