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The slope I started up was moderately steep, but easy at first with open forest understory. This soon gave way to sunnier slopes fielding manzanita, buckthorn and other chapparal that would lead up towards Coyote Rocks, my first stop, about half a mile from the highway. Luckily the chapparal wasn't very thick and I found lots of deer trails threading through the stuff to keep it from becoming onerous. Coyote Rocks are found on the southern slopes of Peak 10,033ft and aren't very prominent or noticeable from the highway unless you know where to look. As I got nearer and had my first up-close view from the west, I was surprised to find they were more than I had bargained for. There are two main rocks, the lower southern one being more impressive. I went to the notch between the two to try this one first, but found it more than I could manage. I tried two different lines on the north side, both of which I backed down after getting about halfway up. With rope and gear this would probably be around 5.5-5.6, so I'd have to wait for a future effort to try again. The other sides were all near-vertical and appeared significantly more difficult. After my rebuff, I went back to the notch and then climbed up to the higher rock, going around the west side to climb it via easy class 3 from the north. I would have to settle for a 50% score - at least I made it up the higher one. I took a few pictures overlooking the Yosemite scene which takes in much of the Tuolumne high country to the east and the Clouds Rest/Half Dome/Starr King/Clark summits to the south. A managed fire was burning over by Badger Pass (seems they have a managed fire there almost every summer), blowing smoke east over the Clark and Cathedral Ranges, partially obscuring those views.
After leaving Coyote Rocks, I continued heading up towards the higher Peak 10,033ft, about a mile and a half away. The cross-country here was all easy now, no chapparal, just forest and open hiking. I made a slight detour at roughly the halfway point to visit and interesting rock outcrop I had spied from Coyote Rocks. It rises about 60ft from the surrounding slopes and made for some fun class 3-4 scrambling. I went up the north side where the climb is shortest and descended the south side where a gully nearly splits the formation in two. After finishing this fun side project, I continued up to the summit of Peak 10,033ft with views stretching in all directions. Mt. Hoffmann is almost two miles to the NNE, which daughter Jackie and I had climbed along with Hoffmanns Thumb only a few weeks earlier. After leaving another register, I made my descent back down, following a line to the east of my ascent route, along a drainage with pleasant meadow and forest walking, but much less chapparal. It was close to 5p by the time I returned.
I showered at a partially hidden turnout on the south side of the highway across from the May Lakes access road. I then drove up to the May Lake TH where I would spend the night cozily ensconced in the back of the van. More fun on the morrow...
This page last updated: Mon Oct 9 08:50:28 2017
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