later climbed Thu, Aug 4, 2005|
Terry decided he'd had enough climbing and hiking and was ready to head back to San Jose a day earlier than planned. His feet were pretty beat up from the Mt. Dana hike the day before and he didn't think he could put them through any more pain. I had hoped we could stay though Sunday as we had planned, but empathized with Terry's pain. As a small compromise I talked him into letting me have one more half day hike. Since this meant he could loll about Tenaya Lake for three to four hours Terry readily agreed.
We parked at Tenya Lake on the west side and I took off cross-country right from the start. This was going to be a short hike, so I wanted to keep it as interesting as I could. Heading almost due west armed with a map, compass, some water and little else, I crossed several trails and to my surprise a road (I hadn't realized there was a paved road running in towards May Lake) before hitting the southern flanks of Mt. Hoffmann. I followed the steep gully cut by Hoffmann Creek, though there was little water left at this time of year. The climbing was steady and steep for almost 1,800ft, though nothing more than class 2. As I reached the summit plateau, I caught hold of other hikers on their way to and from the summit. I hadn't seen anyone on the way up, so apparently my route wasn't the more popular, and probably not the easiest route up the mountain.
At the summit I was dismayed to find the repeater tower (in Wilderness?), and joined the myriad of other folks milling about the summit area. I noted the large blocky tower to the south called Hoffmann's Thumb, but I didn't go the several hundred yards to check it out - it looked impossible to climb from where I stood.
I descended to the east, taking a different route on the return. I wanted to check out May Lake as well, and so headed down. The east side of Hoffmann is considerably steeper I was to find out, and it took some doing to pick out a route down that side without getting too far over my head. I had a few short-breath moments, but managed to make it down to the lake. The lake is quite picturesque, but far too popular for it's own good. There is a High Sierra Camp here complete with mess hall, bathrooms, staff, and cabins. Yuck. I didn't stay around. I was tired of the crowds by this time and so continued east across the shallow ridge on the east side of the camp and down into the drainage of a small, unnamed creek that flows between Snow Creek (empties May Lake) and Murphy Creek (has a trail from Tenaya Lake to Glen Aulin). There was no water flowing, but it made a delightful hike. Large slabs of glacier polished granite lined the creekbed, and there was ample evidence of glacier activity through here. Large erratics lay about all over the smooth granite slabs, and there was much polish and scoring marking the passage of glaciers so many years ago. I followed this creek all the way out to the Tioga Road, then hiked back the short distance to meet Terry at the Lake. It was barely noon when I arrived, so we had plenty of time to get back to San Jose before daylight ran out.
For more information see these SummitPost pages: Mt. Hoffmann
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