We followed the trail that starts south (east) of the Tioga Pass entrance station. The trail is easy to find.
We left around 8.30am and reached the top 12.30pm. After 1 hr at the summit, we started heading back, reaching the trail head at 4. Took one Aspirin and one Ibuprofen. No significant altitude sickness.
After about 1.5 miles and 1500 ft, you reach a plateu. We took a use trail that veers off to left as you look at the summit. You pass a wind shelter on the way. You go all the way to the ridge line and you can look over the ridge to find a nice lake with interesting blue-green colors. Then it's gets hard to find trail. We kinda traversed toward middle and found the trail again.
On going down it's much easier to find the trail. The best one is around the middle.
The views are fantastic. You can see Mono Lake, Mammoth Lakes, White Mountain, Lyell, Cathedral Lakes, Dana Meadows, Tuolomne Meadows, Mt Connes, Saddlebag Lake and more...
I found the views better the the views from Mt Whitney summit.
A great little hike where a modest amount of effort gets you a lot of altitude. The trailhead starts at almost 10,000 feet, right at the base of the mountain, so you're spending most of your efforts climbing the peak instead of hoofing it long distances to get to it. The talus field of rock slabs that forms the summit ridge makes for an interesting climb, as there isn't a defined trail. You pick your way upwards toward the summit. The views from on top are spectacular. Total time from trailhead to summit and back - 3 hours.
Partner: Steve Reynolds
A favorite memory: eating lunch at the top of the slope, admiring the incredible views.
Superb views and great weather! Hike report and pics are here.
Climbed Mt Dana via the Solstice coulior (solo). The coulior was in excellent condition. I was able to kick steps all the way to the top and the snow was very secure. There are still cornices at the top of the coulior, however, there is a break in the center that is 5-6 feet of vertical snow. This is the only section where I used a second axe to get over the top - otherwise, a standard mountaineering axe was all that was needed. Overall, it was a great day and an exhilerating route! I would recommend this route over the Dana coulior if the snow conditions are right and the cornices are manageable.
The Dana Plateau gives great view of north wall and Dana Couloir
Been up this a couple of times.
It was one of the first Sierra peaks I ever climbed; I hiked it via the standard trail on the way back from a backpacking trip to Darwin Canyon. I had the summit to myself for an hour and a half to locate almost every named feature I could find on my Yosemite park map. Nice views!
Came back over Memorial Day weekend '04 (May 31st to be exact), this time to incorporate the traverse over to Mt. Gibbs. I'd intended to climb Dana Couloir, but I was pretty beat from the previous three days, so instead I just hiked up the NW "Ridge" from Glacier Canyon. Traversed on to Mt. Gibbs and back around via Dana Meadows. Unspectacular but pleasant enough.
Bob Cable and I hiked in from Tioga Lake to the pillar, fired the route (first in line) and then continued along the eastern ridge to the summit. We decended down the western trail and back to Tioga lake. An exhausting day, We suffered an acute case of "Danacosis" on the decent. "Third Pillar" is a great route, but summits do matter.
Miguel Carmona and I climbed a new route on the Center Headwall of Third Pillar in 1991. The route starts in a right curving dihedral at the base of the Pillar and higher up, follows the knifeblade cracks of the Headwall. The route is very aesthetic and recommended for someone, who already climbed the "Regular Route" and would like to try some free climbing mixed with a bit of aid, on a mini big wall. The 2 knifeblade crack sections could go free at 5.HARD. The setting is "Alpine Rock Par Excellence".
Miguel Carmona and I climbed the "Regular Route" on Third Pillar in 1984. We thought it was one of the best alpine climbs we have done till then, anywhere. It helps that the route gets harder and harder as one climbs higher. Miguel just came back from doing the "NOSE" on El Capitan and felt the 5.9 pitch at the top, was just out of this world, aesthetically on the level with the Great Roof pitch on El Cap. Of course this was in the years, when 5.9/5.10 was respectable climbing. I read here that people just cruise it nowadays solo, wow...it's on this trip, that Miguel told me about climbing the central Headwall one day (see One that almost got away). I was so afraid of it, that it took us 7 years to do it. The Regular Route is another Eastern Sierra gem that should not be missed by anyone.
Elena Neubauer and I simo soloed the Dana Couloir in 1993 and scrambled to the top of Mt.Dana. From there we returned to the top of the couloir and followed the crest in westerly direction, back to Dana Plateau and Third Pillar. Elena wanted to see the Pillar from up close. We descended to our camp bellow Dana Couloir, packed the camp and returned to our campsite in Tuolumne Meadows.
Fun climb of Dana Couloir. Great weather, but cold. There was a lot of water ice in the couloir, but the bergrschrund was very easily passed. We used an ice tool and a mountaineering axe each, along with six screws and some nuts for belay anchors near the rock. As many people have said, it is very important to go over the summit. It looks like you can follow the broad ridge northwest to the Dana Plateau, but a crumbly cliff behind some pillars blocks your way. Go over the summit!
Nice hike! The view would of been awesome but there was alot of smoke in the air. The whole owens valley was smokey this weekend.
Climbed with Matt and Dave
On third trip up this mountain, dropped down the other side to the Gibbs-Dana saddle, and did Gibbs before returning to Tioga Pass. A long solo day (by my standards).
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).