Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Yosemite CC Ski: Glacier Point Road To The Clark Range Overlook

Dale Matson

Click On Photographs To Enlarge
Suunto Ambit2 Route

12.35 miles round trip with 1,135’ of gain overall. 5 hours total time out.
Maximum Elevation 7,425'

* Note: Yosemite Park requires all vehicles to carry chains in the winter and this includes 4 wheel drive vehicles.

It is a promising beginning to the winter ski season with Badger Pass opening on December 12th this year. The Nordic Holiday Ski Race was cancelled the last two years for lack of snow. I didn’t ski in Yosemite at all last year. I have one caveat about skiing on Glacier Point Road. If you are a novice skier, and the surface is icy, rent snowshoes instead.

My son Ben and I drove up to the Badger Pass ski area from Fresno in about two hours. For those who have a longer commute, there is also lodging nearby by the Chinquapin turn off to Glacier Point at Yosemite West.  I called ahead of time to the cc ski center (209) 372-8444 to ensure Glacier Point Road from the downhill ski area to Glacier Point had been groomed since the last snowfall. Snow reports updated daily are available usually here:

The road from the Highway 41 Yosemite gate to Badger Pass (25 miles) was slow because it was snow covered and slippery. Well, yes Glacier Point Road had been groomed but there were no tracks laid for track skiing by the grooming machine. (I was informed today that parts have been ordered and hopefully the machine will be ready to go soon.) Glacier Point Road is not just hilly; it has severe slopes to accommodate the curves. Without tracks, track skis slide unmercifully toward the low side of the road making the route more difficult. Skate skiers had a good surface. The snow was cold and squeaky and there was no difficulty with sticky transitional snow. It is always a good practice to put a fresh coat of glide wax on skis to avoid snow build up as you ski. The temperature remained in the low 20s under clear skies for our ski.

There is an initial quick curved descent from the Badger Pass parking area to Glacier Point Ski Trail. From there it is about a .75-mile climb that crests before a short descent to Summit Meadow. There is a pottie located there. Folks heading to Dewey Point usually depart at this point. Most use snowshoes since this is a difficult ski.

From here it is downhill to where Glacier Point Road intersects with the road to the Bridalveil Campground trail. It is downhill to where Bridalveil Creek crosses under the road also. The route then begins to climb in earnest for about 1.5 miles until you reach the Clark Range Overlook. At this point you’re a tad past 6 miles from the trailhead and facing an initial long descent followed by a long climb back to the trailhead on tired legs.

When I was younger and fitter, the Clark Range Overlook was just a stop on the day ski to Glacier Point and back (21 miles round trip). Actually, you can get as good a photograph from Washburn Point as Glacier Point and save about 45 minutes and a long steep climb out from Glacier Point. Here is a video I did of the full trip about 6 years ago.

Badger Pass Parking By Trailhead
 Ben Adjusting His Daypack

 Bridalveil Campground Junction About 2.5 Miles From Trailhead
 Bridalveil Creek With Headwaters At Ostrander Lake
 Ridge Above Ostrander Lake
 This Is A Gutbuster Of A Day Ski. Most Stay Overnight At The Ski Hut
Here Is A Video I Posted Of The Ostrander Day Ski In 2010

 Clark Range Overlook Cloud's Rest Far Left

1 comment:

  1. Photographs were taken with a Sony A7R and native Sony Zeiss 24-70 f4 lens.