Little Yosemite Valley wilderness permits for Snake Dike?


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Sport climber
Topic Author's Original Post - Aug 6, 2014 - 03:00pm PT
Hi, another Brit here, hoping to climb Snake Dike a week on Saturday. The wilderness permits for Little Yosemite Valley are all booked up. The website says extra "first come first served" permits are available from 11am the day before your trip.

Anyone got a feel for how quickly the first come first served permits for Little Yosemite Valley get snapped up?

And just to check I've understood, if I wanted to camp overnight on the Friday night then the permits first start being available from 11am on the Thursday?


Trad climber
South Pasadena, CA
Aug 6, 2014 - 04:21pm PT
Are wilderness permits required for taking a nap as part of a day hike? You might be able to make creative adjustments to your itinerary to address the issue.

Sport climber
Topic Author's Reply - Aug 6, 2014 - 04:30pm PT
haha, for the inexperienced and dumb around here (i.e. me) could you give a hint what such creative day-hiking might look like? :)

Mountain climber
Anchorage AK, Reno NV
Aug 6, 2014 - 06:19pm PT
Does it require a permit if you do not stay overnight? I really have no idea.

I've generally ignored stuff like that. But as a guest in a country you wish to revisit you may not be willing to pay the price if caught breaking rules.

Trad climber
Bay Area
Aug 6, 2014 - 07:43pm PT
Go early, go fast. There's been a lot of afternoon thunderstorm activity. You really don't want to be up high on the route or on top in an electrical storm. More than one person has been killed up there.
Most do it in a long day from the Valley. No permits needed. Pre-dawn start.

Wilderness permit is "required" for any overnight travel. Half Dome permit only required for the Cables going up. No worries descending by the cables.

These guys recently did it in a day.
The total round trip time was 15.5 hours from our campsite in the valley. Good thing we started at 5:45 am!

Trad climber
the middle of CA
Aug 6, 2014 - 08:08pm PT
I thought doing it in a day was awesome when we started from glacier point and ended in the valley. Much less uphill, great scenery and a free shuttle (or free hitch hiking if you miss it). No permit needed.

Boulder climber
Aug 6, 2014 - 09:52pm PT
If you didn't need a campfire etc etc, you could comfortably bivy at Lost Lake (between LYV and the route).

Sport climber
Topic Author's Reply - Aug 6, 2014 - 11:24pm PT
Thanks, I'm just a bit afraid of doing it in one day as I'm pretty out of shape as the last couple of months have been crazy busy with work. So if those other guys say a 15hr round trip, for me it's probably more like 17, + then if I do it one day I'll be climbing in the rush and potentially slowing down other climbers as well.

With starting in Glacier valley does the approach take less time?

Trad climber
CA Central Coast
Aug 7, 2014 - 07:36am PT
So if those other guys say a 15hr round trip, for me it's probably more like 17, + then if I do it one day I'll be climbing in the rush and potentially slowing down other climbers as well.

I believe getting benighted is still a permit-free experience. You're good.


Trad climber
Sierra Vista
Aug 7, 2014 - 07:58am PT

If you are doing Snake Dike, up and down in a day you don't need a permit.

If you are going to formally camp you'll need a permit for the site etc.

I did it last year with my family and a mate in a long day from the Curry Campground car park - There's a TR that may help.

We did it like you in Aug, temps were OK - There was a breeze and on a Tuesday we had the route, and then the summit to ourselves.

Roger Brown

Oceano, California
Aug 7, 2014 - 09:14am PT
I had a nephew and 3 friends stay with me this week. They wanted a Half Dome permit. They got in line at 0600 and there were many ahead of them. Cancellations are given out at 1030 for LYV for that day. 12 first come first serve are given out after that. They got lucky, but said at least 1 hour earlier would be better and it looked like some had been there all night. No saving places, everyone must be in line. They did it mid week.

Trad climber
the middle of CA
Aug 7, 2014 - 10:17am PT
With starting in Glacier valley does the approach take less time?

About two miles longer from glacier point but you save close to 2000 ft of elevation gain so it will be close for time but I felt like it took less energy than going from the valley floor.
Mike Bolte

Trad climber
Planet Earth
Aug 7, 2014 - 10:28am PT

lays out the hike-in options pretty well. Had never thought of approaching from GP.

Trad climber
Aug 7, 2014 - 11:01am PT
If you can arrainge a car shuttle or do some hitch hiking the day before, starting at Glacier Point and ending at Curry Village is a nice option. When we did it as an overnight about 8 years ago the perimits were issued by trailhead you were departing from. The permits going from the valley to Little Yos campgound were all issued, but there were still some open from Glacier Point. If you go round trip to Glacier Point the last part of the hike back to the road is uphill. Heading out to curry village is all downhill after the climb and increases the odds of hitting the pizza deck before closing.

Sport climber
Topic Author's Reply - Aug 7, 2014 - 11:37am PT
Awesome! Thanks everyone! I'm generally chilled out about these things, but this is possibly my one chance, so want to make sure it definitely happens!

Trad climber
South Pasadena, CA
Aug 7, 2014 - 12:21pm PT
Let's just say you go to bed at 5pm (should be easy with jetlag from UK, will feel like your 1am). Then start the hike in sometime between midnight and 4am, and you get to the base of the climb, only to find a line! Well a nap would be in order while waiting for your turn. Or maybe there's no line, you get up top by 10am or noon, and have an extended lounge up on the summit.

So now it's mid-afternoon, you start the hike back, and maybe take a 1-2 hour nap somewhere on the hike back if you're feeling pooped. Or you push through to catch Nevada and Vernal falls in daylight since you missed it the night before. Then you can crash back at camp in the valley for the next 18 hours.

This way you're not really spending the night, and you don't have to be in good enough shape to do it in a single push. And you don't have to carry camping gear with you up to Little Yosemite Valley. And your rack weighs next to nothing, because you only need a half dozen quick draws, a few locking biners, and 1-2 cams. If you use thin double ropes you can evenly share the weight between partners, and you have more rope to work with in the off chance you want to bail from partway up.
David C

Trad climber
Aug 7, 2014 - 01:40pm PT
I did it in an afternoon and wish I hadn't. We left after lunch, simul-climbed it in 1hr 50min and walked down and got back before dark in heavy rain.

It is one of the best climbs in the world. If you can get a permit, camp light, climb with your stuff to the top (there is one pitch of VS which is at the start, most of the rest is V.Diff climbing with little gear, so HS). Have lunch on top and just take in the view over many cups of tea from the jet boil. Then assuming the weather holds watch the sun go down and walk down with head torches.

If it might rain, get off the top ASAP.

Trad climber
Flagstaff, Arizona
Aug 7, 2014 - 02:06pm PT
Hmmm, I think the couple of times I've done it, we have left by about 6:30AM from Upper Pines Campground and been back in camp by 3-5pm. The last time we did, I jogged down the trail from summit to bottom of Vernal and was back in camp by 3ish. It took me an hour from the summit to the water fountain at the bottom of Vernal. That was with a 3-person team, but they didn't jog down with me (had a date to get to).

In the old days, the climbers' trail wasn't very well marked. Last time I was up there it was like a highway and very well cairned.

Trad climber
South Pasadena, CA
Aug 7, 2014 - 02:27pm PT
First time I did it was NOT the way to do it. Even so, it was a great time:

1) Start by being terribly out of shape cubicle dweller, don't do any climbing for a year
2) Decide on Friday lunch that we should do it, then drive up that night and start the hike at around midnight
3) Bring full camping panoply- tent, cooking gear, etc... but only use it from 3am to 6am sleep somewhere above Vernal but below Nevada. Wake up with smarter people running by us in nothing but shorts and T-shirt with a small water bottle in hand.
4) Get to the base of Snake Dyke hours later with some route-finding difficulties, do the climb with little trouble, hang out up top and come down the John Muir Trail, then remember we have to back-track to get our stashed camping gear above Vernal falls!
5) Get to the car at 9pm and enter full fetal position in back seat and try not to vomit during drive back to SF Bay. By the time we reached Oakdale, I was able to eat something and then I felt alive again.

It's magic up there, and no matter how it goes you'll have a great time

the Fet

Aug 7, 2014 - 03:08pm PT
If you are out of shape it's way easier to do it in a day IMO. If you go overnight you are doubling the amount of weight you need to carry (sleeping bag, bivy sack, more food and water). It's way more taxing to carry that much extra weight even if it's spread over two days. Plus the Little Yosemite campground is out of the way if heading to Snake Dike, it's not legal to camp anywhere else on the way to snake dike.

If you are concerned just start very early (before 4AM) and you'll make it no problem. Scope out the start of the Mist Trail at Happy Isles the day before so you can easily find it in the dark.

Have fun. The best day hike (with an easy climb in the middle of it) in the world.
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