Topic Author's Original Post - Aug 10, 2010 - 03:12pm PT
(I think these are QITNL's pictures) The ladders have been mentioned in a few ST threads , and I found a short description on SummitPost : "An interesting feature found in the canyon is the presence of a partially buried telecommunications cable that was installed many years ago in the canyon. It lies along the eastern most end of the canyon, exposed in places where it is secured with chains and steel cables to the rock. The most exposed section is found about halfway up the canyon. While it seems a travesty that such a thing was put here in the first place, it must have been a phenomenal engineering effort to place it in such a difficult location. I have no idea if it is still functional or exactly what purpose it serves, but if anyone knows please post some information here." This might be another project for the FaceLifters . . .
Hey ß Î Ø T Ç H, yeah - those are my pictures. No problem with posting them - that's what they are for - thanks for the credit. I just found this while checking my site.
Last May my pal Hugo and I had a half day to kill. I had an eye on Indian Creek Canyon, turned out he did too. Right out the gate, we found ourselves following this 3-inch phone cable. What the heck?
When it looked like we were going to get cliffed out, those ladders appeared. Bomber! It turned into a real fun, touron-free hike. As well as the phone cable and the ladders, there's often a hand cable running on the walls. Some real nice rock up there, to boot.
The creek was flowing so we had to jump it once or twice. We hit snow and turn-around-time shortly before hitting the trail up on the rim, but the link-up looked liked a snap from where we stopped. And this canyon is a nice means of descent.
When I got home I googled around to try to find some history on the tons and tons of cable and how it was installed. Didn't find much. I saw your quote from Summitpost - I think that's Bob Burd. One of the only other references was from Werner on the Wings of Steel Part III thread (BITD when threads with 83 replies were considered long):
"That ladder you're talking about Tom was put in by the utility people to access the telephone cable going up Indian Canyon."
Maybe he knows more. Must have been one hell of a project. Also we wondered what the cable was for? Redundancy? You'd think the primary phone cables would travel to the Valley & Tioga via the roads. I'm still curious.
Hugo and I joked that removing the cable would be totally Facelift. If they give a prize for total weight, bring your saw, head on up! Heck, you could probably ebay the stuff. But remove the cables before the ladders, please!
A) You'll need them to pull the cable out and B) you'd ruin a real nice hike!
The Indian Canyon "trail" is a neglected classic. It is the only Via Ferratta in Yosemite, and should be left as part of history. For a canyon that basicly starts at the deli it gets very little traffic and is one of the quickest ways to the valley rim. There is some good climbing up there, and some beautiful scenery that is worth the hike, if you are willing to leave the paved trails.
Thanks QITNL . I came down the canyon one time , and went to the base of Lahamite falls and saw wire etc up there . Maybe the ladders will become the de rigueur descent for Royal Arches , Washington Column instead of NDG .
I don't have a map, I might be able to cobble something from my GPS dump. But the route-finding is dead easy. Find Indian Creek on any old map and away you go.
Heading up, start at the west side of Church Bowl. You'll find a phone box on your left behind some housing. From there the cable pokes in and out from the ground, it is buried at times but follow the line and it will emerge.
The cable stays on the right (east) side of the creek. Shortly after the ladders, we hit some pools. The might be passable when the creek is dry, but we crossed the creek and continued on the west side for a while.
The canyon narrows as you ascend. Don't stay on the left side for too long - there's a big tree across the creek after a quarter mile or so. Cross back to the right side, scramble up a crumbly hill to return to the east wall. The via ferrata runs along this wall all the way to the bench where we topped out.
Edit: Yes, I agree this is a nice little gem and I'd hate to see it trampled. I'd be happy to delete anything I've posted if anyone feels I've given away too much. Oh yeah, and if you're not a climber, don't even think about following this route: yer gonna die!!! I'd still like to know more about the history of the cables, though.
I traversed above this along the "rim" of the valley (from top of RA over to Yosemite Falls Trail), and loved the general area. Definitely tons of adventure in Yosemite, lacking only for time and imagination to find it.