Water Availability Hiking to El Capitan?
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Tony Wong
(Valshar) - MLife

Locale: San Francisco Bay Area
Water Availability Hiking to El Capitan? on 08/15/2010 20:47:10 MDT Print View

This upcoming weekend, my 68 yr old dad and I are hiking from Tamarack Flat Campground to El Capitan.

Looking at the topo map, there are two possible water resupplies:

1. Cascade Creek

2. Ribbon Creek

Does anyone know if these are running at this time or are they dry?

Concerned that if they dry, that the 17 mile round trip is not safe to do.

Thanks for any info that you can provide.

-Tony

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

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: Water Availability Hiking to El Capitan? on 08/15/2010 22:42:29 MDT Print View

I've done that trip many times, although never so late in the season as this. I would -guess- that Cascade Creek has water in it. At a bare minimum, it should have old pools, even if there isn't much flow.

Ribbon Creek is more problematic. It might be dry by this time. There is a trib of Ribbon Creek that you are crossing and near, and it might have some water in it.

Then, in the event that you get past El Cap, there is another stream about 1/2 mile beyond. Hard to say.

--B.G.--

Tony Wong
(Valshar) - MLife

Locale: San Francisco Bay Area
Re: Water Availability Hiking to El Capitan? on 08/16/2010 14:53:34 MDT Print View

Bob,

Thanks for taking the time to give me your insight.

My dad called up to Yosemite and they are saying that things are running, but might not be specific for the two creeks that I am looking at.

This is just a day hike....there and back sorta thing.

Still, I want to know that there is water along the way...just in case.

-Tony

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

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: Re: Water Availability Hiking to El Capitan? on 08/16/2010 16:06:14 MDT Print View

Tony, since this is an out and back hike, I would suggest you do it this way. Start your hike with an extra quart or two of water (carried by you, the young buck). Carry it in and stash it in the woods slightly off the trail near the bottom of the big hill, which is on the fire road just north of the Cascade Creek bridge. Then attempt to pick up some cool water from Cascade Creek if any is present. On the way back to the car later in the day, you pick up cool water from the creek again, or else you have the stashed water as a backup. The two uphill places along this trail are where you will need the water the most. One is at about Mile 4-5 on the way going, and the other is over the last 2.5 miles heading home. The former is worse since it is sun-exposed, but it would be earlier in the day, so it won't be so hot. The latter will be late in the day, and you will be too tired to do anything more intelligent with water.

The Yosemite Backcountry Office is notorious for being poorly informed on specific trail conditions. They get some trail reports early in the season when they are trying to get trails open. But late in the season, they figure "who cares?"

--B.G.--