From looking at photos from previous years, it is clear that the Lyell Glacier has diminished greatly. Michael E. and I climbed this by skirting around the bottom of the glacier and staying on the rocky boulders going up the right side of the glacier. The 100' crux was some airy Class IV, other than that, there was nothing unnerving except for the movement of very large boulders as we stepped on and across them. Route finding while coming down the crux was easier coming down than going up and felt more like Class III. The register books filling the Sierra Club box at the summit are 99.9% filled with climbers signatures - a new blank summit logbook is needed but might not fit unless one/some of the existing logbooks is removed.
Beautiful but very challenging peak for a 60-yr old male who has been battling P.D. for 8+ years now
Day 1. Tuelomne to Elizabeth Lake to Nelson Lake to Raymann Lake.
Day 2 Raymann Lake over left side of Raferty Peak straight line to Evelyn lake straight line to Ireland lake over right side of Amelia Earhart to unnamed lakes below pass.
Day 3 Around Lake McClure (there is a good way to cross inlet just above glacier) to base of Lyle Glacier. Climbed the rock on the right side of Glacier, no crampons needed for 40 feet of snow. Up from the saddle up the ridge, staying fairly close to the edge we found it to be 3rd class most of the way. I've done it before finding 3rd class to the summit, this time we took the obvious "crack / chimney" which I believe is a single 5.3 move. Down climbing this crack is harder than going up, but the ledge below is big enough you just have to trust that you can drop down to it.
After summiting we descended to the lake where the Lyell canyon trail goes over Donahue pass.
Day 4 Walk out Lyell canyon. Drive to Berkeley drop off kids for college (online) Drive home to Sonoma County just in time for fire evacuation. I got one quiet night in my bed after raising my kids for 18 years, at least Lyell was there for me, as he / she has been so many times in the past. Enjoy, it's a fun climb (go to the saddle and just commit, it's not as hard as it looks)
Flowers are popping in Lyell Cyn. Walked through sun cups up through slabs, transitioned to crampons just below the glacier. Ice beginning to show through in deep sun cups. Easy climb to east of the col and began terrific scramble to summit. Had the whole area to myself. Hazy smoke ruined far off views then gray clouds rolled in. Skipped Maclure so I couod get home before dark. Loved it!
We had a group of 6, we hiked up to an unnamed lake just off the exit from the JMT, about 11.7 miles in where we camped. The following morning we hiked up the slabs to the glacier, and went towards what looked like the most solid rock above the glacier. The glacier was fairly easy (and I'm a novice on crampons) with the exception of the final 15 feet where the steepness required us to use our ice axes as climbing devices, burying the axe above and climbing up, and repeating 2 or 3 times. Finding a solid route above the glacier was challenging, fortunately we had a couple of experience climbers to aid in the routefinding.
The glacier was low due to the drought, exposing some tough class 4 scrambling on the lower reaches of the summit block. Rock was loose and it was a scary downclimb after summitting. I camped right below the footbridge on the JMT and the hike took me about 10 hours.
Day hike from Tuolumne Meadows. The glacier was marked by deep sun cups, so travel on it w/o axe or crampons was fine. I had microspikes with me, but didn't really need them either. I climbed onto the northwest ridge from the saddle between Lyell and Maclure and the first part of this ridge was steep and fairly exposed. I encountered a few short sections of class 4 on this ridge, mostly at the beginning where it was steepest. It may have been possible to find a way up that was entirely class 3, but no such route was obvious to me. I don't know what Secor means when he says you can find class 2-3 rocks to the right of the glacier's edge; everything I encountered was significantly more difficult than class 2, until I reached the summit plateau. The rock was very solid, and the climbing fun. Went up Maclure's SE ridge after this.
With R. Renteria. Staying on the very edge of the ridge rising from the col keeps this to class 3. We then went and climbed Maclure.
2 days after leaving Mt. Rainier due to the worst mountaineering accident in North America (11 dead in avalanche). Weather would have prevented us from Rainier even if the accident didn't happen. We headed back to sunny CA in my Ford Fiesta (with Mark, Mark H., and Scott).
Fun route. 3rd class headwall was fun.
Camped a little ways above the Lyell Fork footbridge.
Climbed the NW ridge from the col. A couple inches of fresh snow and some ice on all the ledges added spice to what I'd otherwise describe as a short and fun class 3 climb (stay as close to the ridge as possible and the moves stay easy and minimally exposed). There were no bergshrunds to be seen. The weather was perfect other than a cold, strong breeze - perfect for early October!
Hiked in from Marie Lakes over Donohue Pass. Easy cross-country travel on granite up to near the base of the glacier. Climbed up to the col on soft snow. Climbing from the col to the summit ridge was hard for Class 3, with some loose rock.
That glacier is melting fast! A short, fun scramble from the col. Maybe a little more exciting since I didn't find the cairns until I was past the hard parts. Over to Maclure after for a two peak day.
We did this as an overnighter. However, despite being quite organized about early start on summit day, we spent so much time scrambling up the endless talus pile that realized that we're not making it. Had to head back, pack up and do a speed-hike to the car.
Single-day push from Tuolumne Meadows. Beautiful easy walk through Lyell Canyon, a good hike uphill to near the bottom of Donohue Pass, then off-trail over granite benches, up the moraine/boulder fields to the glacier. Glacier was in bad shape, bergschrund had opened up like a maw. Went all the way to the right, had to cross an icy snow bridge to get onto the class 3 ledges. Some exposed climbing with loose rock to reach summit plateau, then easy class 2 scramble to summit. Magnificent views in all directions. Truly an emblem Sierra summit. Hike back out seemed never-ending, but the effort was absolutely worth it.
Greta quality route from TH to summit. With Pete & Rahil
Goal was to to do Lyell and Parsons Peak, two county high points in two days, but Lyell was enough for this trip and us old farts. We'll just have to come back another day and do Parsons. Unfortunately the Aspen fire was burning to the west so we had a bit of smokey haze. Pics from trip http://goo.gl/TOBO49
Dayhike of Lyell & Maclure from Tuolumne Meadows. We used crampons starting from the foot of the Lyell Glacier and followed the snow to its highest point just right of the bergschrund. From there, the transition to easy Class 3 rock was no problem. Great 360 degree views from the summit.
Pictures here: https://plus.google.com/u/0/photos/112879518379511802005/albums/5895650451066702657
From the Lyell/McClure col. The crampons and ice-ax were essential getting up a steep section of the icy glacier where it met the granite ledges.
Climbed as part of a Berkeley class in glacier safety. Spent a lot of time flopping down on the soggy ice and practicing arrests.