Peak 11,255ft P300
Puppy Dome

Jun 26, 2016
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I found myself camped outside Yosemite just east of Tioga Pass with an extra day to occupy myself. Sunrise came well before 6a and I was up with the sun for an early start. I had originally planned to be hiking in the White Mtns with Laura, but a flat tire the day before that her Element sustained on the way to Queen Mine had put a wrench in that plan. I decided to tackle a fairly easy unnamed summit south of Young Lakes in Yosemite, a half day's effort that would let me drive home before the heavier afternoon traffic of the returning weekend hordes.

Peak 11,255ft

This summit lies on the east-west ridge extending from Ragged Peak to White Mtn, separating the Conness Creek drainage to the north from Tuolumne Meadows to the south. I had climbed on this ridge several times in the past, going to Ragged Peak a couple of times as well as climbing White Mtn from Young Lakes, but had somehow missed this summit along the way. With the exception of cliffs found on the north side, the peak is class 2 from most directions.

I used the Lembert Dome TH across from the campground to start from, though the Dog Lake TH a mile to the east would have been about the same mileage and saved 200ft of elevation gain. I followed the trail past Lembert Dome and north through forest towards Young Lakes. I left the trail after 2mi, heading northeast on an ascending traverse through relatively open forest. I skirted the east side of Pt. 10,410ft to reach the saddle between it and Peak 11,255ft. The forest gives way to open sand and rocky granite slopes, mixed with some snow that was not difficult to avoid. The middle slopes were covered in a maze of shrub pine that I weaved my way through, eventually reaching the upper ridge, mostly granite rock and boulders. I misjudged the summit to be closer than it actually was - the true highpoint turned out to be another third of a mile to the NNE.

With little fanfare, I reached the highpoint shortly after 8:30a, an effort taking something over two hours. The air had mostly cleared from the fire that was burning in the Lee Vining area, leaving far-reaching views of the Cathedral Range to the south, Tuolume Meadows to the southwest, Northern Yosemite and the Sierra Crest stretching northwest, north and east. Knowing that Smatko had visited this summit in 1979, I had hoped to find one of his signature tiny registers, but alas, I found nothing after a decent look around several closely spaced rocks vying to be highest. I descended down the open bowl to the southwest, a combination of sand and snow, the latter giving me a chance to use the crampons I'd carried with me (totally avoidable, but fun nonetheless). This dropped me into the marshy upper reaches of Dingley Creek. I moved around the south side that seemed to offer less marshy wetness, eventually descending to the south around the west side of Pt. 10,410ft over interesting terrain consisting of a mix of grass and talus. Back into the forest, I picked up the trail once again, following it south back through Delaney Meadow and across Delaney Creek. There were far more people on the trail to Dog Lake and Lembert Dome as I passed through here around 10a, eventually getting back to the parking lot at 10:30a.

Puppy Dome

With something like a hundred visits to Tuolumne Meadows over the years, I was somewhat embarassed to admit that I only had a vague idea where Puppy Dome was. I had tagged just about every other dome in the area, so I thought it high time I went up this one. I found it on my GPSr less than half a mile from the Lembert Dome TH, so I left my pack in the van parked here, crossed the highway and followed the wide trail east towards the Tuolumne Meadows Lodge. Puppy Dome is found immediately south of the large Wilderness Permit lot, an oft-used TH for heading up the Lyell Fork on the PCT/JMT. The dome rises about 150ft from the surrounding forest and as the name suggests, it is one of the smaller ones found in the area. I found a climbers' trail leading from the main one I followed to the west side where I surmised some of the climbing routes are found. I considered a possible route up the left side of the West Face before deciding it was a bit much, eventually following the trail higher to a ledge system on the southwest side that made for a fun, but short class 3 scramble to the summit. It's not really high enough to get any sort of sweeping views, but besides a good view of Lembert's south side, one can look out over Tuolumne Meadows from this granite perch. I descended easier class 2 slabs on the east side of the dome, returning to the trail and then back to the van at Lembert Dome by 11a. Time to head home...

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