OverviewThe northernmost extension of the scenic Ritter Range, Rodgers Peak straddles the boundary between Yosemite National Park and the beautiful Ansel Adams Wilderness to the east. The peak features commanding views over the drainage of the North Fork of the San Joaquin to nearby Davis, Banner, and Ritter, as well as towards its Yosemite neighbours Lyell and Maclure.
While--stellar summit views aside--Rodgers is not a classic climb, the peak finds some appeal in its remoteness, one of the more "out-there" summits in this part of the Sierra. Not surprisingly, most parties take several days to climb this in conjunction with several other nearby peaks that are even harder to reach: Electra, Foerster, and Ansel Adams.
The usual (and presumably easiest) route up the peak is the class 2 SE Ridge, an uninspiring talus slog. A more interesting climb is offered by a loose third class chute that leads up from Lake 11746 to the NE Ridge. Finally, Secor and some trip reports mention the existence of a class 2 ramp on the north face, although I could spot no sign of this when I climbed the peak.
Getting ThereThe easiest approach to the peak is from Silver Lake via the Rush Creek trail; this has been done as a dayhike (albeit rarely--only twice in the last twenty years according to the register). The quickest route goes via the Davis Lakes to cross a pass into the North Fork drainage, before ascending the class 2 SE Ridge. Another option is to climb the class 3 North Face from Marie Lakes; this is a decent climb, albeit with considerable loose rock and a tedious boulder-hopping approach around the lakes. Although slightly more direct than the Davis Lakes approach, the Marie Lakes approach is considerably longer time-wise. The Rush Creek trailhead is found along the June Lake Loop (SR158), a few miles south of Lee Vining.
Judging from several entries in the summit register, a surprisingly popular option is to dayhike the peak from a base camp at Vogelsang--although this seems arguably more arduous than simply dayhiking it from Silver Lake, and the quickest approach for this climb isn't obvious. Finally, one may include the peak as part of a grand tour through the Bench Canyon/North Fork San Joaquin area, with any variety of approaches possible for such an extended excursion.
Red TapeIf camping, all the usual Yosemite/Ansel Adams wilderness red tape applies: permits, bear cannisters, etc. Contact the Info National Forest if approaching the peak via the Ansel Adams Wilderness, or Yosemite National Park for approaches out of park trailheads.
Day hikers are free to roam as they wish, unencumbered by such bureaucracy.
When To ClimbDue to the fairly long approach required from any direction, Rodgers is most easily climbed during the summer/fall months once the snow's melted. An early season climb may be preferable for some, as the usual talus and loose rock would become an easy snow climb instead.
CampingFor east-side approaches, reasonable campsites may be found around the Davis Lakes, and the lower Marie Lake. (The upper reaches of the North Fork San Joaquin drainage and Upper Marie Lake consist mostly of talus, with few hospitable campsites). For west-side approaches, you're on your own.
Mountain ConditionsThe NWS Forecast tends to be the most reliable source of weather information for the area.
Etymology"These four features (peak, canyon, meadow, and lake) are named for Capt. Alexander Rodgers, Fourth Calvalry, US Army, acting superintendent of Yosemite National Park in 1895 and 1897.
The peak was named in 1895 by Lt. N. F. McClure. That same year, Lt. H. C. Benson gave Rodgers' name to the lake and the peak just south of it. To avoid duplication, the USGS gave the name 'Regulation Peak' to the second 'Rodgers Peak.' (Farquhar: McClure, Benson.)
The first edition of the Yosemite 30' map had 'Rodgers Canyon' and 'Rodgers Lake.' This lake (which is not the present one) had its name changed to 'Neall Lake' on the third edition of the map, 1903. The present 'Rodgers Lake' was on the first Mt. Lyell 30' map, 1901. The meadow was first named on the 15-minute map, 1956.
At about the time that McClure named it 'Rodgers Peak,' J. N. LeConte named it 'Mt. Kellogg,' for Vernon L. Kellogg, professor of entomology at Stanford. (LeConte, Alpina, 10.) He had the name on his 1896 map. Neither name was on the USGS 30-minute maps, although 'Rodgers Peak' had been ratified by the BGN in 1932. It finally showed up on the 15-minute quad, where an early edition had it misspelled 'Rodger Peak.'"
- Peter Browning, Place Names of the Sierra Nevada
"The peak was named in 1895 by Lt. N. F. McClure, for Capt. Alexander Rodgers, acting superintendent of the national park at that time. Independently, Lt. H. C. Benson christened Rodgers Lake in the same year and gave the same name to the peak south of it. To avoid the duplication, the USGS substituted for the latter the name Regulation Peak, which had previously been intended for another peak. On LeConte's map of 1896 Rodgers Peak is called Mount Kellogg, a name probably given by John Muir for the botanist Albert Kellogg."
- Erwin Gudde, California Place Names
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