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Skiing Yosemite

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Skiing Yosemite

Postby esmith » Sat Feb 18, 2012 10:05 am

Thinking to visit Yosemite for some cross-country skiing this weekend or the next one. The idea is to get to Merced Lake and then to head towards Mt Lyell. Tried to google winter conditions along this route but there's surprisingly little information available.

Is it possible to get to Merced Lake directly from the valley? I'm worried about the first section, from the valley to Nevada Fall, since the elevation is low and the normal hiking trail is rather steep. Is it passable either on skis or on foot? Also, would it possibly be easier to go there from Badger Pass?

Is that an avalanche-prone route?
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Re: Skiing Yosemite

Postby Greg Enright » Sat Feb 18, 2012 4:49 pm

I believe the lower Mist Trail and upper section of the John Muir Trail are closed in winter. You can get to the top of Nevada Falls using the John Muir Trail then down to the upper Mist Trail switchbacks. The trail is typically bootpacked when it has snow, but there may not be any snow on it this year.

I would expect the crux to be between Little Yosemite Valley and Merced Lake where the granite domes meet the Merced River. I know a guy who had a real epic trying to get through that section yars ago. This year may not be so bad. So, you could give it a shot as long as you don't mind turning around if the slabs are covered in ice or snow.

Just skiing from Badger Pass to Glacier Point always appealed to me, though I have not done it. That may be a good choice for an introduction to the area, and you could go further if the conditions are good.

I confess that I don't have any idea what the conditions are like up there this year, so hopefully others will share their info.
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Re: Skiing Yosemite

Postby fedak » Sat Feb 18, 2012 8:04 pm

> I believe the lower Mist Trail and upper section of the John Muir Trail are closed in winter.

Yeah, the Mist trail below Vernal Falls and the JMT section where it is cut into the cliff are closed- both are pretty dangerous under snowpack.
(The mist from the Mist trail creates some stellar icicles right above the stairstep portion of the trail, and the snow accumulates behind the wall on the upper JMT- often leaving that as an icy exposed slope)

I seriously doubt there's all that much snow on either this year tho.
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Re: Skiing Yosemite

Postby esmith » Sat Feb 18, 2012 8:59 pm

Mist trail is out, then. I'll do a recon trip to Glacier Point this weekend and then possibly a longer trip next week.

Badger Pass reports having 2' to 3' of snow. Tuolumne Meadows station reports 2' and uniform snow cover below the tree line.
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Re: Skiing Yosemite

Postby webenji » Mon Feb 20, 2012 9:37 am

I just did the round-trip cross country ski to Glacier Point on Saturday and can report on the conditions. It snowed earlier in the week (supposedly 18-24 inches from Monday to Wednesday), but snow coverage remains thin at best. There are a few places (perhaps 4-6 sections) where the road is showing all the way. Based on a previous trip I took a couple of years ago, the snow level (on non-groomed sections) is probably lower by a good 3 feet. Overall, the snow level is sufficient for cross country skiing and I would still recommend going out there, especially since having Glacier Point all to yourself is a very rewarding experience. It's just that this year it is less of a "wintery" experience...

As another option, going to Ostrander Lake Ski Hut might give you a better indicator of what conditions to expect in the "wilderness", since Glacier Point Road is groomed and sees a lot of traffic (especially the first couple of miles). I would also expect that you would be more likely to find good information from the people at, going to, or coming back from the hut.

I am myself very interested in more interesting/challenging cross country (or randonee) ski excursions and would appreciate if you could report back on what you find and end up doing...
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Re: Skiing Yosemite

Postby esmith » Tue Feb 21, 2012 10:10 am

I didn't get far from Badger Pass this time (brought wife and kids, ended up spending a lot of time teaching them how to ski.) Yes, snow level looks on the thin side but manageable. Default skis you get at the rental place are totally inadequate to go off-track. Trying to find out if I can buy some used wide XC skis in my size. Really don't want to do that, but there seems to be a total of one Sport Chalet and zero REIs that rent XC skis between my house and Yosemite.
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Re: Skiing Yosemite

Postby akozub » Wed Feb 22, 2012 5:37 am

I have reservations for OSTRANDER HUT this weekend that I'm not going to be able to use them.
They are 100% transferable. (3) people / (2) nights Sun.Feb 26- Tues. 28th

Let me know if you know anyone who wants them. a_kozub@hotmail.com e-mail or 559.259.0754 cell

Alex Kozub
Fresno, Ca.
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Re: Skiing Yosemite

Postby SpazzyMcgee » Wed Feb 22, 2012 6:07 pm

Anyone been out to Dewey Point recently? Thinking about renting snowshoes, but if the trail is well consolidated/packed down, wondering if it's necessary...
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Re: Skiing Yosemite

Postby jibmaster » Fri Feb 24, 2012 5:44 pm

I use this to check on snow depth/coverage, etc. in little known spots.
http://www.nohrsc.noaa.gov/earth/
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