Forum Index » General Lightweight Backpacking Discussion » April Trip 6 Nights, Recommendations - Yosemite?


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Justin Rhoades
(carlvp) - F
April Trip 6 Nights, Recommendations - Yosemite? on 02/23/2010 19:45:01 MST Print View

Hello All,

This is my first BPL post, though certainly not my first forum.

A friend I are planning a hike the second week of April in Yosemite, we would to do 6 nights/7days. Is it possible to such a hike in Yosemite of that duration during this time of year? We both have enough general backcountry experience, but little experience in snowy conditions and no experience with crampons and similar gear. We are both in our early 30s, fit, and geared up. If it is possible can anyone give a route suggestion? And if this seems a bit implausible for these conditions can anyone suggest an alternative National Park for this time of year?

In any case, I have indeed searched the forums for a suitable answer but as so often the case my particular question doesn't exactly suit any of the answers I've thus seen.

Finally, I'm moving more toward lightweight travel (go figure) and looking at the ULA Catalyst and the Six Moons Lunar Duo to further lighten the load. Sound like good choices? Will this tent handle April weather well?

Any help is very greatly appreciated,
C

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

Locale: Silicon Valley
reply to Carl on 02/23/2010 20:37:12 MST Print View

You might mention whether you are experienced at X-C skiing or snowshoeing. That will be a big factor, because typically during early April there is still a lot of snow on the ground, and that is when a major amount of snow melting is going on, so things tend to be pretty muddy below the snow level.

If you were equipped for over-snow travel, you could cross the entire park in that length of time, primarily following the unplowed Tioga Road. This year it will likely be late May or June before they get it plowed.

The one exception is Hetch Hetchy since it tends to be very low and warm (no snow). However, I can't think of any set of trails for that many days. Two or three days is good for Hetch Hetchy.
--B.G.--

Lori Pontious
(lori999) - M

Locale: Central Valley
Re: April Trip 6 Nights, Recommendations - Yosemite? on 02/23/2010 20:45:46 MST Print View

The parks in the Central/Southern Sierras will not yet be free of snow in April. Hetch Hetchy has some loops of adequate length but that will involve going above snow line.

For California, Henry Coe State Park has plenty of trails of varying combinations. There are other places along the coast that might suit you.

Edited by lori999 on 02/24/2010 08:36:02 MST.

Justin Rhoades
(carlvp) - F
Forgetting Yosemite on 02/24/2010 00:29:27 MST Print View

Okay,

I'm thinking Yosemite is out. Any suggestions otherwise? I saw another post where Canyonlands (Needles) was discussed. This looks great except that the trails aren't really continuous. Looks like we'd be doing quite a bit of backtracking.

Anything? Anywhere? Capitol Reef? Zion? Really like to keep it West of the Mississippi if possible.

C

Jack H.
(Found) - F

Locale: Sacramento, CA
Re: April Trip 6 Nights, Recommendations - Yosemite? on 02/24/2010 00:34:27 MST Print View

The Grand Canyon.

Justin Rhoades
(carlvp) - F
Grand Canyon on 02/24/2010 00:36:21 MST Print View

Saving that trip. Thanks for the suggestion thoughl

Dirk Rabdau
(dirk9827) - F

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Paria Canyon on 02/24/2010 01:00:22 MST Print View

http://www.utahwild.com/desert_canyon/paria_canyon.phtml

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

Locale: Silicon Valley
Death Valley on 02/24/2010 01:03:18 MST Print View

Death Valley is not deathly hot in that season, and that is during the wildflower bloom.
--B.G.--

Ken Thompson
(kthompson) - MLife

Locale: Behind the Redwood Curtain
April Trip 6 Nights on 02/24/2010 06:46:35 MST Print View

Lost Coast from Mattole to Usal would work for 6 nights

L Miller
(LMiller) - F

Locale: Maryland
Re: Forgetting Yosemite on 02/24/2010 06:56:54 MST Print View

Re: Needles - if you start at Cathedral Butte and end at Squaw Flat, you can put together a route that goes up Salt Creek, through Lost, Squaw and Big Spring canyons, around Chesler Park, up to Devil's Kitchen and out without any backtracking.

Or you could even add Cyclone Canyon and end up at Big Spring Canyon overlook.

This is one of the trips I considered for myself this April before I cut it down to 3 nights in the Needles.

Justin Rhoades
(carlvp) - F
Needles on 02/24/2010 14:03:10 MST Print View

That looks great. Tried calling their backcountry office all day, no luck.

How is that route for water?

C

Elizabeth Tracy
(mariposa) - M

Locale: Outside
Stick to Utah on 02/24/2010 16:41:01 MST Print View

April is phenomenal in Utah. Go there.

(I do most of my hiking in either the Desert Southwest or the High Sierra. Unless you're a very experienced backcountry skier, the best parts of the Sierra will be inaccessible to you till sometime in June when the snow has melted. As for Hetch Hetchy, it is, IMO, one of the *least* scenic parts of the Sierra.)

In Utah, like most other places, many (most?) of the extraordinary hiking routes are not even in the national parks. Think of the whole place as a park.

If I had six days, I'd spend the first four backpacking either down Grand Gulch or down Buckskin Gulch/Paria Canyon. (Both popular trips, easily google-able.) Grand Gulch has the best Anasazi ruins in the SW; and Buckskin/Paria is probably the best slot-canyon hike in the SW. Pick your poison. Call ahead to find out conditions in Buckskin/Paria (sometimes there is too much water, or too little.)

On the remaining two days, I'd explore either the Needles area or the Escalante River drainage. Or perhaps spend two days in Zion NP, hiking the Narrows and Angels Landing.

Jack H.
(Found) - F

Locale: Sacramento, CA
Re: Stick to Utah on 02/24/2010 20:37:16 MST Print View

Utah might be iffy this year in mid april. I live out in the desert and we've got a LOT of snow, and it's still falling. I was planning a Grand Gulch trip March 10-15, and we're canceling because there is too much snow. I was out in Capitol Reef last week (video will be on my blog soon), and couldn't do our planned itinerary because of the difficult post holing. 2-3 feet at 5500ft. If it keep snowing for the next two weeks, there will likely be snow covering many places, unless it heats up pretty seriously. I can update as time goes on. I'm moving Grand Gulch to around early April, hopefully it goes.

Edited by Found on 02/24/2010 20:38:16 MST.

L Miller
(LMiller) - F

Locale: Maryland
Re: Needles on 02/25/2010 06:35:22 MST Print View

Try calling right when they open. The rangers are really helpful, but a little long-winded so once they're on a call, it might be a while until they're free again.

There will be water in Salt Creek and Lost Canyon. I wouldn't count on it anywhere else.

Justin Rhoades
(carlvp) - F
The Needles Trip Reserved and Confirmed. Water?? on 02/26/2010 14:20:29 MST Print View

One of the Rangers helped me sort out an itinerary.

Night one: Chesler
Night two: Elephant
Night three: Squaw
Night four: Salt Creek at large
Night five: Salt Creek at large
Night six: Salt Creek #3

So water in Salt Creek and possibly Lost? That leaves a number of days in the beginning without any water sources. Is this correct? I've also heard that Elephant occasionally has pools of filterable water, but have heard conflicting reports. Really don't feel like carrying 3+ gal of water. Not very UL, but I've never done this sort of backpacking (without water). Is this what people normally do? Pack in that much water? Anyone help sort this situation out?

Thanks,
C

obx hiker
(obxcola) - MLife

Locale: Outer Banks of North Carolina
April Trip 6 Nights, Recommendations - Yosemite on 02/26/2010 18:13:50 MST Print View

The only place there isn't water is Chesler. When I get a minute I'll make you a map of where to get it.

Justin Rhoades
(carlvp) - F
Re: April Trip 6 Nights, Recommendations - Yosemite on 02/26/2010 18:58:15 MST Print View

That would be fantastic.

Many many thanks,
C

obx hiker
(obxcola) - MLife

Locale: Outer Banks of North Carolina
Water Needles on 02/26/2010 19:46:12 MST Print View

The various streams in Needles almost all have water at some point along the way. They may be dry as a bone for a mile of more and then the elevation reaches a harder bedrock layer and water appears. Elephant canyon has water all the way from the intersection with the Squaw Flats campground tral up to the end at Druid arch in these intervals. Thers is definitely exposed water around EC2 and EC3. There is probably water in the wash near the southern trail nearest Druid Arch into Chesler. This trail also goes through a couple of tight spots around ephemeral drop-offs and especially in April there may be water in the pool formed by the drop. The same trail crosses a few big cracks in the sandstone that may hold water nearer to Chesler. There might also be water in the benches up above and around the "joint" which you must visit, as well as down inside the joint. Bring your head-lamps and explore the side cracks as well as the big parallel joints to the one that forms "the trail"; especially west of the "trail joint". There's a veritable cave system in there. Look for any large areas of flat rock that may have a depression in the middle which will hold water. Large free standing rocks like giant boulders that have a depression on top often make tanks or as Craig Childs tells us they are called in Spanish Tinajas. Matter of fact Childs describes this area in a part of House of Rain. I'd heartily recommend that book as well as "The Secret Knowledge of Water" as reading before or during this adventure. There's water all along Lost and along Salt. Good campsite on Salt a liitle upstream from the side canyon to Angel Arch. When you see a side trail in Salt follow it. It leads to ruins or rock art or both. The stretch from Chesler to Elephant and over to Lost and then fom Squaw over to Peekaboo is just amazing terrain. Depending on where you are in Chesler ( hopefully over to the SE towards the Joint) you could make camp and hike back over to Elephant for water if you can't find any. That 2 miles or so is just a great stretch of scenery.


water Elephant Canyon

Water , what water? I think this is in Lost @ May 10,2005

needles

Edited by obxcola on 02/26/2010 20:03:20 MST.

Justin Rhoades
(carlvp) - F
Needles - AMAZING on 04/27/2010 00:27:14 MDT Print View

Absolutely wonderful trip. 7 days and 6 nights. Like nowhere I'd ever been before. Thanks to everyone for the tips and suggestions, especially regarding water availability. Here is a link to some of my pics:

Canyonlands National Park, Needles. 4/10 - 4/17.

Edited by carlvp on 04/27/2010 00:30:43 MDT.