Just six hundred feet above the Tioga Pass Ranger Station lies Gaylor Pass which gives you entry to an alpine paradise when the winter snows have receded. In early August 2017, David Witt and I decided to take a break from our previous four hard days of mountain, pass, and dome climbing to enjoy the beauties of Gaylor Peak and Gaylor and Granite Lakes. We had to keep moving ahead of hungry mosquitoes in some spots but we thoroughly enjoyed our day in the Gaylor Basin.
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Sunday, August 6, 2017
Polly Dome is a huge mass of pure Cathedral Peak Granodiorite that looms 1,650 feet over Yosemite's scenic Tenaya Lake. Rock climbers scale subdomes on its southwestern slope facing Tenaya Lake but its top lies 1.5 miles to the northeast of the lake. I've climbed up to Polly Dome's southwestern subdomes on non-technical routes but have never been up to its actual summit. In early August 2017, David Witt and I left my van at the Tuolumne/Mariposa county line along the Tioga Road and headed up through the red fir forest toward a summit we could not see until we cleared the forest and started climbing on my favorite substrate: open granite slopes. At the summit, we were rewarded with fine views of Cathedral Peak, Mt. Hoffman, Tuolumne Peak, Mt. Conness, the Grand Canyon of the Tuolumne River, and even Cloud's Rest and distant Mt. Clark. Enjoy these views of our hike.
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The Dana Plateau, which lies just east of the boundary of Yosemite at Tioga Pass, is a "Sky Island" that remained above the glaciers that sculpted most of Yosemite's uplands. This is a windswept ancient landscape, known as a "roof pendant" that predates the rise of the Sierra Nevada. In late July 2017 with my friend David Witt, I fulfilled a forty-year-long dream of exploring this unique island in the sky and taking in its incredible views of Mount Dana, Tioga Pass, and Mono Lake. At our second overlook, Angel's Landing, we met some climbers who had just topped out from climbing the "Third Pillar of Dana." Enjoy these images of this fantastic alpine space in the sky.
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