The summit of Mount Dana was not the objective on this climb. The fantastic Third Pillar was. This was a great climb and a fun free-solo. Trip report is here.
Spring '98: West slope, ski descent of Dana Couloir. Climbed to the Dana Plateau and made a ski descent of the Third Pillar. The Third Pillar was between 50?-55? at the top, 4000' down to the Power house.
Spring '01: West slope, snowboard descent of Dana Couloir and Ellery Bowl. Solo
Spring '02: West slope, ski descent of Dana Couloir.
Fun climb with Dirk. Climbed in 5 pitches with the last being a low angle (25°?) snow walk to the top of the couloir. On the ice, I used a mixture of French technique, German technique, and the 3 o'clock position. For French and 3 o'clock, I used the cross-body axe technique which I found to be very effective. I haven't convinced myself to point my toes downward for French yet though ;-) We ended up using just one long axe each though we both brought an extra tool just in case. For pro, we brought 8 screws consisting of: BD Express, Grivel 360°, and Omega Pacific CR-MO (with coffee grinder handle). Like brandon, we opted not to summit ... which I now believe is harder (no trail all the way to Tioga Road and some 4-5th class downclimbing) and definately longer than going over the summit to descend via the standard use trail or Glacier Canyon (NW Ridge). If you do this route and don't descend the couloir, I agree with brandon: "go over the summit!!!!"
Solo Trip up Dana Couloir. This was a fun climb, with the season's first hint of true water ice. Actually, it was more than a hint, but rather a wide smear up the middle of the couloir for about 300-400 ft. Strangely, it was tougher than it would have been if it had been steeper. Perhaps I need to get better at my French technique, as Chouinard I am certainly not (also tough with a sore, recently twisted ankle, but no excuses...). So, I front pointed and found it not steep enough to use the picks on my axe.
Above the couloir, this mountain is a choss heap of the highest magnitude. The scramble up to the summit was brutally loose and nasty. The views are pretty hard to beat though and the couloir is worthwhile for an introduction to alpine ice climbing, but it's not nearly as interesting as say the North Couloir on North Peak in good condition (or maybe even the Crescent Moon on Round Top).
Stayed above the main Glacier Canyon trail most of the time. Went up the rocks above Dana Lake and traversed Dana Glacier to the base of the coulior. Except for one icy spot, the snow was perfect. Descended along the northwest ridge to the crag above Tioga Lake, where we had a few good glissade runs.
Climbed Dana couloir from Tioga Lake. Pascal, Giona and Yves-Alain.
Dana couloir is in perfect condition: hard snow, no ice. Thin layer of fresh snow.
Lack of snow just beneath Dana lake.
We also skied Ellery bowl. Snow in Ellery bowl is wet but skiing it is ok. Cornice is large on the west side. East side is without cornice.
Did this hike/climb as a day trip from/to Tioga Pass entrance station (Yosemite NP). Round-trip took about 6 hours, or so. Views from the top were very nice; could see all the major peaks on east side of Yosemite NP, and Mono Lake really well. Nice little day trip!
Have climbed this peak five times. Great views from the summit.
Click here to see the photos.
Well, what to say, either very exciting or very boring depending on how much snow and ice you've climbed. Didn't go over summit, descended next valley over, which puts you about 4 miles back over in toulomne, a long walk back to tioga lake, go over the summit!!!!
From the trailhead at the entrance station, up to Mt. Dana, down the southeast side (unexpected snowfield there!), up Mt. Gibbs, then down to Parker Pass and out along the trail. Excellent half-day adventure. Trip Report
I had intended to take the standard use trail up the West Slope, however, I had mistakenly thought this started from Tioga Lake instead of the entrance station. After realizing my mistake, I decided to head up the Glacier Canyon Trail anyway and was lucky enough to find an easy class 2 variation to the summit. The meadow just below Dana Lake and the hike up Glacier Canyon are a great alternative to the standard use trail. The view from the summit was also great.
Also unsuccessful attempt on Dana Couloir on June 24, 2001 with Dennis and Lon due to hard ice and having only 1 axe. Tim, also with us, made it up with 2 axes and front pointing in the couloir. Tim came down the Glacier Canyon route.