Peak 11500'

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California, United States, North America
11500 ft / 3505 m
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Peak 11500'
Created On: Sep 15, 2003
Last Edited On: Sep 15, 2003


Do you like to climb obscure, unnamed peaks with good views and little to no human company? If so, then this peaklet above the ominous Ireland Lake may appeal to you. By the Colorado "300-foot rule", Peak 11500' doesn't even qualify as a summit of its own. Geologically defined, it is merely the northern terminus of the spectacular northwest ridge of Parsons Peak. While not viable as a standalone mountaineering target, Peak 11500' is nontheless an enjoyable goal if you're in the area and want a birds-eye view of the lovely surroundings.

The lack of a summit register underlies this peak's relative insignificance. However, a small summit cairn testifies to at least some climbing history, most likely from visitors to the Vogelsang High Sierra Camp, located roughly 2 miles west-southwest of Peak 11500'. From the south, the route to the summit is a short class 2 boulder hop over solid rock.

Getting There

To get to Tuolumne Meadows, refer to the logistical center page

The closest trailhead is the John Muir Trailhead in Tuolumne Meadows. The wildnerness permit station makes a convenient parking spot, especially if you stay overnight. Travel south on the JMT for approximately 1.5 miles, crossing first the Dana Fork, and then the larger Lyell Fork of the Tuolumne River on footbridges. The Rafferty Creek Trail forks off from the JMT about 1/2 mile past the Lyell Fork bridge. Follow this trail to the Vogelsang High Sierra camp, about 7 miles of total distance.

From the High Sierra Camp, follow the trail along the west shore of Fletcher Lake. Follow a variety of use trails to Townsley Lake and continue along Townsley's north shore. From the east end of the lake, simply follow the cross-country path of least resistance to the plainly visible summit. Total distance from the JMT trailhead is between 9 and 10 miles, with an elevation gain of about 3000 feet.

Red Tape

Red tape abounds, even more so than in the Yosemite Wilderness at large. Hikers entering the wilderness via the Rafferty Creek trailhead are required to use a bearproof canister, or use the bear boxes at the High Sierra Camp. These can be found next to the composting pit toilet near Fletcher Lake.

For general red tape, refer to the logistical center page

When To Climb

Due to closure of Tioga Road, winter access is impossible, unless you ski in from a great distance. The Vogelsang High Sierra camp is about 22 miles from Yosemite Valley.

Assuming Tioga Road is open, the mountain itself does not present any special snow-related mountaineering difficulties.


Convenient (running water/pit toilet/bear boxes) camping is available near the Vogelsang High Sierra camp, subject to increased red tape (see section above). Otherwise, the areas closer to peak 11500' provide excellent camping. One possibility is near beautiful Evelyn Lake.

Mountain Conditions

Tuolumne Meadows weather conditions from the CA Dept. of Water Resources.

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