2005 Sierra Expedition

Southern Yosemite

As of April 1, snow in our part of the Sierra is at 153% of normal. which makes me happy I moved the date back. The moquitoes will have more time to die.

This trip provides a little more flexibility than usual. It's been too long since I had a chance to hike around Tuolumne Meadows in Yosemite, so this trip begins with two days in my favorite place in the world, giving opportunity for a day hike, dinner at the Mobil Gas Station in Lee Vining (if you haven't dined there, you have missed something), and a leisurely drive through Yosemite before hitting the trailhead. Those short of time or not interested in spending two nights in Yosemite could fly out on August 16.

This hike is a bit more work than last summer's. However, most days have 4-6 miles of actual hiking, so we will have plenty of time to relax in camp after the day's exertions. This is an area entirely new to me. It's reputed to be a lovely area, and it's remote enough so that we will not see many other people. You can check out the map of the route.

August 14: Fly from Grand Rapids to Reno, drive to Lee Vining

August 15: Day hike in Tuolumne Meadows.

August 16: Morning day hike, leisurely drive through Yosemite to Oakhurst, where we'll spend the night.

August 17: We need to be at the Minarets Pack Station by 7:30. It's about a 90 minute drive from Oakhurst. The packer will haul our gear to Sadler Lake, about 9 miles and 2,400 feet. It's a reasonable trail in to Sadler. The Packer tells me the trail crews do it in 3 1/2 hours. We'll take a little longer.

August 18: Layover day at Sadler Lake. We can climb Sadler Peak, or hike around the area.

August 19: Hike over Isberg Pass and down to Triple Peak Fork. About 1200 feet up to the pass, and five miles of walking. Isberg Pass is a stiff climb.

August 20: Hike to Red Devil Lake. About five miles of walking with some ups and downs along the way, but no big pass.

August 21: Only about 4 miles today, but it's over Red Peak Pass, the highest pass in Yosemite. It's about a 1400 foot climb from Red Devil Lake. We'll camp at Lower Ottoway Lake.

August 22: A generally downhill day, with about a 500 foot rise to Merced Pass, then down to Moraine Meadow. Six miles.

August 23: Hike about six miles out, drive to Reno. Celebratory dinner.

August 24: Fly to Grand Rapids

As always, what we actually do will likely be a bit different. The alternate plan, should we decide that the route over Red Peak Pass is more than we are up for, is to return to the trailhead we started at via Post Peak Pass, which would parallel the trail we come in on, but to the west.

Here is a report of a hike in the area:

Days 3-5 of this hike follow our route, but in reverse.

This description basically follows the alternate route outlined above.

This one follows our path (in reverse) from Lower Merced Pass Lake to the valley beneath Isberg Pass.

Confirmed Participants:

Randy Bytwerk
Dan Vandersteen

Possible Participants:

Daniel Garcia
Rik Swartzwelder

For those who stumble across this page through a search engine, it's the planning page for a hiking group in Michigan. It is maintained by Randall Bytwerk (bytw2calvin.edu — replace the "2" with a "@").