Trip Report
Running and Fastpacking the Yosemite High Sierra Camp Loop
Tuesday August 28, 2012 4:21pm
Lizzy, Luke and Julie at the Vogelsang High Sierra Camp
Lizzy, Luke and Julie at the Vogelsang High Sierra Camp
Credit: cultureshock

At the beginning of August my wife and I, along with one of my college friends, went on a big adventure run around Tuolumne. In the style of many ultra running type events we spent a good deal walking up the hills and enjoying the views. Our route followed the ~47 mile loop that connects the High Sierra Camps.

By staying at the High Sierra Camps we were able to go fast pack style with less than 10 pounds of gear each. Meals were cooked for us by the amazing High Sierra Camp staff and we slept in tent cabins. Not having to carry much food and getting hot showers was an amazing luxury in the backcountry!

We traveled clockwise starting from Tuolumne and staying at Merced Lake and then May Lake. This meant a brutal second day of running with less mileage and elevation on the first and last days. On Friday we climbed Cathedral Peak to help acclimatize.

Here is the video from our adventure! So much beautiful scenery and a large variety of terrain.

Weekend Stats (Friday - Monday):

Highpoint: 10,940 feet
Total Elevation Gain/Loss: 9931 feet

Pictures Taken: 500+

Miles Traveled: 51.9
Miles Run for the High Sierra Loop: 46.7

Hours Running: 13

High Sierra Camps Visited: 5
Tired Runners: 3
Nights Slept: 2 (Merced Lake and May Lake)
Summits: 1 (Cathedral Peak)

Garmin plots of the three days of running:

Toulumne to Merced Lake

Merced Lake to May Lake

May Lake back to Toulumne

More details and thoughts from Lizzy:

I think this is a good summary photo of the trip:


  Trip Report Views: 6,359
About the Author
Luke is a trad climber and occasional runner from Sunnyvale, CA.

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Sport climber
Almost to Hollywood, Baby!
  Aug 28, 2012 - 04:25pm PT
That looks like a fun trip! Awesome baby pic too.

Social climber
Wolf City, Wyoming
  Aug 28, 2012 - 04:25pm PT
Oh yeah!!! Nice adventure, thanks for sharing that!

Social climber
Lida Junction
  Aug 28, 2012 - 04:49pm PT
you always do really cool videos, and this doesn't disappoint.
I never tire of Tuolumne.

  Aug 28, 2012 - 04:55pm PT
Well done! And I second the video going on the run with you...while sitting on my couch!
Vitaliy M.

Mountain climber
San Francisco
  Aug 28, 2012 - 06:02pm PT
This looks awesome, thank you for posting. I wanted to do Rae lakes loop for quite a while. This one seems like a good idea too. Do you guys run or power hike up hill?
Ezra Ellis

Trad climber
North wet, and Da souf
  Aug 28, 2012 - 10:57pm PT
Looks like a good time, thanks for sharing!!!

Ice climber
  Aug 28, 2012 - 11:55pm PT
Cool. Did Julie forget her socks? I'm proud of all 3 of you.

Oddly enough one of my roomates in college was from Sunnyvale.

At the risk of repeating myself, I'm proud of all 3 of you. Are you gonna do that Utah run?

Social climber
Truckee, CA
  Aug 29, 2012 - 02:28pm PT
Looks like great fun, thanks for sharing!

Trad climber
Mountain View
Author's Reply  Aug 29, 2012 - 02:49pm PT
Thanks! We power hiked almost all of the hills. Running would have been great but we were always trying to conserve energy. Lizzy gets all the credit for editing the video. Julie had socks, just small ones. Lizzy and I were wearing compression calf sleeves to help reduce fatigue.

Which Utah run? I've heard cool things about a big traverse in Zion. Cool video here:

The next big thing for Lizzy and Julie is the Evolution Loop. A nice big, 36 mile,one day run around the evolution basin.

Full Evolution Loop. You can cut across Lamarck Col to shorten the run...
Full Evolution Loop. You can cut across Lamarck Col to shorten the run to 36 miles.
Credit: cultureshock

Here is a map of the full loop. They are going to do it by cutting across Lamarck Col to shorten it by 20 miles.
Don Paul

Gym climber
Denver CO
  Aug 29, 2012 - 02:42pm PT
What a great idea, will keep it in mind for when I think I can run that far.

  Aug 29, 2012 - 02:51pm PT
Great TR and Video. And what a great idea. Light is good.

Cheers, pc
Dick Erb

June Lake, CA
  Sep 4, 2012 - 11:18pm PT
Glen Denny was one of the stronger hikers I knew back in the sixties. He hiked the Yosemite High Camps loop in one day about fifty years ago.

Ice climber
  Sep 4, 2012 - 11:52pm PT
Are compression socks a form of doping? :LOL

The Salt Lake Skyline run my friend. Maybe I (and Jaybro?) will go with you.

Social climber
chica de chico, I don't claim to be a daisy.
  Sep 5, 2012 - 12:18pm PT
Thanks for the videos and trip report.....Very Cool... I have knee envy..

Back at my time in Tuolumne Meadows, it wasn't called Ultra running.

Just trying to get from *point A to point B, relax-enjoy the views ..and run back to work again between split shifts.

My favorite was~ Tuolumne to Vogelsang and back..

We had a contest several years in a row- to run the high camp route in a day... Several employees succeeded.


Ice climber
  Sep 6, 2012 - 12:38am PT
I was running just the other day and noticed a very pretty woman following me. Just happened again. Hi Nita. What song were you listening to and I'm guessing you didn't have the socks.


Social climber
Ridgway, CO
  Sep 6, 2012 - 12:52am PT
Julie is hot . . . she had to cool off!

"Fire on the Mountain". Take a whole pail of water, just to cool him down.

Trad climber
Los Angeles, CA
  Sep 11, 2012 - 11:08am PT
You're an "occasional" runner? Jesus, I'd like to see what you could do if you became an active one!
John M

  Apr 24, 2013 - 04:39pm PT
I missed this trip report first time around. Thats good stuff.
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