Leor Pantilat - Grand Canyon of Tuolumne

Sunday, July 18, 2010

I joined Joel and Sean for a fantastic 50k (~30 mile) point-to-point adventure run of the Grand Canyon of the Tuolumne from Tuolumne Meadows to White Wolf in Yosemite National Park. The terrain is quintessentially Sierra, with granite and water everywhere. This area has intrigued me for some time and the spectacular scenery surpassed my lofty expectations. Unlike many other spots in Yosemite, there is a true wilderness feeling inside the canyon as the only way into and out of the canyon is 4,000+ ft of elevation gain or loss.

We camped outside the park the night before and were able to hitch a ride from some gracious tourists from Spain almost immediately (congrats on the Cup!). The first part of the route is through the upper and lower Tuolumne Meadows to Glen Aulin High Sierra Camp with great views of the Echo Range and domes of the Tuolumne Meadows. Once in the canyon, there is a plethora of waterfalls and rapids along the Tuolumne River with granite everywhere! The amazing scenery continues for miles as the river thunders down the granite slopes with impressive force. While there are a few sections where one can open up the stride, the route is generally rocky, technical, and slow. However, the views and waterfalls more than compensate.


Joel's footage in HD:


What makes this route more remote is the fact that there is no outlet from the bottom of the canyon, which flows into Hetch Hetchy Reservoir (San Francisco's drinking water). In order to leave the canyon, one must ascend over 4,000+ ft back to the ridge line at White Wolf. This steep ascent proved grueling in the heat of the day and after having already covered 24 rugged miles. The entire route took us 8:40 with nearly 2 hours spent enjoying the scenery and capturing all the photography and video I hope you will enjoy!

Complete report with photos here.


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