Tresidder Peak is a prominent, yet relatively obscure peak on the north end of Yosemite National Park's Cathedral Range. It is often mis-spelled by a (seemingly) more phonetic spelling, "Tressider"; placename books have even made the mistake (see "Etymology" section below). Many people have seen the prominent flat peak with two tiny "ears" from the John Muir Trail and said, "I wonder what that mountain is..."
The ears, in fact, are Tresidder Peak's class 4 north and south summits. The south summit is the highest of the two, and Secor describes class 4 routes up its north and south aretes. Secor goes on to describe a 5.8 (II) four-pitch climb (The Keyhole) up Tresidder Peak's west face, but Bob Burd feels that this is a typographical error, and that the described route must ascend to the south summit up the east face.
Since the climbing on Tresidder is easy by technical standards, the peak is often linked together with many summits on a long day of solo climbing. Furthermore, climbers may wish to do the airy ridge traverse between the north and south summits. Bob Burd notes that the transition from the north summit to the connecting ridge may be difficult and recommends gaining the ridge on the south side, southeast of the north summit.
Rock quality on the route leaves something to be desired. The dominant rock type is light granite, with small plagioclase feldspar crystals which tend to dislodge under sufficient shear force. Compared to other peaks in the area (Cathedral Peak, Echo Peaks, Matthes Crest, Cockscomb), Tresidder's rock is as loose or looser.
First, make your way to Tuolumne Meadows. The Cathedral Lakes trailhead is 1 mile west along highway 120 on the South side of road. Hike south, on the John Muir Trail past Cathedral Peak. Once you reach Upper Cathedral Lake, after 3 miles or so, the entire southern quadrant of your view is blocked by Tresidder Peak, roughly 1000 feet above you.
The most common approach to the south summit is to continue on the JMT over Cathedral Pass, then to ascend easy slabs to the saddle between Tresidder Peak and Columbia Finger. It is also possible to ascend Tresidder's northeast ridge from Upper Cathedral Lake, but the route holds snow into early summer and is loose, tedious class 3 near the summit block. For a map of the area, click here
For overnight trips, the Cathedral Lakes region is one of the most highly sought-after in all of Yosemite. Thus you should consider either reserving a permit early, or waiting until late in the season (September 15 or later) to make your trip. Late trips have the added advantage of avoiding snow and the mosquitoes that inundate the marshy region near Cathedral Pass into August.
The author camped on a flat spot on Tresidder Peak's northeast ridge, about 400 feet above Upper Cathedral Lake. Fantastic 270-degree views, fantastic sunset, fantastic sunrise.
When To Climb
Summer is the most common time. Snow would make the climb dicier, but not impossible -- poor access, due to Tioga Road (hwy 120) closure, is the limiting factor in the wintertime.
The easiest winter approach would be from Yosemite Valley, probably via the Snow Creek Trail.
Thanks to snwburd for much additional information on this peak.
"Donald B. Tressider, husband of Mary Curry Tressider, was president of the Yosemite Park & Curry Co., 1925-48, and president of Stanford University, 1943-48. During Tressider's reign as head of the Curry Company, he built the Ahwahnee Hotel, the cafeteria and dining room at Camp Curry, and the Big Trees Lodge in the Mariposa Grove. He was also responsible for beginning a skiing program in Yosemite and for constructing the High Sierra Camps. (BGN decision, 1959.)"
- Peter Browning, Place Names of the Sierra Nevada
Note the difference in spelling between the peak and the person for whom it was named. I could find no information on this discrepency, but the maps all show it as "Tresidder Peak".
Page maintainer's note: If named for Donald Tresidder, "Tresidder" is the correct spelling. See Tresidder's biography
Author: Rob Tresidder
Date: Oct 28, 2004 06:30 AM
In overview of Tresidder Peak, writer states "It is often mis-spelled by a more phonetic spelling, "Tressider"".NO!! "Tressider" is not more phonetic. This canard arises from the common mis-pronunciation of the name. It is not as in Cressida (cf Troilus and Cressida by W Shakespeare) with the stress on the first syllable. The name is Cornish and carries the stress on the second syllable as in Trelawny, the onetime Bishop of Bristol and also as in Trevithick (Richard, inventor of the steam engine).
Trust me, I'm a Cornishman; I know!
climbed Tresidder Peak September 7, 2002