Yosemite winter trip 2019

The De Anza College Outdoor Club went on the 29th annual Yosemite winter trip, the first weekend in February, 2019.

bear and human paw prints in snow

We compared our paws to the tracks of a bear in the snow, in which we could clearly see claw tracks. (Black bears in Yosemite are not true hibernators. Some sleep on and off, some never go into hibernation.)

person puts his hand in the snow next to a bear paw print

One couple camped in the campground, the rest of the students stayed at the Yosemite Lodge. If you are thinking about going on this annual trip, you can compare overnight possibilities.

Saturday morning people considered skiing or snowboarding, but after deliberation, one student headed out for a photo walk with a professional photographer from the Ansel Adams gallery, almost everyone else hiked to the top of (or near the top of) upper Yosemite fall.

Group photos before the hike:

group photo in front of fireplace

group photo in front of Ahwahnee fireplace, with sunglasses

Everyone went to brunch at the Ahwahnee Hotel (temporarily named the Majestic Yosemite Hotel) on Sunday morning.

people standing in rows in the Ahwahnee dining room

Think everyone dressed great in the photo above? Some people bought waterproof rain pants and hooded rain jackets at a local hardware supply store (just-in-case-it-really-did-rain) that turned out to be matching:photo by Justin Wong  people on hike in matching rain gear

See the Yosemite winter trip must haves for advice on choosing the right gear to stay warm and as-dry-as-possible.

The club advisor stopped on a drive through the campground to convince other campers that the dining canopy they set up over their poorly designed tent was a mistake, as it would collapse with the weight of the expected overnight snow (their gear was already wet already due to not having a rain fly that goes all the way down the side of the tent):dining canopy over a tent, with a tarp sticking out the side see: Don’t buy a cheap tent.

One trip member wore shoes (with plastics bags in them because they were not quite waterproof) after brunch, because he was not expecting a walk out beyond the Ahwahnee Cottages in snow where the club advisor took the group to see the bear footprints (but he wore good footwear on on the hike):

two shoes with plastic bags in them, then feet, walking in snow

Here is a photo from Sean Pham of part of the group after brunch when we went to look at the paw prints, with cliffs behind cloaked in newly fallen snow, peeking out from behind clouds:

photo from Sean Pham of part of the group after brunch when we went to look at the paw prints, with cliffs behind cloaked in newly fallen snow, peeking out from behind clouds

thin line of gray colors made from a clouds photo
At the end of the trip it started snowing even more heavily “SNOWZILLA”. . . and for 2 1/2 days all roads out of Yosemite Valley were closed and all campgrounds were closed due to risk from falling trees.

Here, a NPS photo of the result when a large tree broke in half and fell on a campground restroom:

severe damage to restroom building roof and wall, with broken tree trunk nearby

tall snow on a trash can

Half Dome peeking out from clouds

Half Dome covered in snow

fog over colors blue and green in a narrow photo strip

smiling people in a carpool (The students all got out of the park the last day of the trip before the snow closed all the roads out of Yosemite valley.)

candlelight dinner with snow covered furniture in back groundBut the club advisor was snowed in for days.

snow covered furniture on a balcony with a lit 9 foot tall propane heater


Can you spot Upper Yosemite Falls just about in the center of this picture below after heavy snow fall covered the cliff face?

snow covered cliff with a waterfall


Jan. 31 to Feb. 2, 2020, will be the THIRTIETH ANNUAL

De Anza College Outdoor Club

Yosemite Valley winter trip.