I was on my way to the Inyo Mountains where I was going to join Tom and Karl
for four days of peakbagging and jeeping around the northern part of that
range. Leaving San Jose in the early morning, I had most of Thursday to myself
for some minor peaks in Yosemite along SR120 on my drive through the park.
I ended up with
more time than I expected and found some additional fun alongside US395 after
I'd exited the park and turned south. Most of these were short hikes of less
than a mile though some had non-trivial gain which combined to give me a pretty
full day. One of the more interesting sights of the day came before I had gotten
to Yosemite. I was slowed on my drive up SR120 to make way for a huge
that was being conducted down the highway. Hundreds of cattle were being
managed by several vehicles and half a dozen cowboys on horseback along with
an equal number of herding dogs. I'd never seen anything like it in the
thousands of times I've driven these state highways. How long they were along
the roadway I couldn't guess, but the cattle stretched out for more than half a
mile as I drove slowly past.
Found in the western part of the park, about three miles west of the White
Wolf turnoff, it took only 20min to hike up to the summit through mostly
open forest. The summit is large and rounded with
weak views of Mt. Hoffmann and not
much else. I had had this on my radar for a few years now, but never found the
extra time on many drives through the park. Turns out to be a bit of a
This one is found in the center of the park on the south side of the highway
near the Porcupine Flat CG. I parked in an empty lot across from the campground
entrance and hiked from there. The proximity to the campground meant
there were numerous use trails through forest and meadow that I could use,
though they didn't exactly go to the summit. I passed through several
nice meadows that would probably be swamp-like in other times of the
year, but were easy walks in Fall. It took 25min to reach the summit
with a neat vantage point from which to view many of the park's features. The
North Face of Half Dome could be seen about 4mi to the south. Clouds
Rest and the Clark Range could be seen further to the southeast. To
the northeast and southeast were seen Cathedral Peak and much
of the Cathedral Range, including Echo Peaks, Cockscomb, Mt. Florence and
Peak 9,083ft/Doda Dome
These two peaks are found to the west of Tuolumne Meadows, north of Daff Dome.
Both are hidden from view from the highway, overshadowed by the more prominent
climbing domes found on both sides of this stretch of highway between Tenaya
Lake and Tuolumne Meadows. I parked just off the roadway (no real turnout) on
the south side of Daff Dome. Good climber trails (there are
several to choose from) will take you around the west side of Daff Dome to
access these two lesser points. From the backside of Daff Dome,
cross-country travel will take you past several small,
unnamed lakes on your way to Peak 9,083ft. The rounded granite
summit slabs provide fine views overlooking much of the Yosemite High Country.
There is an unusual view of Falls Ridge and the Tuolumne Gorge to
the northwest, Matterhorn/Whorl far to the north, and Mt.
Conness to the northeast. Directly south rise the various granite domes
along the highway with Cathedral Peak rising above the lot. Doda Dome
can be seen to good effect to the SSW. Having
taken about 50min to reach Peak 9,083ft, it took another 25min to reach Doda
Dome, sort of on the way back. Class 2 scrambling gets one easily to the summit
from the northeast. Slightly harder class 3 slabs can be climbed from
the south (which I used on the descent). Similar views as the previous
peak. From Doda Dome, it took less than 20min to make my way back to the jeep
at the highway.
These are a collection of interesting rock formations on the east side
of US395, a few miles south of the junction with SR120 heading east. There
to be lots of cool scrambling opportunities on the various pinnacles. There's
also a whole network of sandy jeep/ATV roads and I was able to drive
within 100ft of the highpoint on the north side. A short scramble
leads to the top.
This is also a near drive-up, with the same road network getting one within
200ft of the summit. I drove various road branches east of the highway through
this sparsely forested area about two miles southeast of Aeolian Buttes to
reach the highpoint. Barbara Lilley had left a register here only
two years earlier at 88yrs of age. Go Barbara!
This minor summit is located across US395 from Wilson Butte, a few miles
southeast of the June Lake Junction. More Forest Service roads criss-cross the
area and make this a complete drive-up.
This was the hardest of the bunch, found on the west side of US395, near
Obsidian Dome. Though the distance was only half a mile, it took a solid 45min
to make the climb up steep, loose slopes. It started off as pine
becoming more gravel, then sand, and finally some terribly soft, dust-like
fine sand that gave no traction and much frustration. There are probably easier
ways to do this, but going up the east side is not one of them. The only saving
grace was the 1978 Smatko register and another from
Lilley/MacLeod in 2007. Oh, and a nice view looking east
as the day was growing late with the peak's
shadow extending across Obsidian Dome.
On my way down the mountain
I got a text from Tom asking me when I would be in Bishop. I
guessed that he was looking to join me for dinner there and it turned out we
arrived in Bishop within about 15min of each other. We had dinner at the
Mountain Rambler, Karl joining us about an hour later. Properly fueled, we
headed out to the Inyo Mountains around 9p to begin the long weekend's
Same happened to me on Hwy 108 heading east over Sonora Pass. Equally surprising and hilarious!Karl comments
Parked in same place, same day and climbed peak 9083, Doda dome (and a few more), then met you at Rambler that night... I guess we didn't talk about our day?