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Category: Yosemite National Park

Yosemite National Park still shows remnants of winter

Snow-covered Tuolumne Meadows as seen last Friday.

While much of Southern California should be enjoying dry days and warm temperatures during the Memorial Day holiday weekend, those heading to higher elevations -- specifically Yosemite National Park -- will likely still be contending with remnants of winter, including facility and road closures in some areas.

"It may be spring in Fresno or L.A., but it's not quite like that here," park spokeswoman Kari Cobb told Times Daily Travel and Deal blogger Mary Forgione.

Glacier Point Road will be open to traffic beginning noon Friday, but park officials said that the 32 miles from Yosemite Valley to the scenic overlook at Glacier Point could close any time if a spring snowstorm kicks up. There will also be no running water at the point, and nearby Bridalveil Creek Campground is closed.

Meanwhile, Tioga Road (Highway 120), the main access to Tuolumne Meadows and the park's backcountry, remains closed because of snow, ice and avalanche dangers, officials said.

Despite this, Yosemite is expected to be busy for the holiday weekend. Forgione has more information, including tips on dealing with the crowds, in her post: Yosemite National Park: Glacier Point Road opens Friday; chilly Memorial Day weekend predicted

-- Kelly Burgess
Twitter.com/latimesoutposts

Photo: Snow-covered Tuolumne Meadows as seen last Friday. Credit: Mono County Public Works Department

 

Yosemite National Park reopens with limited services

Lower Yosemite Fall in Yosemite National Park from Cooks Meadow, during a break in the snowstorm that has shut down the area since Sunday. Some roads into Yosemite National Park reopened Thursday morning, pending weather and safety along the highways.

The park is open to visitors until 7 p.m. this evening, and reservations for rooms will be honored.

Yosemite should expand services to the public beginning Friday, contingent upon the weather -- a winter storm warning remains in effect until Friday morning. The park anticipates returning to full operations by Monday.

Times Daily Travel and Deal blogger Mary Forgione has more details on her post: Yosemite National Park: Roads partly reopen; lodgings expected to open Friday

-- Kelly Burgess

twitter.com/latimesoutposts

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Yosemite roads remain closed; power outages likely until Saturday

All roads into Yosemite temporarily closed

Photo: Lower Yosemite Fall in Yosemite National Park from Cooks Meadow, during a break in the snowstorm that has shut down the area since Sunday. Credit: Kari Cobb / National Park Service


Yosemite roads remain closed; power outages likely until Saturday

Upper Yosemite Fall in Yosemite National Park during a break in the snowstorm that has shut down the area since Sunday. As of Wednesday afternoon, all roads leading into Yosemite National Park remain closed due to snow, ice, mudslides, fallen trees and downed power lines, and power outages are affecting most buildings and services within the park.

"At this point we are hoping to have the roads open completely by the weekend, but at that point will likely still have limited services because PG&E [Pacific Gas & Electric] is estimating that we won’t receive power until Saturday," Park spokeswoman Kari Cobb told Outposts.

Cobb added that areas being powered by backup generators are spotty at best. "None of the guest rooms at Yosemite Lodge or Curry Village have power, nor the residential housing. The Ahwahnee has a couple of rooms on generator. The Visitor Center is open but the museum is not; the grocery store is open but the deli’s not. Those things that do have generators will be open but a lot of it doesn’t, so a lot won’t be open."

When the roads closed Monday, about 600 visitors were in park. Of those, approximately 450 guests decided to leave the park voluntarily Monday afternoon. Cobb said that anyone who wanted to stay could, but that "we aren’t allowing any more visitors into the park at this point, and are reassessing conditions on a daily basis."

DNC Parks & Resorts, the reservation service for Yosemite, and campground reservationists are contacting guests with upcoming bookings about 48 hours in advance to let them know that they have had to cancel their requests. Currently, no reservations are due into the park until Friday. 

For 24-hour information about roads within the park, call (209) 372-0200; for roads outside of Yosemite, contact Caltrans at (800) 427-7623.  For information about reservations and accommodations, call (801) 559-4884.

-- Kelly Burgess

twitter.com/latimesoutposts

RELATED:

All roads into Yosemite temporarily closed

Photo: Upper Yosemite Falls in Yosemite National Park during a break in the snowstorm that has shut down the area since Sunday. Credit: Kari Cobb / National Park Service

All roads into Yosemite temporarily closed

More than 3-1/2 feet of snowfall has closed roads into Yosemite National Park.

All roads leading into Yosemite National Park are temporarily closed due to snow, ice, mudslides, fallen trees and downed power lines.

According to a park press release, the storm that moved through dumped more than 3-1/2 feet of snow during a 24-hour period in Yosemite Valley, Wawona, and Crane Flat, and approximately nine inches in El Portal.

Highways 41 (Wawona Road), 120 (Big Oak Flat Road) and 140 (El Portal Road) into Yosemite are currently closed due to snowy and icy conditions, and Caltrans has temporarily closed Highway 140 outside of the park boundary between El Portal and Mid Pines due to mudslides, rockfall, fallen trees and downed power lines. The Badger Pass Road and the Hetch Hetchy Road are also closed.

Road conditions will continue to be assessed throughout the day. For 24-hour information about roads within the park, call (209) 372-0200; for roads outside of Yosemite, contact Caltrans at (800) 427-7623.

-- Kelly Burgess
twitter.com/latimesoutposts

Photo: More than 3-1/2 feet of snowfall has closed roads into Yosemite National Park. Credit: National Park Service

National Parks 2011 fee-free days announced

Panoramic view of the Grand Canyon.

Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar announced Wednesday that the National Park Service would waive admission fees on 17 selected dates throughout 2011 and encouraged Americans to visit a national park this year.

"Many people have made resolutions to spend more quality time with loved ones and to get outdoors and unplug in 2011," Secretary Salazar said in a press release. "There's no better place than a national park to help keep those resolutions. Parks offer superb recreational opportunities, making them perfect places to enjoy our beautiful land, history and culture, and nurture a healthy lifestyle."

The 2011 fee-free dates will be the weekend of Martin Luther King Jr. Day (Jan. 15-17); National Park Week (April 16-24); the first day of summer (June 21); National Public Lands Day (Sept. 24); and the weekend of Veterans Day (Nov. 11-13).

Salazar noted that, with 394 national parks throughout the country, most Americans live within a few hours of a park, making them ideal locales for convenient and affordable vacations.

"In these tough economic times, our fee-free days will give families many opportunities to enjoy our nation's heritage and natural beauty in meaningful and affordable ways," he said.

Many national park concessions will also offer discounts on the fee-free dates, saving visitors on the cost of food, lodging, tours, and souvenirs. More information is available at http://www.nps.gov/findapark/feefreeparks.htm.

-- Kelly Burgess
twitter.com/latimesoutposts

Photo: Panoramic view of the Grand Canyon. Credit: National Park Service

Rockfall closes Highway 140 into Yosemite National Park for at least 24 hours

Rockfall that occurred on Highway 140 Thursday just inside the Yosemite National Park boundary, closing the route to through traffic just east of El Portal. Those planning to travel to Yosemite National Park for New Year's Eve should note that Highway 140 into the park will be closed for at least 24 hours due to a large rock's falling onto the road Thursday, blocking all traffic from entering or exiting via that route.

The rock, estimated to be 10 to 15 feet high, six feet wide and four feet deep, fell approximately a half-mile east of Yosemite View Lodge in El Portal, just inside the park boundary. No injuries or damage to property were reported.

Due to the blockage as well as additional loose rocks, Highway 140/El Portal Road will remain closed for at least 24 hours while road crews assess the area and remove all debris from the roadway.

Both Highway 120 and Highway 41 into the park remain open, though chain restrictions may apply.

-- Kelly Burgess
twitter.com/latimesoutposts

Photo: Rockfall that occurred on Highway 140 on Thursday just inside the Yosemite National Park boundary, closing the route to through traffic just east of El Portal. Credit: Fletcher Ogg / National Park Service

Yosemite south entrance shuttle service to Badger Pass Ski Area begins Saturday

Badger Pass Ski Area inside Yosemite National Park.

Yosemite National Park will offer shuttle service from the park's south entrance to Badger Pass Ski Area beginning Saturday.

The roundtrip shuttle will run Saturdays, Sundays and holidays and depart at 7 a.m. from Miller's Mountain Sports in Oakhurst, Calif, providing an easy way for visitors staying at accommodations outside the park to get to the ski area.

The shuttle stops at Tenaya Lodge at 8 a.m. and arrives at the ski area at 9 a.m. The return shuttle leaves Badger Pass at 3:45 p.m. and arrives back in Oakhurst at 5:30 p.m. (times may vary depending on traffic and conditions). The cost is $10 per person, which includes the national park entrance fee.

Times Daily Travel and Deal blogger Mary Forgione has more details on her post: Yosemite National Park: Shuttle from south entrance to Badger Pass Ski Area begins Saturday

-- Kelly Burgess
twitter.com/latimesoutposts

Photo: Badger Pass Ski Area inside Yosemite National Park. Credit: Kenny Karst / National Park Service

Three climbers rescued from Yosemite's El Capitan

A military helicopter was brought in to assist Yosemite Search and Rescue team members with rescuing three climbers from the wall of El Capitan. Three rock climbers were rescued Monday afternoon from the wall of El Capitan in Yosemite National Park, culminating a two-day rescue operation that involved more than 30 rescue personnel.

Sarah Land, from Oakhurst, Calif., Walker Mackey, 25, and Rio Mackey, 23, both from Boulder, Colo., were lowered down the 7,563-foot granite monolith after spending the night on the wall of El Capitan. Land, 24, sustained injuries Sunday when an approximately 200-pound rock dislodged and struck her during their ascent.

The Yosemite Emergency Communication Center received a call from Land Sunday morning asking for assistance after she was injured. At first, she and her companions attempted to finish the climb, but a few hours later Land called back and asked Park Rangers for help. With daylight dwindling, rangers were unable to bring in a helicopter or initiate the rescue and the trio were forced to spend the night on the wall.

Dwindling weather conditions, including fog covering Yosemite Valley and impending snowfall at the higher elevations, made completing the rescue mission on Monday imperative. The Army National Guard dispatched a Chinook helicopter to Yosemite Valley to help in the efforts.

Once rescue personnel were transported to the top of El Capitan they were able to assist the climbers, lowering them to the base, where Land boarded a California Highway Patrol helicopter and was flown to El Capitan Meadow where she was transported out of Yosemite Valley.

-- Kelly Burgess
Twitter.com/latimesoutposts

Photo: A military helicopter was brought in to assist Yosemite Search and Rescue team members with rescuing three climbers from the wall of El Capitan. Credit: Kari Cobb / National Park Service

Yosemite Half Dome cable permits will be required seven days a week during 2011 summer season

A view of Yosemite's Half Dome and climbers using the cable.

Yosemite National Park officials announced Monday that day-use permits to climb the Half Dome cables will be required seven days a week for the 2011 summer season.

An interim program that required permits on Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays and holidays was implemented by the National Park Service in 2010 to better regulate the number of hikers using the cable system. Safety issues  have arisen from crowding, which has also led to long waits on the popular hike. 

Although the interim program worked well on the permit days, visitor use on the cables during days when permits were not required reached peak weekend levels -- thus the change to a seven-day-per-week requirement for next year's summer season. 

The Half Dome day-use permits will be available starting March 1, 2011 for climbing the cables in May and June 2011. Subsequent permits will be available at the beginning of each month for permits three months in advance. 

Reservations for a permit can be made through www.recreation.gov or by calling (877) 444-6777. Up to four permits may be obtained under one reservation, with each person climbing the Half Dome cables required to have their own. Permits are free, but there is a nonrefundable $1.50 service charge for each permit obtained.

The Half Dome cables are generally in place from mid-May through mid-October, depending on snowpack and weather conditions.

-- Kelly Burgess
twitter.com/latimesoutposts

Photo: A view of Yosemite's Half Dome and climbers using the cable. Credit: Scott Gediman / National Park Service

Half Dome cables at Yosemite to be removed for the season

A view of Half Dome and climbers using the cable system.

A sign that summer is officially over: Yosemite National Park officials have announced that the Half Dome cables will be taken down for the season on Tuesday.

The cables, which enable hikers to climb to the summit of the majestic granite dome, are taken down each October for the fall and winter seasons and replaced the following spring.

Visitors to the park are strongly cautioned against attempting to climb Half Dome without the cables in place, as the dome can be extremely slippery and may be wet and/or icy even in seemingly dry conditions.

-- Kelly Burgess
twitter.com/latimesoutposts

Photo: A view of Half Dome and climbers using the cable system. Credit: Scott Gediman / National Park Service

Yosemite National Park rangers raid and eradicate marijuana growing site in the park

Some of the marijuana plants seized Tuesday in Yosemite National Park.

Yosemite National Park rangers raided a large marijuana cultivation site in El Portal on Tuesday and seized 3,657 plants plus several pounds of processed marijuana worth an estimated $14.6 million.

The site was on land in both Yosemite National Park and the Sierra National Forest. The marijuana plants found ranged in size from young, 1-foot-tall plants to a mature plot with plants that were 5- to 10-feet tall.

The area was remote enough that hikers or other visitors to the park did not walk into it. Two men -- one armed with a loaded .45 caliber pistol concealed under his clothing -- were working the cultivation site during the raid and were taken into custody. Both suspects are Mexican nationals in the U.S. illegally and are currently in custody awaiting charges to be filed.

"We want these growers to know that we will not tolerate this type of activity on public lands and we will continue to aggressively seek out and eradicate illegal marijuana growing operations," Yosemite National Park Superintendent Don Neubacher said in a statement.

The operation, which came about after a joint investigation by the U.S. Forest Service and Mariposa County Sheriff's Office, concluded safely with only a few minor injuries to officers.

The grow site had hose lines, fertilizers, trash and human waste throughout the area and suffered extensive resource damage, including damage to the native vegetation and landscape.

This is the second pot farm discovered in Yosemite in as many years. In August 2009, Yosemite rangers and National Park Service Agents, with assistance from Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks, removed 4,735 marijuana plants valued at nearly $19 million from within the park.

-- Kelly Burgess
twitter.com/latimesoutposts

Photo: Some of the marijuana plants seized Tuesday in Yosemite National Park. Credit: National Park Service

Yosemite waterfalls

Liberty Cap-Nevada horiz. web

Got a thing for water flowing down giant slabs of rock? If so, get thyself ASAP to Yosemite National Park. It's water, water everywhere, and all the celebrity waterfalls are putting on the biggest show of the season: starring Bridalveil, Vernal, Nevada, Illilouette and Co. If this isn't peak waterfall season, I don't know what is. That's Nevada Fall above, raging next to Liberty Cap, as seen from the John Muir Trail on June 4.

We spent a day in Yosemite Valley, hiking out of the Happy Isles trailhead. The spray from Vernal Fall about 1.5 miles in soaked us to the skin on the Mist Trail, and it was another mile to Nevada Fall. We hiked another mile to check out Little Yosemite Valley, then headed back past Nevada to the John Muir Trail, to complete a beautiful 9-mile loop (with about 2,100 feet of elevation gain) back to Happy Isles.

The next day we headed to Glacier Point, where the main road was still lined with snow. There was too much snow to hike to Sentinel Dome, so we took the Panorama Trail to catch a view of Illilouette Fall. If ever there was an appropriately-named trail, it's Panorama. With extensive views of Half Dome, Vernal and Bridalveil falls, our necks were stiff on the left side heading out and on the right side going back. Illilouette can be viewed from a trail turnoff about 2 (steep) miles in and can't be seen from any road.

Yosemite photo gallery To avoid the madness that is Yosemite Valley on weekends, try to enter the park on a weekday. When we came out the southern entrance (near Wawona) on Sunday at 10:30 a.m., the line at the entrance booth must've been a half-mile long, and growing. The cables to Half Dome were put in place today, and permits are now required on weekends for the Half Dome hike.

—Julie Sheer

Photo credit: Julie Sheer / Los Angeles Times

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Outposts' primary contributor is Kelly Burgess.



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