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Topic: Evolution Valley in Thanksgiving, Need insight< Next Oldest | Next Newest >
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PostIcon Posted on: Sep. 12 2013, 6:55 pm  Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

My friend and I want to plan a 5 day backpacking trip to evolution valley. I believe the loop he wants to do is around 30+ miles. I have been winter camping in Yosemite before in late december, so i know how cold it can get, but i would like some input on weather (Nov. 27-Dec. 1), trail conditions, gear (snowshoes?), elevation, points of interest, or any information in general.

I also plan on bringing my fly fishing rod with me.

Thanks in advance.


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PostIcon Posted on: Sep. 12 2013, 7:43 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Interesting, curious to see the comments. I've been in there but it was some time ago. My fading memory is skeptical it'd compute for that time of year but I defer to the Sierra gurus on this board.
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PostIcon Posted on: Sep. 12 2013, 9:21 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Evolution Valley is 10K, so I'm not sure what access you think will be used, but I would think the snow would be deep, too deep for my comfort.  Bishop Pass is 11,972.  LaMarck Col is 13,400.  A 30 mile loop sounds like North Lake to South Lake, and the only way to get there without adding lots of miles is over the Col.  I did that loop a year ago, about early Sept.  Not something I would choose to do in Nov, even in my crazy 30's.  Good luck to you and your hiking partners.  

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PostIcon Posted on: Sep. 12 2013, 10:10 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Where in Yosemite in late December?

Which route are looking at? Also you'd need a low elevation bailout route as an alternate that time of year as once the weather decides to throw the winter switch there could be six feet of snow dropping with one storm. A storm that some years comes in October... Other years not until January.

Plan B? Head over Piute Pass and wander over to Desolation Lake and mess around Humprey's Basin with one eye on the weather. If things got iffy you could haul ass back over the pass and get down. One item to check is when they gate the road. Access up there to 9500 feet is closed off for the same reasons Yosrmite doesn't allow overnight parking along Tioga Road past October 15th: one good storm and the vehicles are there until spring. I've made quite a few Spring trips walking up to the snowline  on roads that later on would be easy drives. Inyo would have the schedule somewhere and I expect its a fixed date.
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PostIcon Posted on: Sep. 13 2013, 10:28 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

bring some ice skates!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uoimVpRHnQA
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PostIcon Posted on: Sep. 13 2013, 10:33 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

You have skis?

If you have to snowshoe, that sounds EPIC - cut those miles per day in half...

There is not much of Yosemite that is over 10K, so I suspect that you are not prepared for alpine winter conditions...

Fly fishing? What kind of ice breaking equipment are you toting for that? Even if this is another dry year and there isn't a lot of snow, lakes over 10k freeze over. Fish will be deep and eating things other than flies...


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PostIcon Posted on: Sep. 13 2013, 10:36 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

OH wait - you said valley, not evolution basin. The valley isn't 10k. The passes and the basin will be.

It'll still be cold. Passes will be snowy.

Fishing won't be good...

Florence Lake facilities will be closed, as will Kaiser Pass and Courtright roads. Not a lot of bailouts - you'll be scrambling over a pass if (when) a storm hits the area and starts whiting out your route...


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PostIcon Posted on: Sep. 13 2013, 10:39 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

P.S. If you have to ask these questions you ain't ready for a long winter trudge - the margin of error diminishes to a very thin line. You're talking about mountaineering at this point, not camping.

People who do this stuff are not prepared with just "winter camping" - you can car camp in winter in Yosemite, but you are talking about backcountry winter, not the same thing at all. You do not worry about JUST the cold. Unless you are EXPERIENCED with snow travel, avalanche potential assessment, how to dress, how to camp, how to survive a winter blow, and the other risks (navigation without a trail? ever heard of trench foot?) you're increasing the risk exponentially trying to be out there for nearly a week. Shelters need to be able to withstand a snow load and/or wind.

There is a reason the resorts and roads shut down mid-October - that's the time when it's likely a real winter snowstorm will come down and bury the range. In a normal snow year you'd be at risk of deep powder (snowshoes won't even keep you from post-holing), white out (can't see where you're going). And if you go out when it's not snowy, and the storm hits while you're out there - forecasts aren't perfect, the mountains have their own weather - you may come back to your car and find you have an additional X miles walk out in snow, and a ruined car - cars buried in snow over the winter aren't high on the priority list for the forest service... they warn ya.


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PostIcon Posted on: Sep. 13 2013, 11:58 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Speaking of whiting out the trail, it's hard to overstate how disorienting that can be. One late October we went out Cedar Grove Roadend up towards Sphinx Creek and got maybe a foot of a bit more of snow. Nothing big travel wise and the weather cleared the next day but the route navigation entirely changed: instant "off trail" very detailed navigation as there was no hint of the trail treadway for the most part.

An area and geology we were familiar with but evenso it was a lot slower heading out "on our own" as it were. And that was with the advantage of the cleared weather, an ongoing storms shutting down all distance visibility adds another entire dimension.

ETA: North Lake, Piute Pass and a return over Lamarck Col is still 39 miles: thirty percent longer than your route: so what is that 30 mile route specifically? FWIW relying on Alpine Col would be very problematic in any kind of weather....

Gorgeous country (so I'm totally understanding the attraction)  and I'm WAY past time to head back over that way, but that's a very tricky timeframe.
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PostIcon Posted on: Sep. 13 2013, 12:44 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

You know, when I was looking at my maps to reply to this query, I saw that the Valley proper was over 9K, but I could see no real way to make a loop out of it without going over a pass higher than 12K.  I assumed he was talking about Evolution Basin instead, and based my answer on that.  Even N Lake to S Lake is over 30 miles, but that was the only thing I saw in the area to provide a loop.  

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PostIcon Posted on: Sep. 13 2013, 2:01 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

IIRC a quick pop at Sierra South last night had North Lake to South Lake via Piute Pass, Evolution Valley and Bishop Pass as 59 miles? But you're right though it's a short connect it's not a "loop" unless you've got a marathon runner along who thinks the jog back from dropping off the car is a downshift from her normal morning routine.. lol
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PostIcon Posted on: Sep. 13 2013, 3:51 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Any time I think about N-S Lake loop, I never consider Piute Pass. LaMarck Col takes about 25 or so miles off of it.  True, it is not quite a loop, but it is easy enough to catch a ride back to the car, or to the TH, to close the loop.

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PostIcon Posted on: Sep. 13 2013, 4:04 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(ol-zeke @ Sep. 13 2013, 12:51 pm)
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Any time I think about N-S Lake loop, I never consider Piute Pass. LaMarck Col takes about 25 or so miles off of it.  True, it is not quite a loop, but it is easy enough to catch a ride back to the car, or to the TH, to close the loop.

I was going more with the OP saying the goal was Evolution Valley....
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PostIcon Posted on: Sep. 13 2013, 4:20 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Check this before you go..

http://www.mountain-forecast.com/


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PostIcon Posted on: Sep. 13 2013, 5:23 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

I would start by saying thanks to all the posters in this thread. There is certainly a wealth of knowledgeable people here.

This trip was suggested by a friend that without too much research besides a book that suggested this loop. I hadn't done too much research prior to posting this thread, but through my independent research about the terrain, weather at that time of year, our gear/fitness/expertise, as well as the posts here...I can 99% say that we will not be doing this trip. I believe my friend was being very ambitious, while I am more of the cautious type.

I was hard pressed to find any trip reports in that area in the winter time.

We still would like to take a 4-day trip around thanksgiving though...any ideas?


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PostIcon Posted on: Sep. 13 2013, 5:39 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Death Valley, mid elevations to lower elevation would be good then. Might be able to get on top of some of the higher peaks (DV being drier than the Sierras), also possible the higher peaks have "gone technical", i.e. snow/ice making them mountaineering, not hiking.

Not sure of your traveling parameters, but I've done 34 midwinter Grand Canyon trips and, in my opinion, that is the prime time to be there.

Short daylight then, long evenings. Nice to be in a location to enjoy the night sky.
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PostIcon Posted on: Sep. 13 2013, 8:39 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic.  Ignore posts   QUOTE

Thanksgiving trips I am looking at include Henry Coe State Park - tho I am the ambitious sort who will try to make it out into the remote corners of it - Point Reyes (winter is the best time for the coast trips), Ohlone Wilderness, and some of the better traveled trails in the Ventana/Silver Peak wilderness.

If you do some googling on John Muir Trail and skiing, you'll come up with some stuff. Like I said, not something most people do, since lots of stuff shuts down - you have to be really ready for it.


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