Would be brutal under warm summer conditions.
Up the day after a visit to LeConte Point on the other side of the lake. Pretty spectacular views from the summit.
Solo snow camping trip.
Originally wanted to camp on the summit for the sunset and the sunrise view; decided to take shelter in the woods as it began snowing. Got over 2ft of snow dumped on me and didn't see a soul (except for a bear on the way out) during the entire trip. Was nice.
I really enjoyed it.
I spent last night on the peak with the full moon. It was a pretty challenging hike (started from near Hetch Hetchy), because it was hot and there were a lot of blown down trees blocking the trail after Smith Meadows. At the summit, there were some day hikers but I was the only one to sleep up there. I had a small fire and watched the sunset illuminate the high sierras to the east. It was a perfectly still night, and despite being somewhat sick from some creek-water, I slept like a rock.
On the descent, I followed the same trail but remembered to take my time and relax more. Got surprised by a rattlesnake near the trail, and watched him slither around the logs for a while, and then I took a refreshing dip in a nice rock pool in one of the streams.
I have to say the views on the peak were good, but if you take your time on the approach (or descent) there are many beautiful meadows and nice things to see beneath the trees as well.
Camped on the summit for some original sunset and sunrise views of the area in late 2010
Camped at Smith Peak on my 1st day of 11days backpacking trip.
We started hiking from White Wolf. The trail in between Harden Lake and Smith Meadows were so brushy and hard to follow. I believe not many hikers take this trail. We descended down to Hetch Hetchy on the next day. This trail was well maintained and easy to follow.
My Hike Album
Camped on summit, great sunset.
About a 9 hour trip with a nice lunch break and a rest on the peak. Took the Cottonwood Meadows route. Would have made it a loop by taking the Smith Meadows trail back, but impending rain and a 7pm gate closing made me choose the shorter and more familar trail back. Great trail although there are patches where the trail is completely covered in thorn bushes. Saw the back end of a big cinnamon-colored bear running away through the trees just NE of Cottonwood Meadow.
Loop hike out of Hetch Hetchy entrance station via the Lookout Point trail, and back via Smith Meadow and Cottonwood Meadow. The former is a much prettier approach. Surprisingly good summit views for such a low elevation peak.
Nice, if overly uphill, dayhike.
Prefer the route from the Ranger Station through Cottonwood Meadow over the Smith Meadow Trailhead route that I took this trip.
Only patches of slow left up there.
Pics are here
Pics from a prior failed winter summit in Jan are here
Awesome experience! Thanks to John for making the idea of camping on Smith's summit a reality.
Kim and I hiked with Hari and Kiyo.
I'd say that this hike qualifies as my "biggest difference between approach views and summit views" hike. The approach is an almost uniformly monotonous slog through abundant deadwood forests, interrupted by route-finding exercises through swampy (though admittedly pretty) meadows. Views are non-existent on the approach, but almost totally panoramic from the summit.
My advice: go fast on the approach, and leave ample time to linger on the summit. A sunset up there will leave an indelible mark on your memories.
This was a fun hike that I did as my introduction to the Bay Area Outdoor Adventure Club (OAC). Hiking this peak with the OAC made a lot of sense for me because: (1) it wouldn't normally occur to me to head to Hetch Hetchy though the idea was intriguing, (2) I wanted to do an overnighter in Yosemite but carrying a bear canister isn't my idea of fun (the guides did it), (3) I'm also not fond of quota-based permits (the guides got it), and (4) what really makes this hike special is if you spend a night on the summit with friends.
There were a total of 10 people in our group (including 2 guides). I car pooled with Sharon and Kelly from the Bay Area, arriving at the HH Campground around 3:00am (11 hour trip - story for another time) where we found the rest of the group and slept until sunrise. I slept in my sleeping bag on a rock slab and had to point the opening downward against the rock to prevent the bugs from finding me. Luckily we didn't run into any bugs once we started hiking. We hiked to the summit from the HH Entrance Station on Saturday arriving around 6pm (?) for a great view and ample time to prepare dinner. At Cottonwood Meadows we had met two people coming down and we were lucky enough to have the summit to ourselves the entire time. When the sun went down we built a fire and played drinking games with shots of whiskey and tequila. Six people slept in tents while the rest of us (Richard and Steve - the two guides; Francois from South Africa; and myself) slept under the stars. Although we had bear canisters, bears did not come into our campsite. Some experiments verified this.
We had pancakes for breakfast and hit the trail around 10am heading to the HH campground. The area around Cottonwood Creek would be a nice area for camping. When we hit the road we ran into an YNP ranger in a truck who interrogated us, asking about our hiking route, bear canisters, permits, etc. It was pretty funny since she was asking nicely and obviously trying to trick us. Then we made a stop by the dam before heading out. We definitely did not need 2 days to do this (at times, it felt like we were relaxing almost too much for my tastes), but spending the night on the summit was definitely the highlight of this trip.