Coyote Rocks
Peak 10,033ft

Sat, Oct 7, 2017
Etymology
Coyote Rocks
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Indian Summer had brought warm October temperatures to the Bay Area and as good an excuse as any for a short trip to Yosemite. Of course I would have gone under almost any conditions, save rain or snow. As part of my quest (among many others of a similar nature) to climb all the Yosemite peaks, I was out to tag a handful of obscurities in the northern part of the park, most unnamed, official or otherwise. My wife would be off reffing volleyball in different parts of the state this weekend, so I had breakfast with her Saturday morning before she took off for University of the Pacific in Stockton. I was out the door soon after, heading across the state. Today I would only have half a day, so I picked a fairly easy outing, about 6mi and 2,000ft of gain. Coyote Rocks and Peak 10,033ft are found between SR120 and Mt. Hoffmann, in an area with no trails. The park was packed today - all the campgrounds were full as were all the Valley parking and the Porcupine Flat TH where I intended to start. I had to park down the road a bit but it mattered little - it was actually a closer spot to Coyote Rocks and as soon as I started up the hill I wouldn't see another soul until I returned to the road four hours later.

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...

Continued...


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