Added by Nathaniel Polta
5 pitches / 800ftHigh Sierra classic routeScenic overlook of Mono LakeBeautiful approach hikeMarmots
From Highway 120 (Tioga Road) you can park at the lot just above Tioga Lake. Another mile up the road is the Yosemite entrance, so if you hit that, you've gone too far. Follow the trail around the south side of the lake and into Glacier Canyon. After about 2 miles you'll start scrambling on the NE side of the canyon to the Dana Plateau. Cairns should mark the way. Once on the Plateau head east towards Mono Lake where you'll find the Third Pillar.
Leave whatever you don't need safely stashed from the marmots and begin the scramble down talus and scree to the base of the Third Pillar. Follow the route or its variants culminating in “the best 5.9 pitch in the universe.” From the summit, you should be just around the rim from your gear. After a rest for some post climb recharge, start back down the way you came. From car to car, it took our party of 4 over 12 hours, so plan accordingly.
It was the best climb I’ve ever been a part of, due in part to our timing. We finished the climb just as the sun was setting and casting colors over the landscape. Moral was as high as you can expect, and we were prepared for a night hike, so that was of little concern.
Once you get back to the cars, drive down to Lee Vining and stop for a quick bite before hitting the road.
- Set of nuts and doubles for cams from .4" to 2" and a 3"
- Layers for hiking and shade climbing at elevation
Please respect the places you find on The Outbound.
Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures. Be aware of local regulations and don't damage these amazing places for the sake of a photograph. Learn More
ReviewsLeave a Review
Have you done this adventure? Have something to add? You could be the first to leave a review!
More Adventures Nearby
Hike Golden Canyon, Death Valley
Yosemite / Golden Canyon Trail
Golden Canyon is located about 10 minutes south of Furnace Creek in Death Valley NP, on Badwater Road.
Hike and Fish Hume Lake
Yosemite / Hume Lake Parking
This spot is less than four hours from the Bay Area and offers everything you would ever want to do in the outdoors.