Mount Gibbs is located close to Mount Dana near Tioga Pass in Yosemite National Park. While Mount Dana sees a lot of visitors due to the easy access and its position as the second highest peak in the park, only a fraction of the Dana visitors continue on to Gibbs. It is an easy mountain to climb and the views from the top are spectacular.
In order to climb Mount Gibbs in cominbation with Mount Dana, start out from the Yosemite entrance station near Tioga Pass (see Mount Dana section for detail). From the summit of Dana, descend the southeast side to the saddle in between Dana and Gibbs near the top of the Dana Couloir. Then head South on the talus to get to the fractured ridge (heading southwest) leading up to the summit. The last section of the ridge is a fun class 2-3 scramble.
A different approach to Gibbs is to follow the pack trail from highway 120 towards Mono Pass. (The trailhead is approximately 1.5 miles west from Tioga Pass). However, before you get to the pass, leave the trail and head east up the more compact talus towards the summit of Gibbs.
Overnight permits are required according to the Yosemite wilderness permit rules. Access to the trailheads is more difficult due to the closure of Tioga Pass and highway 120 during the winter.
Similarily to Dana, half of Mount Gibbs lies in the Yosemite NP and the other half in the Inyo National Forest. Dogs, for example, are not allowed in Yosemite NP (except on the valley floor), but the Inyo National Forest does not prohibite them everywhere (Go here for more detail )
When To Climb
Because most of the trail is class 1 or 2, it can easily be climbed in the winter with crampons and axe, but due to the closure of Tioga Pass, access to the trailhead is more difficult during that time.
Detailed car camping, backcountry camping, and traditional lodging information for Yosemite NP can be found here.
Additionally, car camping choices abound in Inyo NF. This excellent Forest Service page provides detailed information on camping in the eastside area:
This site gives updates on the Tioga Pass opening:
Tuolumne Meadows current weather information is available here.
Snow pack, percipitation, wind
Tuolumne Meadows (National Park Service)
Tuolumne Meadows California Department of Water Resources
Bob Burd assembled the following information on the origin of its name:
Mt. Gibbs (12,773 ft.)
Named by Olmstead in 1864
Also Canyon, Lake
"'Started for the summit [of Mt. Dana] but took the next peak s. of Mt. Dana, fearing O. [Frederick Law Olmsted] could not reach the other. This I managed to get his horse up, so that he rode to the top, where we lunched. He named the peak Mt. Gibbs.' (Brewer diary, August 31, 1864, in BL.)
"Oliver Wolcott Gibbs (1822-1908), professor of science at Harvard, 1863-87, a a lifelong friend of J. D. Whitney. Brewer and Olmstead made the first ascent. Olmstead was the chairman of the first Board of Commissioners to manage the Yosemite Grant, 1864.
Gibbs Canyon was named by Israel C. Russell in the early 1880s. (Russell, Quaternary, 336.) Gibbs Lake was first named on the Mono Craters 15' map, 1953."
- Peter Browning, Place Names of the Sierra Nevada
"The indomitable Brewer, leaving Hoffmann in care of the others, accompanied Olmstead to Yosemite and on up to the high country of the Tuolumne. They rode horseback nearly to the summit of the peak just south of Mount Dana and named it for their friend Professor Oliver Wolcott Gibbs of Harvard. "Strange enough," says Brewer in his notebook, "we saw a group of persons on Mount Dana, clear against the sky. These turned out to be the party of a Mr. St. Johns, including a little girl six years old and a man sixty-two years old and lame. We met them at the Soda Springs next day.""
- Francis P. Farquhar, History of the Sierra Nevada