April 19, 2014 - April 20, 2014
2 days, 20.3 miles, +6,600’
This trip report was written a little while post facto, so some of the details about this trip have been lost to history.
Shannon and I planned a big adventure to go to Yosemite and climb a peak called Clouds Rest from Yosemite Valley. We wanted to climb Half Dome, but this was out of the season to do it, so it would have required some extra gear. This was going to be our second backpacking trip, so while we would have tons and tons of extra gear, none of it would assist us in climbing the icy slabs of the cable route on Half Dome.
We arrived in the Valley, headed over to pick up our wilderness permit from the Wilderness Office - this was before the quota season so it was a relatively easy task, then drove over to Curry Village, parked, and headed off.
We walked down the road a bit, joining the John Muir Trail and passing the famous sign with all of the distances. It was crowded, but this was our first visit to Yosemite, so the crowds didn’t bug us too much.
Vernal Falls above the lowest footbridge. We took the upper trail past Clark Point to Nevada Falls, figuring we would take the lower trail on the way back.
Views of Yosemite Falls from near Clark Point.
Oh man, quite the packing job.
Nevada Falls was flowing.
We stopped for a snack at Little Yosemite Valley before continuing on. We weren’t sure exactly how far we would make it before dark and where there was water, so we carried all of our stuff.
Mount Starr King from higher up somewhere. Somewhere around 8,000’ we started to hit patchy snow. But it wasn’t too deep, so we pressed on.
After a slightly adventurous final 100’, we reached the snowy summit. The final rock scramble was all covered in snow, but it was pretty boot-packed, so we managed to get up just fine to enjoy the amazing views in all directions. This is looking east.
A closer shot of Matthes Crest and Echo Peaks.
There was also an awesome (but somewhat hazy) view west at Half Dome.
Really close up shot of Echo Peaks.
To the south, clouds shrouded the Clark Range, but Mount Clark poked out.
After spending a long while on the summit, we carefully made our way down the snowy scramble back onto the trail and headed down.
We were somewhere near the bench at about 9,000’ when the sun started to go down. The haze made a lovely sunset. We talked about making camp somewhere, but we would need some water. So, we decided our best bet was to don the headlamps and hike a few miles in the dark back to Little Yosemite Valley.
On our way down, we head a mountain lion scream in the distance, which was pretty scary for a couple of relatively new hikers like us. Fortunately, we made it to Little Yosemite Valley without incident, set up our tent and had some dinner before turning in for the night.
The next day, we slept in a bit before packing up and heading back down.
Vernal Falls from Clark Point. We decided to take the Mist Trail on the way down.
In the early afternoon, we made it back to our car, a big adventure complete. As this was our first time in Yosemite, we drove around a bit to see some of the sights afterwards.
El Capitan from the cutoff road.