Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Yosemite Border Tour, Day 5

The morning brought electric blue skies, crisp, cold temperatures, and revealed eight inches of new snow at camp.

The Mid held up well.
The clearing after the storm brought us amazing, winter scenery.

With the new snow and high winds, avalanches were a concern and we experienced several collapses of the snow pack. We minimized risks by staying on moderate, unloaded slopes, but were nevertheless glad to attain the south shoulder of Merced Peak and out of harm's way.
We enjoyed a few nice turns here and there coming down from the shoulder.
Thirst was becoming an issue as we had melted only enough snow for about a half liter each. We found this beautiful, granite cascade far sooner than we expected which prompted much drinking and a pleasant break.
Next up was a long traverse through terrain that looked fairly simple on the map, but turned out to be a series of small, convoluted drainages that took along time to negotiate.

Note that at this point we are heading toward Yosemite Valley rather than the Badger Pass ski area, which is the standard route. It turns out the Glacier Point Road closes when the ski area closes (early April), so unless you know a Park Service employee, you would have to travel five more miles to the junction for a pick-up. We also figured it would be pretty cool to exit into Yosemite Valley - and it was!

The woods and wood sculptures along the way were pleasant.

Alas we finally reached our goal of Grayling Lake west of Red Peak.

By evening low clouds and even some light snow flurries rolled in.
Although we couldn't see very far, there appeared to be some enticing ski slopes directly above camp.
The plan for the next day was to take leave camp set and take a day tour into the mountains above.

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