Dozier Dome is a hidden Tuolumne climbing gem! It is barely visible from the road and rarely visited due to the unmarked approach and lack of trails that lead to its base. It is located between Medlicott and Pywiack Domes, immediately to the north of the creek/waterwall that comes down from Cathedral Lakes to Tenaya Lake. At this point it sports twelve documented climbing routes that range in difficulty from YDS 5.7 to 5.12. The average length of each climb is approximately 400' (3-4 pitches). The granite is one of the Tuolumne's finest: awesome friction, knobs, cracks and offwidths. Those who climb the dome to its top will be treated with a spectacular view of the Tuolumne high-country and to the close proximity of Cathedral Lakes where one can rest and enjoy a meal after the climb. Two most popular routes on the dome are Holdless Horror (5.7) and Ursula (5.10c) but even there, you'd be hard-pressed to find any people. Depending on where you look at this dome from, it may not seem to be anything but a granite slope. However, when you get to its base, it's size and presence become apparent.
First of all, get yourself to Tuolumne Meadows. You can find these directions here.
The most common approach to Dozier Dome is from CA-120. If you drive from the West, watch out for the next parking pull-out on the right side after Pywiack Dome. This pullout is pretty small, good enough for 3-4 cars at most. It is located at the so-called "knobs bouldering area" (you'll see boulders on the South side of the road). If you drive from the east, you can find the same pull-out after the more established and used Medlicott Dome parking lot. Park your car and go east through the forest for 200-300 yards. You should cross a well-established trail. Turn left here (North) and follow the trail for 3-5 minutes until you reach an open area. Turn right here and head east through the dense forest with some minor bushwacking. After about 15 minutes of that fun, you will reach a flat slabby area with great views. This is the first place enroute from where you will see Dozier Dome in all its glory. If you want to reach Holdless Horror, go towards the obvious chimney system that leads to the top of the dome. The route is to the left of it (100-150') and can be easily recognizable by the wide crack the goes from the bottom to the top of the formation, almost directly straight up. This crack is the only one that reaches the very bottom of the dome. For harder routes, continue to the right around the dome until the granite above you gets much steeper. On average, the approach from the parking lot to the base of the dome takes 30-45 minutes.
Aside from the usual Yosemite NP entrance fee, you won't need to worry about anything else as long as you complete your hiking/climbing in a day. If you choose to camp in the backcountry before the climb, you can stay at Cathedral Lakes and downclimb to the base of the dome via slabs or the Medlicott Dome climbers trail. In this case you will need to have a valid overnight permit for the JMT portion that leads to Cathedral Lakes. These permits are hard to come by so reserve them far in advance!
When To Climb
The best time to climb this dome is between July and September when there is no old/new snow at the base. During the early season you can encounter snowfields at the base of Holdless Horror and other routes. These snowfields can be either crossed before getting on the rock, or climbed around on slabs (could be sketchy at times). Of course, getting to the base of the dome will be much more complicated during late fall, winter and spring months when Tioga Road is closed.
Please refer to the Tuolumne Meadows Camping page for detailed information about camping available in the area. The most convenient camping location for Dozier Dome would be in Tuolumne Meadows.
The weather in Tuolumne during the summer months is usually fantastic. Sunny, warm, and not too humid. However, watch out for frequent afternoon thunderstorms during these months! In order to avoid an epic of being stuck in the middle of the climb when its raining, start early or climb fast. When it starts raining, many routes on the dome turn into waterfalls.
For an up-to-date weather forecast in Yosemite NP, please refer to the graph below.