Mount Lyell - Lyell Glacier, July 2010
At 13,114 ft, Mount Lyell is the tallest peak in Yosemite National Park. It offers a fantastic vantage point from which one can survey almost the entire ~1200 square mile park. While by no means a technical ascent, the climb offers a short stretch of enjoyable scrambling on surprisingly steep class 3 rock. But this is only had after a relatively long 11-mile valley trail approach, a couple miles of off-trail hiking on slabs and snow, and finally a crossing of California's second largest glacier - the Lyell Glacier.
After two days of driving from Seattle to Yosemite National Park, I was more than ready to don my boots and start kicking dirt on the legendary John Muir Trail (JMT). I found the roughly 11-mile approach to a pleasant albeit buggy camp basin before Donohue Pass somewhat more taxing than I had expected. Almost all of the vertical gain is made in the last couple miles, which incidentally is also where the better campsites are located. But with aching feet and an inflamed hip tendon, I was off to pretty lousy start. On top of that, my pack was frustratingly heavier than I had wanted no doubt due to the cumbersome bear canister, which I rented from the park service and was required to take with me. Nevertheless, I reached camp with hours of daylight to spare and had ample time to both rest and do battle with the relentless mosquitoes. (more...)
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