Lyell Glacier Backpack Trek

August 14, 2014 to August 17, 2014

Experience a glacier in Yosemite’s own backyard! Lyell Glacier is on the western slope of the Sierra Nevada, on Yosemite’s highest peak. Few people get to visit glaciers, because they are remote and conditions are challenging, but the experience is unforgettable. Your reward for climbing steep rock, and braving strong wind and sun at high elevation, will be to set foot on a glacier — one that is shrinking and may not be here for future generations. This trip kicks off with a Thursday-evening meeting in Tuolumne Meadows Campground. On Friday morning, we’ll start from Tuolumne Meadows and transition to an off-trail climb to set up basecamp between 10,000' and 11,000' elevation. On the second day, we’ll hike on glacial ice then return to basecamp. On Sunday, we’ll hike approximately 10 miles back to Tuolumne Meadows; timing depends on the speed of the group, but we usually return around 5 pm. This trip is recommended for fit, experienced backpackers.

Experience package includes camping Aug. 14 & 17 at Tuolumne Meadows Campground plus entry into Yosemite. Upgrade your package to stay at Tuolumne Lodge Aug. 17. Information about upgrading your package will be available once you have registered. Both packages include wilderness permits and a bear canister. Click here to see a suggested packing list for this program. Crampons and ice axes are not needed.

Take a quick glimpse of the topics that will be discussed by viewing Yosemite Nature Notes: Glaciers.

Hiking: Very challenging; off-trail at high elevation, about 10 miles to/from basecamp, with another 5-mile round-trip day hike
Elevation: 8,600'–12,500'
Experience package: $269
Leader: Pete Devine
Pete Devine, Yosemite Conservancy expert guide

Pete Devine

Pete Devine has taught outdoors in Yosemite for 30 years and is the now the Yosemite Conservancy’s Resident Naturalist. Originally from New England, Pete has worked in the West as a park ranger, archeologist, river guide, naturalist and teacher. He has hiked the Alps, Andes, Himalaya, Min Shan and Southern Alps, and has a bird list that includes motmots, minivets, drongos and the plain-mantled tit spinetail. Pete has been studying the recession of Yosemite’s Lyell Glacier since 1998. He’s been a popular seminar instructor and a speaker at numerous conferences, has trained many rangers and naturalists, has served on several nonprofit boards, and in 2009 he was awarded the highest honor given by the Association for Environmental and Outdoor Education. 

Watch Pete in action in Episode 9 of Yosemite Nature Notes, "Frazil Ice".