Come spend a night in the heart of the Sierra just outside Yosemite National Park at Yosemite Pines RV Resort and Family Lodging.

David Is Thinking About Winter Camping Already

| June 23, 2006

David wrote in to ask:

Each winter, I organize a group of 40-something guys (between four and ten of us) on a winter hike. For the past 10 years we’ve been doing this in New Hampshire’s White Mountains, always with a guide service to help us deal with equipment and emergencies. But this past Spring I visited Yosemite with my family, and I’m intrigued at the idea of having the group fly to Yosemite to hike.

We would most likely have just two days to hike – a weekend. What can you recommend as a hike for us? If we hike two days with an overnight in the middle, are there any shelters – heated? – where we can spend the night? I know Half Dome is a famous hike, but is it accessible during Winter? And do you recommend we use a guide service, and if so who?

I sent David’s email over to Tom, Instructor at Badger Pass and a resident Yosemite to see what he had to offer. Here’s what he had to say:

Loyd elected me as resident winter guru, which is a bit exaggerated, but I do spend a lot of time outdoors in winter (22 days this February. Yeah Baby!). It sounds like your preference is to have a hut. Unlike the Northeast, where huts are the norm (though not heated), there aren’t many in Yosemite. There are, however, three options.

1 Glacier Point Ski Tour with the Yosemite Mountaineering School. This is a nice trip, but you can only do it with a guide. You are, of course, welcome to head out there on your own, but the hut has a full commercial kitchen, supplies for the summer retail and so forth, so you can only get in with a guide who has a key. It’s fairly plush – gas heat plus a fireplace, full kitchen, stocked fridge, bunk beds. They also groom the road for every guided trip, so it’s friendly for folks who aren’t necessarily strong skiers. It’s 10 miles one way and you can do trips with either one or two nights at the hut. It runs somewhere around $160 to $250 dollars depending on whether it’s one night or two, weekend or not. I don’t know exact prices since that’s my wife’s job. Call the Mountain School at (209) 372-8344 for info on prices. For info on the trip itself, you can see a description on my site

http://YosemiteExplorer.com/ski/glacier-point

For a set of images, click on the link to the associated gallery.

2. Ostrander Hut. This is a tougher ski and a more rustic and much smaller hut. It’s also much cheaper ($30/night). I’m not sure how to get reservations because I’ve always just either gone for the day or camped, but I can look into it. If you want to stay in the hut, you have to call the Yosemite Association (209-372-0740) for information. They hold a lottery for reservations every November, but realistically it’s easy to get reservations during the week most times. If you want some more description of the trip, you can again check out my general page on the Ostrander trip and then go from there to the gallery (there’s a link on the description page).
http://YosemiteExplorer.com/ski/ostrander

3. Trans-Sierra trip through Tuolumne. This is probably beyond the scope of your trip since you would want several days for this. Basically, you go to Tioga Pass Resort on the first day. Another day gets you to one of the two huts in Tuolumne (either the park service free hut or the Yosemite Mountaineering School hut which has meals and heat, but requires a guided trip. Then it’s usually a couple more days to get down into the Valley. At that point you’re faced with trying to get back to your car on the east side.

If you want to camp out, that opens a lot of possibilities. If you want just a short hike/ski, Dewey Point is fantastic, but that’s more of a one-day thing (http://yosemiteexplorer.com/ski/dewey-point). Heading up Snow Creek from the Valley is a grueling start to any hike, but you could do a sweet hike out to May Lake and possibly summit Mount Hoffman if you’re a strong group. That’s definitely something to consider.

Half Dome is a much more serious outing in the winter and I have to admit that I have not done it myself. Basically, the cables are present, but the stansions are removed, the cable is lying down. Risk of avalanche can be high if there’s snow on the Dome. Much easier would be to go up to North Dome, but of course it’s not a famous tick. I would say that Half Dome in winter is a mountaineer’s summit, not a hiker’s peak.

Thanks for all the great information Tom. I hope that helps you out some, David. Be sure to visit Tom’s site at http://www.YosemiteExplorer.com

Photo courtesy of BigPhilUK


Category: Uncategorized


About Loyd: For over 30 years I've enjoyed hiking, backpacking, fishing, photographing and exploring Yosemite and the Sierra Nevada. More About the Author. View author profile.

Comments (6)

Trackback URL | Comments RSS Feed

  1. David says:

    Thanks! Some interesting options. Unfortunately our group isn’t into X-C skiing; we’re more looking for a strenuous/challenging hike with a ‘reward’ at the end of the day of a reasonably comfortable bed, some heat, and a hearty meal. Maybe Tom can let me know if his suggested camps are reasonable destinations for hikers as opposed to skiers; generally we like having a destination as a goal – top of a mountain sort of thing.
    In any case, many thanks for the info-
    David

  2. Jon Shannon says:

    Tom makes mention of going out to Glacier Point on your own. I try to do this hike every winter because it is superb. As he mentions, the trails are groomed so you can ski or snow shoe with ease. I take a tent and there is usually only a couple of other people out there. Glacier Point is a day-use area in summer, and is often packed. But in winter it is to die for.

  3. Par says:

    David, there is snow in Yosemite in the winter.

  4. David says:

    Just so I’m clear, the goal is to engage in winter hiking – not necessarily just walking in the snow, but getting up a mountain in the snow/ice. In New Hampshire we typically are using crampons/ice ax and are prepared for wicked winds and frostbite. And we always bring guides in case of emergencies, and we’ve seen a bunch of those too.
    Perhaps this is a different kind of hiking from what we would find in Yosemite?
    David

  5. You could try Mt. Whitney for some winter climbing / extreme hiking. It is also crowded in the summer, but mostly isolated in the winter. You can fly into Vegas, cross Death Valley, and then be in the snow the same day.

  6. Tom says:

    Jon is definitely right. You pretty much never see anyone out at Glacier Point. I usually skate ski out there a few times a winter and it’s great to be alone there. One time, in fact… er better not go there.

    Anyway, Loyd said he was going to post this, but I missed it and the ensuing discussion. David and I corresponded by email. Other than my illiteracy (saying I don’t know about reservations at Ostrander and then proceeding to explain about reservations at Ostrander), there are some other things to add. Here’s my follow up email to David. Not sure what the comment form will do with the links, but here goes:

    ….

    David,

    Got it. I would say that the real pleasure of Yosemite in the winter is backcountry skiing (not necessarily nordic, but backcountry, meaning it could be lightweight cross-country, heavyweight cross-country, telemark or alpine touring depending on where you go).

    A couple of things. In my opinion, skis are pretty much a necessity for anything FUN in the oss- #comue;" odbid1-hiking. It is also crowded in the summer, but mostly isolated in the winter. You can fly into Vegas, cross Death Valley, and then be in the snow the same portyosemitebki/gmugglef="http://te 217utingWskiay. bss-return true;" onmouseout="self.status=''">hiking. It is also crowded in the summer, but mostly isolated in the winter. You can fly into Vegas, cross Death Valley, and then be in the snow the same mment-231">d="commennofollit and theyose-return true;" onmouseout="self.status=''">hiking. It is also crowded in the summer, but mostly isolated in the winter. You can fly into Vegas, cross Death Valley, and then be in the snow the same portyosemitet theI>1 Glaci03fd329goodor us? I winter is orts-neac5243i;s more of.atarVermoorthciergmping stsrc="s coursefeI’ thegr- t}sv id="s 12-15efeI&avatar infon inqucardoad fo6/06/2 stsrcs heavydrop 6-8efeI&#i;s247;mursnofollois ba

  7. 1 Gla30 e in t}v idgoes:inter#co here gend the m/supmy os="s coaomment-229", eithac5243

    H skiiommencoh eitheclid ng have Sh ofaRisk of avalanche , r on/p> 6700="ht42;d with ou can #commenon, orty six night week7400="ht42;d#co here gdd thrion, e in w on thn-even (week e in wqu"comm 038;r=r' sg-camdd thase, r on/ up ethe c more gue wareturn true;" onmouseout="self.status=''">hiking. It is also crowded in the summer, but mostly isolated in the winter. You can fly into Vegas, cross Death Valley, and then be in the snow the same portyosemitet "s cunch of tautnter an to / up portys)log.coutntee me (gue wa c mportysDavidg necessaht o I wint

    Hming ommenk" tt WatRtonRisk of avalanuot a rs as o skioi';return true;" onmouseout="self.status=''">climbing / extreme enay. / up avenk blinks up (oss-anformat> on wherl of ery 038;r=r' sBc, but that&srcgi/200qucstatar/230"> noaving the group div iskiiving tou out some, David. ( you of thmmewww.wey Pisk of s touYMSlog.cohe group(not neces to ut tar/7934goiershettmursnmment odd alt thcriptng return true;" onmouseout="self.status=''">climbing / extreme thereturn true;" onmouseout="self.status=''">climbing / extreme

    vidg //y-a06/2 Hodgdon Mt "s pootnteadapt /p> David. m point yoù"> there> es:i Hoorer Thate of a one-day thiT0;.

    Davexce sugtaving the grous=7;s sumEaof a on">

    hiking. It is also crowded in the summer, but mostly isolated in the winter. You can fly into Vegas, cross Death Valley, and then be in the snow the same portyosemite,>shettmurs, David. m point yoù"> David. www.waluckc2/157em-objear> d gas heat plDavid. wryosemr Thate of a one-day thireturn true;" oninfo point gucan cc/imawded in the su>ue;" oninfo point gucan cc/i

    Hsawa thr7; at the end her t it&p clend nkquoerofeley ry, telemarss="comment-body">
    e="Subscribe viaribe via n: 10px://yosemite great to bmargin: 10ncategorizedime, ">d/">Uncategoria onbarioga-pass-resort-you/0.gravats also tween -.com: -s) on tween -botobj us) onatar/ass="cl anncivacy guarantis iad2ame="uranndch ore dcc/iis iad/js/adsbyme="urijsog.com :336 onspan> :28) o" n is-scrilnyef/ava-pub-14ier95881454435" n is-scrslof/a385727822menu/ireintem .gravats also tween -.com: -s) on tween -botobj us) onatar/ass="cl anncivacy guarantis iad2ame="uranndch ore dcc/iis iad/js/adsbyme="urijsog.com :336 onspan> :28) o" n is-scrilnyef/ava-pub-14ier95881454435" n is-scrslof/a385727822menu/ireintem ravats also tween -botobj us) onata "3id="span> "2 /><

    kbacer-campDaes sout Wint-232"Sy intoosemiteblogros!bruary. Yh3>0.gravatar.com/thisDaes s">' sread-oddy to keeposemiteblogrostidestheyuk" ti/157os/phb8?s=6 Then it&, bunk pentn
    Hmtingesy ofsy intoosemiteblogros#8217 he s 32"> keepoas opheate valoceeding lces si resPss-cetos/phi=6 Thenhreffussurentnderseatetoat, b;rewa

    !s="c dy"> kbacer-campDaes sout Wint-232"og.csemiteblogros#t-231refInbox!bruary. Yh3>Uny?uri=yosemiteblog', 'popupwindow', 'scrollbars=yes,width=550,height=520');return true">

    Comments (6)

    0.gt-winter-campstayiut t">d/<

    <

    i, Dscri2.pndiv id="ue;" onmetai, Dscridcc/iis isodging."><

    :

    : : -'subsvacy guaranteed. We'll never share your info.
    ing>: 2.pndiv id="ue;" onmetaing>:
ommtube2.pndiv id="ue;" onmetaommtubetadata"> 116979347098102519424/?prvacy3 is also this-decorp id=: n. d e in to ask: orm> iut t/gilus-32.pndiv> "32="span> "32="s also a winte 0ast 10 y great to bmargibmargibmargi0px://yosemite categoria onbar-botobjioga-pass-resort-you/0.gravatgoria onbar-botobj-.com/>nt-body"> ; d 10px://yosemite great to bmargin:com/2004/12/21 e er-Daes ssioga-pass-resort- /uncategorized/"-winter-camp e er-Daes s rel004/12/21 ng>: rsste: et=.>kbacer-campDaes sout Wint-232"semiteblogros#Gains, n Fng>: bruary. Yh3>: 'in to ask:: : 'in to ask:: : 'in to ask:: : : 'in to ask:: : 'in to ask:: : 'in to ask:: : 'in to ask:: : 'in to ask:: kbacer-campDaes sout Wint-232"Hop Plpicsbruary. Yh3> <-camping-alravatar/0f10c52-ssar commentmetadata">cinifef=en"http://yosemiteblog.com/2006/06/23/david-ianer hut. uary., n efinitely right. You pretty much n17/04/26/big-oak-flat-eith-re valallymay-1st/avatar/0is i-1ski out th13541m/cat Oak Fnath/taogRe valallous o1sts="feed"> <-camping-alravatar/0f10c52-ssar cian Nuslein. uary., n efinitely right. You pretty much n17/04/04/whye out e-big-oak-flat-eith-still-clidWhy="s cologat Oak Fnath/taogstilleclid <-camping-alravatar/0f10c52-ssar c class="comment-meta You pretty mucp://yosemiteblog.com/2006/06/23/david-.jpg" st. uary., n efinitely right. You pretty much n17/04/04/whye out e-big-oak-flat-eith-still-clidWhy="s cologat Oak Fnath/taogstilleclid <-camping-alravatar/0f10c52-ssar c class="comment-Cinifef=en"http://yosemiteblog.com/2006/06/23/david-ianer hut. uary., n efinitely right. You pretty much n17/04/04/whye out e-big-oak-flat-eith-still-clidWhy="s cologat Oak Fnath/taogstilleclid <-camping-alravatar/0f10c52-ssar cPaul1Porter. uary., n efinitely right. You pretty much n16in Up1/inteway-140-el-intoal-eith-clidHnteway 140repared fEl1Porte h/taogClid kbacer-campDaes sout Wint-232"og.csemiteblogros#t-231refInbox!bruary. Yh3>ef="httment-b/">Uny?uri=yosemiteblog', 'popupwindow', 'scrollbars=yes,width=550,height=520');return true">

Comments (6)

0.gt-winter-campstayiut t">d/<

<

i, Dscri2.pndiv id="ue;" onmetai, Dscridcc/iis isodging."><

:

: : -'subsvacy guaranteed. We'll never share your info.
ing>: 2.pndiv id="ue;" onmetaing>: ommtube2.pndiv id="ue;" onmetaommtubetadata"> 116979347098102519424/?prvacy3 is also this-decorp id=: n. d e in to ask: orm> iut t/gilus-32.pndiv> "32="span> "32="s also a winte 0ast 10 y great to bmargibmargibmargi0scribe viaiaribe v scribe via RSS F2/21 e erioga-pass-resort-you/0© efinitely right. You pretty muc""semiteblBtty mucmiteb n17. Aid=rces si, but <| to bfinitely right. You pretty much erms-ofdept://TermsThenUs<-hash-map-0 years I've enjoyed hiking, bac"bscribe vir/fa9d990f7ecg
  • <-hash-map-="says">says: "bscribe vir/fa9d990f7ecg
  • <-hash-map-miteTrailsDVD.com' rel='external"bscribe vir/fa9d990f7ecg
  • <-hash-map-says">says: "bscribe vir/fa9d990f7ecg
  • <-hash-map-otales.com/yosemite.htm' rel='ex"bscribe vir/fa9d990f7ecg
  • <-hash-map-Explorer.com' rel='external nofo"bscribe vir/({pageLass="cln is-cf anncm/i,lsPri '') {this/javaass="c"bsvut wdd si4_ut fat = {"n is_ut-wi_r ($3 thi": cla,"ui_atomm ta":300,"ignore_but r_ut fat": cla};svut wdd si4_nts">C= {};content" cn ized/" rel="caring gs Begt-2thor iass="cln is-cf anncm/i,lsPri '') {this/javaass="c"bs vut wdd si4_ll>ductC= "wpp-o.3.5";s vut wp_ll>duct_omm taC= "wpp-o.3.5";s vut wp_etty_omm taC= "4.7.5";s vut wdd si4_llugt-_ts ( = {"ts (_w the ":{thmanyd","cms_crib":{W wiPreen","llugt-_crib":{Sts">Ctag">Uncay/" rel="","llugt-_omm ta":"o.3.5","an. yn be_>
  • <_id":"sma615d1c48e73aan>80360f52dd096e2bd","llugt-_inda":{W wiPreen","seke y_> ef ":{"wdd si4_l r_t=52_thmanyd": cla,"wdd si4_above_thmanyd":i,lsP,"wdd si4_atego_thmanyd": cla,"wdd si4_a onbar_thmanyd":i,lsP,"wdd si4_mobi><_toolbar_thmanyd":i,lsP,"wdd si4_above_showon_is is":{ clas,"wdd si4_atego_showon_is is":{ clas,"wdd si4_above_showon_cb251818is":{ clas,"wdd si4_atego_showon_cb251818is":{ clas,"wdd si4_above_showon_archivis":{ clas,"wdd si4_atego_showon_archivis":{ clas,"wdd si4_above_showon_hoib": cla,"wdd si4_above_showon_i"book: cla,"wdd si4_above_showon_excerpook: cla,"wdd si4_atego_showon_hoib": cla,"wdd si4_atego_showon_i"book: cla,"wdd si4_atego_showon_excerpook: cla,"wdd si4_a onbar_showon_hoib": cla,"wdd si4_a onbar_showon_i"book: cla,"wdd si4_a onbar_showon_is is": cla,"wdd si4_a onbar_showon_archivis": cla,"wdd si4_a onbar_showon_cb251818is": cla,"wdd si4_mobi><_toolbar_showon_hoib": cla,"wdd si4_mobi><_toolbar_showon_i"book: cla,"wdd si4_mobi><_toolbar_showon_is is": cla,"wdd si4_mobi><_toolbar_showon_archivis": cla,"wdd si4_mobi><_toolbar_showon_cb251818is": cla,"stegory_thmanyd_on_i"bo_tar_p>Jobox.: cla},"ls i_ts (":{"templgoi":{i"book,{i"bo_ '')":{"}};s ank.g'')of(wdd si4_ut fat)="su"unhere.yd") {s vut wdd si4_ut fat = {"n is_ut-wi_r ($3 thi": cla,"ui_atomm ta":300,"ignore_but r_ut fat": cla};s }s ank.g'')of(wdd si4_nts">)="su"unhere.yd") {s vut wdd si4_nts">C= {};c }s ank.g'')of(wdd si4_roymm )="su"unhere.yd") {s vut wdd si4_roymm C= {};c }s ontent" cn itent" c n is-cf anncm/i,lsPrc '') {this/javaass="c"c "sitetis7.wdd si4 muchjs/300/wdd si4_Daes s.js#pub2/2loyd>Relate "c anncm/ annc"c cn intent" cn itent" ln is-cf anncm/i,lsPri '') {this/javaass="c"bs (funyosem() {s vut wt_ at tvalC= setIat tval(funyosem () {s if(hidden"idd si4) {s -resoIat tval(wt_ at tval);c wdd si4 roymm (wdd si4_roymm );c }s },1000)c }());c intent" cn issar://yoss alssheet'F2/2'wdd si4_output-css' lass="comment-eed. We'll never share your llugt-s/wdd si4/css/output.css? mos4.7.5'i '') 'this/css' media2'wlliv c issar://yoss alssheet'F2/2'e Tio Your WC in ss' lass="comment-eed. We'll never share your llugt-s/yet-an.co oga Pass l="boo-llugt-/s als/a Pass .css? mos4.7.5'i '') 'this/css' media2'wlliv c itent" l '') 'this/javaass="c2b8?s=120&eed. We'll never shaincludeshjs/i out threply.min.js? mos4.7.5'g.com */s.com {v:semi',j:'1:4.9',ll n:'92154815',="bo:'577',tz:'-8',srv:s You pretty mucp} ]); _w q.push([ 'r ($3mmenteoIait/> 92154815', '577' ]); .com #lank, #lank-tok, #lank-botobj { be#comor:url(guaranteed. We'll never share your info. iz[c22bf]-about ized/S3/davQuantcuscotag -- _qof the ={ qacct:{i-58CuL3koKqEnk" };content" cn.tent" l '') {this/javaass="c"svacy guarantees .quantbut ever quantijsog.com "1iv id="Quantcuscvalu