Pluto Dome is a picturesque granitoid dome located in the north-central part of Yosemite National Park near the poplular backcountry camp Glen Aulin. The summit offers stunning views of the area known as the Grand Canyon of the Toulumne and surrounding Yosemite high country. The hike from Glen Aulin to the summit is fairly easy and takes only 1 to 1.5 hours with a minimal amount of scrambling. This is an outstanding nontechnical climb that yields rewarding views for little effort.
In addition, the steep west face of Pluto Dome offers 900ft of technical rock climbing for those looking for a greater challenge in a beautiful alpine setting.
Pluto Dome is the commonly accepted name for this peak, though I've never seen it listed as anything other than Peak 8886 on a topo map.
Getting ThereThe Yosemite National Park page on SummitPost provides detailed directions on how to get to the park.
The Lembert Dome trailhead in Toulumne Meadows is the closest TH to Pluto Dome. Follow the Pacific Crest Trail 6 miles NW until you reach Glen Aulin. From there, follow the trail west that leads to the Grand Canyon of the Toulumne for 0.1 mile past the footbridge, then up and over a small rise. Break off from the trail at the small rise and head off-trail to ascend the gentle eastern shoulder of Pluto Dome.
Red TapeA detailed description of rules and regulations is provided on both the Yosemite National Park page and Tuolumne Meadows Logistical Center on Summitpost.
A free wilderness permit is required for all overnight trips in Yosemite.
Please note that camping is not permitted between Glen Aulin and Toulumne Meadows.
Bear cannisters are required for food storage in this area of Yosemite. There are bear lockers at Glen Aulin, but keep in mind they can fill up during peak summer months.
Reservations are required for camping at Glen Aulin if you are coming from Toulumne Meadows. However, if your stay is part of an extended backcountry trip and you are coming from somewhere else, then you can camp there without a reservation on a first come first served basis. Alternatively, there is good camping along the river west of Pluto Dome, or at Mottie Lake on the east side of the peak.
When to ClimbThe most popular time to climb this peak is during the snow-free months from June to October. Highway 120 is closed to Tuolumne Meadows from mid-November to late-May making winter ascents more difficult.
Mountain ConditionsCaution: The east shoulder of Pluto Dome is an easy walk-up. However, the polished granite is treacherous when wet. Use extreme caution or avoid the climb altogether in wet conditions.
Yosemite National Park current conditions page.