When we got to the wilderness permit
station in Yosemite Valley, we were highly discouraged from taking
the trail up from the valley. It was reportedly super hard to follow
in the snow. Instead, we drove up to Badger Pass (now open). We
hiked along the groomed trail for a while before going on the ridge
trail. There were two of us on skis, once cross country pair and a
metal edged pair. We went on the ridge trail, the harder of the two,
and found it a well-traveled trail. A search and rescue group was
behind us most of the way. To camp off the main trail and away from
other groups, we went about a mile and a half in the direction of the
Pohono trail before setting up camp near a stream. Half the group
went to find a good sunset viewing spot with JC, while the other half
stayed around camp and made dinner. After dinner we did a little
stargazing and then piled in the tents. The next morning we woke up
and packed up camp. We then went to find Stanford Point, leaving most
of our gear at the campsite. We came back, grabbed our packs and
headed off in the direction of the Badger Pass Ski area. We hiked for
around two miles before we hit the ridge trail, and took that back to
the cars. The conditions were surprisingly warm. It felt like upper
50s to 60s during the day with very little wind. The sky was very
clear and we had amazing views of the valley.
Half Dome Sunrise Hike - Oct 8 - 9
Hike Half Dome during the night and be treated to an amazing sunrise at the top! Check out our Past Trips page for photos and more info from past Half Dome sunrise hikes.
Sykes Hot Springs - Oct 22 - 23
We met on Saturday at the Tressider
bollards at about 5am, excited to head out to the coast. It took us
a while to assemble, as one of our group members accidentally slept
through her alarm. A team effort to call her cell phone got us in
touch with her, and we departed all present, albeit a bit late.
Timing was not our forté that morning, however, as it took us
another half hour to get out of the area with a slow stop at the gas
station. Fortunately we had planned to arrive with a couple hours of
time to spare at the springs, so things worked out quite fine in the
end. Any frustrations abated as soon as we got out on the One with
its stunning view of the Pacific under a sunny, blue sky day.
We arrived at the Pfeiffer State Park
trailhead shortly before noon. With packs slung and water bottles
filled, we started out on the flat trail exiting the campground.
Shortly we climbed out of the valley floor along a sunny dirt trail
offering a good view of the campground and some sounds of folk music.
The trail meandered along the wooded hillside, dipping in and out of
ravines. In the early afternoon, we stopped for lunch at one of the
bubbling streams and enjoyed lunch on a fallen log. After passing
the Terrace Creek and Barlow Flat camps, we ran into a Ventana
Wilderness Alliance work crew. After checking our permits, the
ranger on the crew told us there might not be a designated campsite
left for us. We were warned we'd have to hike back to Barlow Flat if
we couldn't find a designated site, but after discussing as a group,
we decided to give it a shot.
Soon enough we descended to the Carmel
River and took a sharp left at the river crossing to follow the river
on its southern bank. We had our eyes open to snag any campsite we
could find and felt a little greedy as we left a few people at
prospective sites we passed. Fortunately we found a large site
across the river that a group had just left. Relieved we could stay
at Sykes for the night, we set down our packs and quickly changed to
go get in the springs. The hot springs were oh so wonderful, given
the perfect weather and warm water. We managed to squeeze all twelve
of us into the upper hot spring. After quite some time, the ranger
arrived and stopped by the springs. We confirmed with him that we
had a designated camp and he proceeded to discover a wine bottle in
the brambles above our pool.
We had some hearty pesto pasta for
dinner at our camp on the sandy wash. Several of us returned to the
springs again after dinner and got views of the stars through the
treetops. After a good night's rest and breakfast, you can guess
what was next on the agenda: more time in the springs. Soon enough,
we pointed our feet seaward and began the return trip. The weather
was perfect once again and we struck up some good conversations –
apparently too good at one
point as one of the team rolled an ankle. Fortunately we were close
to the trailhead, so with a little RICE and pack weight distribution,
we made it out just fine. Although we decided we didn't have time to
try out a nice looking restaurant and bakery along the One (we'll
come back to it next time), the return drive home treated us with a
beautiful Pacific sunset.
Peter Grubb Hut Ski Trip - April 22 - 24 Led by Kevin Mori, Graham Dudley
Overview Who: 3 skiers and one snowboarder What: an epic three days of ski touring and tracking up the nearby slopes Where: Just out of Donner Pass near Lake Tahoe. When: left Friday, Apr 22, around 10 am and returned Sunday after a delicious dinner on the road. Difficulty: enough to know you're pretty out of shape. How well can you ski with a pack on?
Detailed Version Although this was a small trip due to some last minute logistic complications, we more than made up for it by booking it out to the cabin and living it up in some fresh powder. We had an extra half day since we left Friday morning and everyone had skis or a board, so we racked up some good runs including a quick bag of nearby Castle Peak (9103').
Did I mention the food was incredible? We enjoyed some quality meat as we commiserated over the sad fact that there were not more spring Redwood trips this year (or that others were not here to enjoy the great snow). Peter Grubb itself was like a presidential suite, compared to Ludlow, complete with a solar panel and indoor lighting (!). Not to mention the ambiance of holly candles in vintage wine bottle candelabras.
We also got to take full advantage of the second story entrance to the hut since there was so much snow. A back entrance (the typical summer entrance) on the first floor opened to a snow tunnel that previous travelers had dug to gain the ten vertical feet to the surface. It was like a fairytale.
The next morning, we enjoyed a breakfast of kings before heading out for the day. The freedom of an entire day in the backcountry without the need to rush back to the trailhead was great.
Though visibility was low with the constant snow, we got a Low avy danger report (cell service! and can you believe it was the last day of the forecast with nearly 100" of base left?) and after a beacon check, skinned out. We explored the western flanks of Castle Peak for most of the day, and a day for whooping and yelling it was. Colorado snow was probably a little bit jealous. After a solid full day in the snow, we returned home to the hut, psyched that we got to spend another warm night in front of the large wood stove. Sunny Stanford campus was but a day away, but it sure didn't feel like it.
Sunday morning, we devoured the rest of our finest foods before setting course back to the car. We took a minor detour along the ridgeline to hit Andesite Peak (8213') and drop a thousand feet back to the trailhead. The ride back was surreal as we quickly emerged into full-on spring sunshine after seeing almost none of it up at Donner Pass. A stop at a delicious burger joint in Davis wrapped up one of our finest snow trips of the year.
Ludlow Hut Snowshoeing Trip - February 4 - 6 Led by Kevin Mori, Juan-Carlos Foust
Overview Who: 9 intrepid snowshoers and a ski tourer What: a weekend of winter fun snowshoeing, playing in the snow, and staying the night at a truly rustic backcountry cabin Where: Northwest Lake Tahoe area. Ludlow Hut. A little south of Tahoe City. When: left Friday, Feb 4, around 5 pm and returned Sunday for dinner. Difficulty: need a love for snow, but hard snowpack made travel easy.
Detailed Version We couldn't get enough of Ludlow and came back again with an adventuresome group of ten. Parking was somewhat sketchy again (trying to avoid tickets but not offend neighbors), but we slept a good night at the trailhead. After spending a while sorting parking out in the morning and shuttling some cars to Blackwood Canyon snow park, we set off to great weather and a well packed trail. Juneuary had come and gone, and it was hard to believe there was still so much snow as we rolled up our shirtsleeves (or rid ourselves of shirts entirely). We had a lunch next to a beautiful snow-covered lake under the brilliant blue sky before heading up to the cabin.
Once at the cabin, some of us headed out to play in the snow while others got the wood stoves fired up inside. After a delicious dinner we relaxed in the warm glow of the two stoves having those quality conversations that magically form in the backcountry.
Sunday morning, we woke to the smell of woods stoves, had a hearty breakfast of pancakes before packing up and hitting the trail. We cruised on the net downhill and arrived at the trailhead shortly after noon to be greeted by some of the friendly neighborhood dogs. After recovering the car shuttle car from a snowy driveway and fetching our other cars at Blackwood Canyon snow park, we drove back to campus, content with a fantastic weekend.
Ludlow Leader Retreat - January 22 & 23
Overview Who: Redwood Leaders and Co-leaders What: Leader Retreat! Overnight Snowshoeing/XC Skiing/Backcountry Skiing trip. Where: Northwest Lake Tahoe area. Ludlow Hut. A little south of Tahoe City. When: Left Friday Jan 21 around 5pm and returned Sunday evening Jan 23. Difficulty: Not for first timers.
Detailed Version We were lucky enough to snag one of the Sierra Club huts situated in the Lake Tahoe area. The drive up to Tahoe was fast with dry roads, and despite being barked at by 2 large dogs at 5 in the morning, camping at the trailhead worked well. With very little new snow, the 6 miles on a relatively flat road went by very quickly Saturday morning, and we soon found ourselves having lunch at the cabin, skinning up nearby peaks for quick backcountry fresh tracks, and sledding on nearby hills. Saturday evening we spent hanging out by the two wood stoves on the bottom floor of the hut while we ate a delicious burrito dinner put together by Angie and Graham (thanks so much for organizing a great meal)! Everyone was happy to get to bed early, especially considering how warm it was in the loft of the hut. Marcus snored, Sam had scary dreams, but all were happy when we woke up the following morning for our pancake breakfast. Soon we were on our way down the road, and in less than 2 hours, were back at the cars. I don't think I've ever been back to campus earlier from a weekend trip: I actually made it back for dinner at Columbae!
Point Reyes Day Hike - November 2010
Half Dome - October 2010
Our group of 16 did a sunrise hike of the iconic half dome in Yosemite National Park. The hike is about 8miles and 5,000 ft of elevation gain one way. We left campus Friday evening and arrived at the trailhead around 11pm. We started hiking around midnight and made good time reaching the top around 6am. While we were regrouping before heading up the cables section to the top of the dome, one of the participants, Michael Rooney, captured this spectacular view of a lone hiker ascending the cables. What's particularly amazing about this photo was that in person everything was pitch black except for the light from the hikers headlamp. There was definitely no sign of the rising sun yet as can be seen in the bottom right of the photo. Anyways, we all were treated to a spectacular view of the sunrise and took a quick nap on top before heading down. About halfway down at the junction of the John Muir trail and the Mist Trail, an impressive thunderstorm moved in and it started to pour. Happy to be well on our way to the trail head and nowhere near the cables section at top, we donned our rain jackets and reached the parking lot around 4pm. There, we were warmly welcomed by our generous designated drivers (needed since we had been hiking all night with nearly no sleep) who had spent the day enjoying themselves in the valley. We reached campus around 10pm, ready for warm showers and sleep. We look forward to leading this trip again in the future! (Be sure to check out the Photo Galleryfor more pictures.)