Climb the Third Pillar of Dana

Rate this Adventure Tioga Lake

Activities

Hiking, Rock Climbing

Skill

Intermediate

Season

Summer

Easy Parking
Forest
Lake
Picnic Area
River
Scenic

5 pitches / 800ft. High Sierra classic route. Scenic overlook of Mono Lake. Beautiful approach hike. Marmots.

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.

Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures and follow local regulations.

Nearby Lodging

From $143/night

Tuolumne Meadows Lodge

Tioga Rd, YOSEMITE NATIONAL PARK, CA 95389, USA

From $386/night

The Majestic Yosemite Hotel

Yosemite Valley, California

From $108/night

Housekeeping Camp

Yosemite Valley, California

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Activities

Hiking, Rock Climbing

Skill

Intermediate

Season

Summer

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Hike up Mount Dana

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Hike to Middle Gaylor Lake, Yosemite NP

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Camp at Junction Campground, Mono County

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Backpack over Koip Peak Pass

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