Camped near Caples Lake (formerly called Summit Lake or Clear Lake), 1863:
"August 17--I climbed alone a high peak south, over 10,500 feet high--a steep, heavy climb. I had to carry a barometer, bag with lunch, thermometer, levels, hammer, etc., a canteen, and my botanical box. We have had high winds for several days, and in the morning clouds enveloped the summit of the peak, but they fled before I reached it. The last eight hundred or a thousand feet rise in a steep volcanic mass, so steep as to be only accessible in one place, around cliffs and up steep slopes on the rocks, but there was no serious difficulty or danger. A cold, raw, and fierce wind swept over the summit, but the day was very clear and the view sublime. The peak is just south of Carson Pass, and some twenty to twenty-five miles south of Lake Tahoe (Bigler). The lake was in full view its whole extent--my first sight of it--its waters intensely blue, high, bold mountains rising from its shores. I am higher than the great crest of the Sierra here and hundreds of snowy peaks are in sight. Hope Valley lies beneath, green and lovely--high mountains, eleven thousand feet high rising beyond it. Besides Lake Tahoe, there are ten smaller lakes in sight, from two miles long down to mere ponds (which were not counted)--all blue, of clear snow water. It was, indeed, a grand view.
I descended by getting on a steep slope of snow, down which I came a thousand feet in a few minutes where it had taken two hours' hard labor to get up."
- William Brewer, Up and Down California
Probably the shortest route up Round Top is to park at Woods lake and take the trail toward Round Top lake. At the lake take the use trail up the gully directly toward the west ridge. Roughly 2.5 miles with about 2,100 elevation gain.