Isberg Pass

Switchbacks above Lyell Fork to Cora Lakes (15 miles, +1,900/-3,100 feet). We awoke to beautiful light on the Clark Range in the distance. And below we could hear the Lyell Fork rushing down to the Merced over steep, vast, and impossibly smooth granite slabs. Soon we packed up and headed into the woods.  Today we…

Lyell Fork

Lake 10217 to Lake 11311 and back then downstream to Isberg Pass Trail (10 miles, +2,300/-2,700 feet). Today we started with a day hike to explore the upper Lyell Fork.  I’ve mapped it on caltopo, along with our trip yesterday through Bench Canyon: For the most part route finding was straightforward, except the path from…

Bench Canyon

Hemlock Crossing to Lyell Fork of the Merced (10 miles, +4400/-1800 feet). I was hoping a cold morning would reduce the bug pressure, but we didn’t really have one.  The temperatures only dropped into the high 50s so the little bloodsuckers were more than happy to greet us as we exited our tents. We had…

Buena Vista Crest

Lower Merced Lake to Buena Vista Crest to Mono Meadows Trailhead (18 miles, +3,100/-4,600 feet). I was very excited to get up and get started this morning.  Set aside the fact that it was 25 degrees and our water had frozen and I was happy to be moving.  What I was really looking forward to…

Lower Merced Pass Lake

Mono Meadows Trail to Lower Merced Pass Lake (13 miles, +3,000/-1,400 feet). It’s been quite a while since Orion and I did a hike together, so I was really looking forward to our trip to Yosemite. Although the forecast called for lows in the 20s, the weather was bizarrely still quite seasonal, with no snow…

Chilnualna Falls Trail

UC Yosemite Field Station to View of Wawona Dome on the Chilnualna Falls Trail (5 miles, +1,500/-1,500 feet). The University of California has some sweet facilities for hosting conferences, including some at Yosemite, so I reserved one of them in late October for our annual “Human Nature Group Masters” conference of colleagues and UCSD alumni….

Spiller Canyon

Stanton Pass to Tuolumne Meadows (PCT Halfmile 942.7) via Spiller Creek and the PCT (19 miles, +2,000/–3,700 feet). I love sleeping high. No condensation, it’s usually (paradoxically) warmer, and the views are out of this world. We awoke this morning to a light show on Whorl Mountain as the moon faded and the sun blued…

Matterhorn Pass

Return Creek to Stanton Pass via Matterhorn Pass (14 miles, +5,000/-3,000 feet). Our campsite last night was lovely, but the proximity to the river made it cold and damp, creating some decent condensation inside my tent. The first order of business this morning was getting across Return Creek, so we waited until 6am when we…

PCT Yosemite

Tuolumne Meadows (PCT Halfmile 942.7) to Return Creek (956.2) (13.5 miles, +1,700/-1,800 feet). My buddy MixMaster and I were originally planning to do a 60 mile loop in Yosemite that would take us from Tuolumne Meadows up the PCT, down Rodgers Canyon, and then up the Grand Canyon of the Tuolumne. But then came the…

Bloody Canyon

Bloody Canyon to Parker Creek (10.5 miles, +3,000/-300 feet). This was an accidental trip. I originally thought about organizing a different hike but I discovered that on the Inyo Wilderness Permit site you can enter a date and group size and it shows you all available trailheads.  I had never heard of many of the ones I saw, so…