Backpack to Lyell Glacier

Backpack to Lyell Glacier

Challenge yourself on a backpacking trip to Yosemite’s remote Lyell Glacier with a knowledgeable guide, and experience the thrill of climbing a living glacier.
August 1, 2019 to August 4, 2019

Explore the past, present and future of Yosemite’s glacial ice during this unforgettable adventure with an expert naturalist.

Enjoy a rare opportunity to backpack to the park’s highest peak, Mount Lyell, home to what was once Yosemite’s largest glacier. Research funded by Conservancy donors shows that this ice body has recently ceased its centuries of motion and, therefore, is no longer considered a glacier. Experience a remote, rugged part of the Yosemite Wilderness, as you learn about the history of glaciation in the Sierra Nevada and how shifting conditions are affecting Yosemite’s glacial ice. Your reward for climbing steep rock and braving strong wind and sun at high elevation will be to set foot on the former glacier and gain a deeper understanding of the park’s geologic past and future.                                                                            

Included with your registration:

  • Three full days of guided backpacking out of Tuolumne Meadows. Starting at 8 am on Friday, August 2, through around 5 pm on Sunday, August 4 (dependent on the speed of the group), plus an introductory evening meeting (7:30 pm on Thursday, August 1, at Tuolumne Meadows Campground).
  • Park entry (as needed).
  • Shared camping before and after the trip (as needed, Thursday, August 1, and Sunday, August 4) at Tuolumne Meadows Campground.
  • Bear-canister rental (as needed) and Wilderness permits.
  • Note: There is no discount if you choose not to use our gate pass or campsites. Information about upgrading your accommodations to stay at Tuolumne Meadows Lodge will be emailed to you after you sign up. The option to upgrade expires 45 days before the program.
Experience Level: Advanced. Participants must have backpacking experience and be physically fit.
Hiking: Strenuous. 20 miles round-trip, plus a 6-mile day hike, with some off-trail travel.
Elevation Range: 8,600 feet–12,500 feet.
Registration Price: $299
View a suggested backpacking packing list.
Pete Devine, Yosemite Conservancy Guide

Pete Devine

Pete Devine is the Resident Naturalist for the Conservancy. Pete has lived in Yosemite for about 20 years, has hiked most of its trails, and explained Yosemite to thousands of park visitors. He has studied the Lyell Glacier, added to the park’s bird studies and trained rangers in history, geology and biology. You may have seen Pete’s work in the ‘Yosemite Frazil Ice’ video.