Wednesday, January 18, 2012


The weather in the Sierra Nevadas has been unusually warm and dry, so the Yosemite east entrance (going over Tioga Pass) was open. The highlight of the trip, at least runningwise, was running from Olmsted Point almost to the valley. All by ourselves. We didn't meet single person all day. There was only a tiny bit of snow. In January. When is that ever going to happen again?

Half Dome in the background.

Closer to half dome (switchbacking down to the valley)

Skiing-wise, the story of the week was this:
That's my brother-in-law. He was fine.

This is the whole gang on the life. They had made enough snow to make it a ski trip, but everything was green or brown outside the open runs.

Christian liked skiing. Perhaps that was the absolute high point.

Everyone on the back porch of the wonderful house we stayed in.


SteveQ said...

I can't believe you had the trail to yourself! Every photo I see taken there is jammed with people. I'll have to keep "snowless January for Yosemite" in the back of my mind.

PiccolaPineCone said...

Having been in Yosemite in January I can vouch for it being completely transformed from the claustrophobia-inducing craziness of July & August (the bumper to bumper traffic that strecthes for mile creating air quality akin to want you would find in south central LA and the beer cans and the human-caused bear mishaps and the melted ice cream cones etc. etc.). What floored me about your post was that Tioga Pass road was open. Really? I thought they closed that on principle every November regardless of the weather and left it closed until some date in the spring. That's wild that you guys were able to go over Tioga pass in January and wild that you ran, snow free, down to the Valley. What a wonderful experience that must have been. I have never taken that trail, any comment regarding the dire warnings that one finds posted at the head of that trail? For some reason that area seems to be the site of more S&R operations than any other in the park... apparently Tenaya Canyon which I think is right below Olmstead point is particularly hazardous... how did you find the trail?

Fast Bastard said...

Late answer, but here goes:

That run in Yosemite was easily one of the best days of my life.

It happened so randomly. The whole gang of 11 people left Mammoth in three cars with some vague plans. Some wanted to hike or snowshoe and some wanted to take some pictures. THe Girl and I wanted to run.

Coming over Tioga Pass, there was a fair bit of snow on the ground, and it looked like we would have to run mostly on the road. The Girl was starting to freak out, shaking and sobbing because it was close to noon and she still hadn't run a step. We stopped at Olmsted Point to take pictures and the Girl's uncle (who lives in Reno) mentioned that there was a trail that led to the Valley. As we were facing south, we figured this would be as snow-free as anywhere in the park and went for it. The rest is history.

I will say that we got lost about 5 times. The top section felt tricky because there is so little topsoil. It's all boulder fields and granite, so it's easy to get lost.

We didn't make it to the Valley, by the way. The switchbacks were too step and rocky to run, so we turned around several hundred feet above the valley floor.

Some of our group snowshoed around Lake Tenaya. There was barely enough snow to snowshoe. They did comment on how easy it was to lose the trail, but there were two locals (Reno and Sacramento) in that group so no one was worried.