Mount Dana Dayhike

Morgan Brown

Glacier NP
New Mexico
New Zealand
Sequoia/Kings Canyon
Bloody Canyon
Cathedral Lakes
Cathedral Range
Clouds Rest
Mount Conness
Mount Dana
Dunderberg Peak
Glen Aulin
Hetch Hetchy
Koip Peak
Mono Pass
North Dome
Peak 11500'
Ragged Peak
Mount Ritter
Sentinel Dome
Smith Peak
Stanton Peak
Mount Starr King
Tresidder Peak
Yos. Valley
Vogelsang Peak
Yos. Falls
Yosemite Falls 2
Virgin Islands
Kim & Morgan
Mom & Dad

Books that Morgan

The High Sierra: Peaks, Passes, and Trails
By R.J. Secor. The High Sierra hiking/climbing guidebook. Amazingly exhaustive. An indispensible trip planning aid.

On September 12, 2003, Kim and I climbed Mount Dana, the second highest peak in Yosemite National Park at 13053 feet above sea level. This peak may take the "easiest non-airplane way to go above 13000 feet in California" award, as the path to the summit begins at Tioga Pass, already 10000 feet high. A well-beaten use trail over surprisingly solid talus renders the 2.8-mile ascent (in summer) a cardiovascular challenge, but not a particularly difficult mountaineering goal.

We drove up to Yosemite on the morning of September 12th, picked up a wilderness permit for the Vogelsang Lake area, and started our hike at noon sharp. The only problem was: a) the trail to the summit is not officially maintained, and b) I had not brought a printout of the standard route from I knew the route started from somewhere around Tioga Pass, and also that the route roughly ascended the northwest slopes of the mountain, so we parked in the small lot just west of the pass and somewhat haphazardly started walking southeast.

We followed game trails through a verdant forest for a while, but I knew we must be off-route for one simple reason: the official trail climbs 3500 feet in about three miles, and we had barely climbed at all over about a mile. So I repeated to Kim the nearly-unassailable adage: "When in doubt, go uphill." Up, up and away, we moved southeast up a 30° slope, aided in spots by lovely grass. Strenuous, considering that we'd just driven up from sea level. Luckily we generally are not afflicted by altitude sickness. Views are fantastic; better than the standard route's, from what I've heard. Panoramic views from Kuna Crest to Tuolumne Meadows to the omnipresent Mount Conness.

After an hour or so of elapsed time, we crest a small ridge and finally re-glimspe Mount Dana's summit. We move uphill, across the grassy slopes of a high cirque, amazed at how enjoyable this cross-country route has been. Soon we are plying our way up the well-beaten use trail toward the summit, meeting a few parties on the way down. Although the summit looks like a pile of slag from a distance, it is actually more granitic than metasedmentary (a la Gibbs, Koip, Kuna, et al.), so the talus tends to be a bit more stable. Within 2 hours and 15 minutes of starting, we're on the summit. We meet an older (mid 40's) gentleman on the summit and chat for a while. Soon a younger dude in dreadlocks, panting heavily, joins us. We eat a lunch on the summit and bask in windless conditions for 30 minutes. Great views all around, though I admittedly am disappointed by heavily smoky/smoggy conditions to the west. Still, views to Mono Lake are unparalleled compared to what I've seen (Bloody Canyon, Koip Peak, Dunderberg Peak), and the Dana Plateau looks really neat.

On the descent, we elect to use the climber's trail. Though more direct and a bit faster, I'm not sure it was more enjoyable than our route up. We were back to the car by 16:30 or so. All-in-all, an enjoyable summit. We had our dinner in Tuolumne Meadows, then headed down to Lee Vining for some tea and relaxation before settling down for a night of illegal camping near the Tuolumne wilderness permit station.

Click on small images to start "slide show"
md01-trailhead-pano.jpg (254 KB)

Mount Dana massif from small p...
md02-northwest-pano.jpg (360 KB)

Panoramic view to the northwes...
md03-dana-kuna.jpg (173 KB)

Mount Dana, Mount Gibbs, Koip ...
md04-west-pano.jpg (470 KB)

Smoky views to the west (Tuolu...
md05-north-pano.jpg (404 KB)

Approaching the summit. View ...
md06-summit-mono-pano.jpg (357 KB)

Panoramic view of Glacier Cany...
md07-summit-south-pano.jpg (373 KB)

View to the southeast from Mou...
md08-summit-northeast-pano.jpg (467 KB)

Panoramic view to the northeas...
md09-dana-plateau-mono.jpg (171 KB)

Zoom of Dana Plateau and Mono ...
md10-kim-summit.jpg (179 KB)

Summit shot of Kim on MOunt Da...
md11-kim-morgan-summit.jpg (97 KB)

Summit shot on MOunt Dana with...

© 2006 , Stanford Exploration Project
Department of Geophysics
Stanford University

Modified: 05/07/06, 19:23:32 PDT , by morgan
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