Apr 22, 2014 at 2:19 pm #1315937
Background: My wife and I, mid 30’s, are planning a getaway week (from our kids 3 & 5) for the first week of June (3rd – 10th).
We've booked cheap round-trip flights from Cleveland (900’ above sea level) to Las Vegas and will be renting a car.
Initially Yosemite, Death Valley and Mt. Whitney were on our list.
I’d like to poke around Death Valley in the early morning, either before or after Yosemite, but I’m not expecting to be there for the heat of the day.
We have friends who live in Yosemite Village that have offered to put us up when we’re not in the backcountry. Also, I scored permits to overnight on Whitney June 8/9th.
T 6/3: Arrive in Vegas at 6PM, car camp in Death Valley
W 6/4: AM visit some of DV’s highlights. Drive to Tuolumne, hike to Cathedral Lakes (or beyond)
R 6/5: Hike over Cloud’s Rest, camp near junction with JMT
F 6/6: Half Dome early AM, descend Mist to the Valley
S 6/7: Free Day in Yosemite – (North Rim Dayhike?)
S 6/8: Drive to Portal, hike to Consulation Lake
M 6/9: Summit Whitney, descend to portal
T 6/10: Free Day (tour more of DV, or Vegas) Depart at 5 PM
Understanding that a delayed snow melt could throw a wrench into any plans I make; I’d like to plan this assuming that the high elevation snowpack will be manageable. I have permits in place for the TM to Valley hike, including Half Dome. Since putting together the initial itinerary, I've spent hours and hours on this site reading, and I feel like I’m in a place where I could use some input. A trustworthy source suggested that climbing from the portal to Whitney’s peak would be more grueling than enjoyable and its making me wonder. My wife and I have been training … and are hitting up the Smoky’s for Memorial Day … but we can’t simulate 10,000’. I’m up for a challenge, but not if it means I can barely put one foot in front of the other, and can’t soak up the view.
Should I consider scrapping my Whitney permits, and save the summit for when I take my kids on the JMT in 2022? Then take a longer Yosemite backpacking trip (Red Peak Pass loop) or another overnight somewhere else in the Sierra?
Should I see how we handle the elevation at Half Dome and Tuolumne, and then decide on Whitney?
Should we just dayhike, and sleep comfy after sampling the Valley’s bars?
Alrighty then, maybe I scared all my help away with the long post, but I’m very interested in your advice! There are lots of experts here, so feel free to be opinionated, even if it’s just to point out that you think I’m a schmuck for trying to jam all this into one week.
Thank!Apr 22, 2014 at 3:55 pm #2095374
Humm, maybe you might consider to savoring things more slowly. Your itinerary has a bit of that "if this is Tuesday it must be Paris" feel. Only you guys know best what makes you happy, but one thing you might consider is the ratio of time spent traveling by car to time spend in the back country seems a bit high. Maybe a bit too logistically dense.
On the other hand some spectacular driving all around.
Honestly I'd say skip Whitney this time around, also maybe skip DV and drive straight to Yosemite. DV may not be the place you want to try to quickly hit "a few highlight" on the way from somewhere to somewhere else, unless it is strictly as a moto-tourist.
Also, this year it might be different I grant, but Whitney in early June has a very high potential to have you on snow for part of the way. Have you planned for that? Also the half-dome permit is even harder than the Whitney one.Apr 22, 2014 at 4:03 pm #2095377
@b-g-2-2Locale: Silicon Valley
"W 6/4: AM visit some of DV’s highlights. Drive to Tuolumne, hike to Cathedral Lakes (or beyond)"
There is about three or four days worth, right there.
"S 6/8: Drive to Portal, hike to Consulation Lake"
You are not allowing any time for acclimitization, so that makes the journey troublesome or risky. The roads are not that fast, either.
–B.G.–Apr 22, 2014 at 4:13 pm #2095381
Ken HelwigBPL Member
@kennyhel77Locale: Scotts Valley CA via San Jose, CA
agree with what the others have written. I would tackle some things around Yosemite. I can't help but feel you are being very optimistic on your daysApr 22, 2014 at 5:43 pm #2095418
The "drive to portal" also seemingly includes catching a shuttle from YV to somewhere near TM where the rental would have been.
Also "arrive in LV 6 pm, car camp in DV", unless you don't mean that literally, that is about 2 1/2 hours, not including any delays. In that time zone it will be dark 1 hour before you get there that time of year. Maybe you should catch the blue man group the first night and start early the next day.
I've done this myself, so I'm not trying to be overly critical. Last time was only about 6 month ago when I took my mom and step dad on a "hit all the sights in the Colorado Plateau" in 7 days. Too much and not enough all at the same time.
Like we say on here, less is more.Apr 22, 2014 at 7:47 pm #2095455
Marko, Bob and Ken, thanks for your feedback! It is very much appreciated and is exactly what I was looking for. I started to feel unsure about the itinerary the other day … And even more so when I composed the original post. Reading your notes I feel like maybe I caught some kind of fever or something. Getting away like this is … To a place like the Sierras is rare for us …. And I think I got carried away with ALL there is to do out there!
To respond to a couple of your questions…
Yes.I was planning on setting up a tent in the dark in DV a couple hours after landing in LV. Figuring that would give us an early start the next day … My only true defense is that I had also considered staying in LV that night as you suggested and catching dinner and some sightseeing.
Regarding acclimatization … I reserved a site to camp at the portal the night before… But was considering forgoing that to get an extra day in Yosemite …. With the thought that the three nights in Yosemite might help acclimate us. Typing this and proofreading it to myself now it does sound rushed … Or borderline ridiculous.
The friends we have in YV were considering joining us for Whitney … And would shuttle us back to our rental on the way to the portal.
Ok, so skipping Whitney seems like a no brainer to me. From LV maybe I take the quick route to Tuolomne along 95 … Google has this drive at 6 hours … Does that seem right? Then on the way back to LV I drive through Lone pine and death valley?
While in Yosemite, I'm thinking of keeping my backcountry permit and hiking from TM into the valley via cloud rest with a morning summit of half dome? Then maybe I add in an overnight along the north rim … At a slower pace than the day hike, or possibly include el cap. Or do you guys have another recommendation? I'm not as familiar with the areas aside from the valley…I'll start reading up on that tonight.
I'm very thankful for the feedback and I appreciate the critiques! I don't feel at all like your being overly critical.Apr 22, 2014 at 8:02 pm #2095464
@b-g-2-2Locale: Silicon Valley
"From LV maybe I take the quick route to Tuolomne along 95 … Google has this drive at 6 hours … Does that seem right?"
US 95 in Nevada? Good Grief No!
As I stated before, you are not estimating the highway speeds correctly. Mountain highways are slower.
–B.G.–Apr 22, 2014 at 8:22 pm #2095470
The trip from TM to YV via clouds rest actually sounds more like it. I'd look for ways to enlarge that if you can. BTW the views from Clouds rest are pretty much the best anywhere in the Sierra. After that, except for the novelty, even skipping half dome might be OK.Apr 23, 2014 at 7:34 am #2095530
Bob, thanks for the that. Yes, Nevada 95. Other than you guys, all I have to go on is what Google Maps is telling me. Any chance you could give me a rough estimate on the travel time from the LV airport to Tuolumne? 355 miles/50 mph would be about 7 hours. Do you think I could average 50 mph across that stretch? I’m not trying to push my luck on the mountain highways.
Here is a link to the map if that is helpful:
EDITED TO REMOVE LINK, AN EFFORT TO ALLEVIATE FORMATTING ISSUES?!
marko. Great stuff on clouds rest. It’s a place I’m pretty excited to visit. My initial plan was to descend, and camp east of the JMT/Clouds Rest Trail Junction, near the sunrise creek. This would give me a nice early morning summit on Half Dome. But. I’ve also read that there are a few campsites east of the clouds rest summit. I’m thinking a sunset view from up top would be cool, and then we could descend to the campsites nearest to the summit (by the clouds rest pinnacles ??) Does that sound doable or advisable?
T 6/3: Arrive in Vegas at 6PM, Vegas Night
W 6/4: AM Drive to Tuolumne (8hrs?), hike to Cathedral Lakes (4 mi)
R 6/5: Hike to Cloud’s Rest, camp near Pinnacles (9mi)
F 6/6: (3 mi) to JMT/CRT junction, setup camp, dayhike/explore
S 6/7: Half Dome early AM, descend Mist to the Valley
S 6/8: Free Day (North Rim Dayhike)?
M 6/9: Driving day (towards Las Vegas)
T 6/10: Free Day (tour DV, or Vegas) Depart at 5 PM
Look better? W 6/4 might still be a busy day … My permit requires entry on 6/4 … and from the Trailheads map, it looks like I need to reach the upper Cathedral lake to camp. Maybe I could split the drive up, and get a couple hours done on Tuesday night … Or pay the extra cash and take the earlier flight into LV :(Apr 23, 2014 at 8:29 am #2095550
Art …BPL Member
good to see you trying to slow it down a bit.
you could even slow it down a bit more.
since you are coming in at 6pm a night in Vegas is well worth it just for the spectacle. don't bother to try and catch one of the many great shows if you are there only for one night. you can be thoroughly entertained just cruising the giant lobbies of some of the main hotels (Belagio, Venetian, MGM, several others). the blocks on the strip are gigantic. there is a tram that goes thru several of the main hotels.
research it a bit to make the most of one night.
my personal opinion is this area is just average compared to all the other beautiful sights in the Sierra. you are only allowing half a day in Tuolumne after your 8 hour drive. simply scampering around the domes (and up one if you can do 3rd class) and checking out Tenaya lake (right on the road) would be equally nice. but then, there is nothing wrong with a hike to Cathedral either.
well if you've never been here, its probably a must do as tourist things go.
North Rim Day Hike
if you are summiting Half dome, I think this hike is redundant, unless you just want some exercise.
Other options on the East Side
1. out of Big Pine just south of Bishop – 5 mile hike (10 mi round trip) up North Fork to 3rd Lake (10,300) to get a great view of the north Palisade region. in my view this is a better, though longer, hike than out to Cathedral Lakes but would require some schedule modification. maybe this instead of touring Death Valley.
Death Valley has its own beauty, though desert beauty can be very nuanced and subtle.Apr 24, 2014 at 8:38 am #2095884
Ken HelwigBPL Member
@kennyhel77Locale: Scotts Valley CA via San Jose, CA
Paul, Art put out some great options for you. I agree with him on Cathedral Lake…it is nice, but there are better options available. I would change my route from Vegas and try to drive along Hwy 395 from Lone Pine all the way to Hwy 120. Along there, there are many wonderful options available for you. One that does not require much hiking (or as a day hike)is Little Lakes Valley. The trailhead is at 10,000 feet and the whole are is stunning. It is a nice place to camp too!Apr 24, 2014 at 1:56 pm #2096033
David AyersBPL Member
@djayersLocale: SF Bay Area
Glad to see you dropped the DV camping. 6/3 average min/max is 75/104. It could very well be near 100 much of the night.
395 moves well, 65+. But I recall the DV area highways being considerably slower. And 120 through Yosemite has a 45 MPH or lower speed limit. Few folks average even 45 since it's so tempting to stop and check out the views in so many places.
Sunset/sunrise on Cloud's Rest is possible, but bring a sizable water container to carry what you'll need up there.
I agree with Art, if you climb half dome it would be better to do Glacier Point or something else in the Valley area than the north rim.
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