Yosemite Closed

Half Dome – Yosemite Musing

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** Put your contact info on the request. **


     For the first time since the Flood of 1997, Yosemite National Park is closed. The park, which is usually open 24/7 every day of the year is now temporarily closed for up to 6 days as a massive snowfall and landslide overwhelmed both man and machine. Power is by candlelight and generators. If 3 feet of snow on Valley Roads was not enough, the main power line running up the Merced canyon has been damaged near the Ferguson slide. This in on Hwy 140 about 6 miles south of El Portal.  A rock slide broke a transmission pole  and the only way to get a replacementin  is by helicopter. Engineers for the county are evaluating the situation. Repairs could take at east 5 days depending on soil condition and the impact of the next line of storms arriving soon. 2-3 more feet of snow are forecast above 4,000 feet. The Hwy 120 route tops out about 6,000 feet. Not a good idea. Even the Hwy 140 “All Weather Road” is getting hit. The approach roads into the park are closed and even chains may not help.

    For people registered for the Annual “Spring Forum” this weekend, Yosemite Conservancy will announce Wed at 11 am if it is cancelled. The Merced River Plan (MRP) Recreation Workshop scheduled for March 25, 2011, has been postponed. This weather does not help with the targeted May 27 installation of the cables. It’s going to take a long time to melt this snowpack and when it does we may have another giant flood.

     Looks like a good weekend to clean the house and read Lafayette Bunnell’s book: “Discovery of the Yosemite and the Indian War of 1851, Which Led to That Event.”


Unrelated thought worth quoting: “I’m dreaming of a white Christmas. Just like the ones I used to know. Where the treetops glisten, and children listen to hear sleigh bells in the snow.” – Bing Crosby

*MrHalfDome – Rick Deutsch – www.HikeHalfDome.com


8 Responses to “Yosemite Closed”

  1. Dean Says:

    Sounds wild over there, hope it’s all clear by August!

  2. ScottS Says:

    August?! I need it to be all clear by the middle of June!

    Hope everyone is staying safe out there…

    • mrhalfdome Says:

      Major snowpack, so we shall see. In 2010 the cables did not get up until June 16. You pay your money and takes your chances. Do Cloud’s Rest or Y Falls or Taft Point or or or…plenty of hikes if Half dome is closed.

      • ScottS Says:

        Permits are for the 21st, so I’m thinking we should be ok. We’ll keep our fingers crossed 🙂 But we’re in the park for five days, so we do have lots of options. Thanks, Mr.HD!

  3. Norman S Says:

    If the cables are down because of the snow, would it be safe to do the hike as far as Sub Dome?

    • mrhalfdome Says:

      Overnight freezing temps may cause ice on the Mist Trail steps. The park may close the gate at the bottom prohibiting passage. Also, the Ice Wall near Nevada Fall may ice up the John Muir Trail there – the gate at Clark’s Point may be closed. Beyond that if the snow is too high for the trail crews to get through, it may be tough to get up to SubDome. It may be a soggy hike but with poles it should be doable. The granite will be slick when wet.

  4. Maureen Lahiff Says:

    If the cables aren’t up on Half Dome due to snow, then it’s quite likely that there will also be solid snow on the last part of the Cloud’s Rest Trail, on the Cathedral Lakes Trail above the Upper Lake, and above May Lake on the trail to the top of Mount Hoffman.

    Even when the Tioga Road gets plowed and opened all the way, there can be a LOT of snow on the trails. (And, in case you’re wondering, where there are trees, the summer hiking trails are not blazed on them. The occasional yellow markers you may see are the winter snowshoe/cross country ski trails, which often do not coincide with hiking trails.

    If the Tioga Road is open, the trail down to Glen Aulin and the falls beyond from the Tioga Road is a good one to have in your reserve plans, though there’s a section where the Tuolumne River floods the trails and going cross country on the rocks avoids slogging through cold water over mud.

    Another good bet in the trail to North Dome, though there’s a fun crossing at Porcupine Creek that can be an above-the-knees wade. (Sometimes there’s a log crossing, sometimes not. I admit I’m a wimp and put on by Tevas and wade rather than risk a tumble off a log, but then I hike alone and don’t win any gymnastic prizes for coordination and big leaps.)

    Dewey Point and the Pohono Trail along the south rim of the Valley may be snow-free fairly early, too, but there was still snow on the top of Sentinel Dome mid-June 2005, another banner snow year. If you have just one car, you can leave it at Tunnel View and hike up to Dewey Point and back for a good workout, or you can leave one car at Glacier Point and one at Tunnel View and make a long one-way hike on the Pohono Trail.

    Another fun workout if you have two cars is to hike up the 4 Mile Trail to Glacier Point and out on the Panorama Trail from Glacier Point to Nevada Fall and then down to the foot of Vernal Fall and out to Happy Isles. At least one of the two trails down to the top of Vernal Falls and then at least one of the two possible trails down to the foot of Vernal Falls are always open. (The El Cap shuttle bus does stop at the trailhead for the Four Mile Trail, but I’m not sure if it’s running in June.)

    One of the things I really would find helpful would be to have the Wilderness Conditions on the park website to get updated at least weekly May through July. I figure if the Tuolumne Winter Rangers can post every week, then so can folks who know about high country trails being free of snow or muddy and where the creek crossings are challenging!

    • mrhalfdome Says:

      Great tips. I also like to solo hike. Then I get to go with the person I love the most!! :>) Plus, I’m tall with long legs that reach all the way to the ground, so I have a fast pace.

      Most of the Tuolumne oriented hikes will be dependent upon when the Tioga Rd (Hwy 120) gets plowed. Often well into June. Might be July with the dumpings rolling in. How about skiing in July!

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