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).
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.