Great length for a long dayhike from the dam. Waterfalls were flowing nicely and nice to check out a new area.
From camp at Rancheria Falls. Beautiful hike up. No one was on the trail despite forty or so people at the Rancheria Falls camp area. Awesome waterfalls on the hike in.
Last minute decision to spend an overnight at Rancheria Falls - left San Jose 4:15 am Saturday, was on the trail by 8:15 am. Set up camp near Rancheria Falls (but away from the crowds), then climbed LeConte in the afternoon. Hiked all the way up to the higher saddle on trail, but came down using the bypass described. The descent was a much better route - avoids bushwhacking over an extra hump. Easy and fun climb with great views. Couldn't find summit register, but admittedly did not spend a lot of time looking - it was ridiculously windy.
Stopped about 50 yards short of the summit after getting hit with some sort of stomach flu (or maybe it was the elevation diff after driving up from the bay area).
In any case, the falls on the approach were in full flow and there was no snow left this year.
Pics are here
Very enjoyable hike through a beautiful area... Hetch Hetchy is lovely at this time of year. Encountered patchy snow above 5,000 feet, becoming continuous around 5,500 feet, but no need for snowshoes or crampons. Some enjoyable bouldering in a few places along the ridge. Highly recommended for a winter outing.