From the outlet of Tower Lake, followed the north ridge directly up bypassing Tower Pass completely. Only had to break out the ax twice to get over 2 very short sections, maybe 25-40 ft. or so. The upper snowfield was bypassed on the right on class 2-3 rock. Then back up to the north ridge and to the summit via the standard route.
I would recommend this variation, There's some great views of the Watchtower that would be missed if climbing the standard route from Tower Lake to Tower Pass.
Day 3 of the North Yosemite peak bagging trip with Tommey. We had moved our camp from Seavey Pass to the head of Kerrick Meadows before day hiking over two passes to attack Tower from the east. A lot of snow still.
Summitted via Mono Village route passing over parts of Cirque Peak-Center Mtn.-Hawksbeak-Upper Walker Headwaters-Watchtower-N.Ridge of Tower. Scenic. Due to an accident, the trip out became unexpectedly arduous.
Fun climb with friends Mark & Tim, from our base camp at Tower Lake. Despite the many wildfires going we lucked out with clear, beautiful skies.
We hiked in from the Buckeye trail, crossing the stream several times. The trail was lost from time to time because of the numerous cow paths. Despite the note on the Summitpost page about this trail, don't drink the water until you're away from the meadows and well off the trail. We called this route the House of Pies for obvious reasons. We left the trail at a saddle and climbed to higher ground and went up the sandy slope of Hawksbeak before descending to the Rainbow Canyon lakes. Nice spot, but the mosquitoes were ravenous. The next day we climbed Tower Peak and traversed along the ridge connecting to Ehrenbeck. Climbing Ehrenbeck from this side is not trivial, btw. Be forewarned.
Got to Tower Lake after dark and climbed this before the sun came up. April was tough- snow flurries and snowed in passes made the peak that much less accessible. Strait forward climbing and a fun descent back to Dorothy. The yellow legged mountain frog comes out of hibernation in April-May, and the trip was more about finding tadpoles than climbing.
day hike, car to car: 16 hours.
With a team of seven we climbed the steep narrow snow chute next to Watchtower to gain the saddle. We had so much fun we decided to call it the "Piute Chute". From there we scrambled up the north ridge, traversed into the staircase chute, and made our way to the summit.
This was definitely the easiest of the mountaineers peaks I've climbed thus far, but certainly worth it. We had a group of about 6 and camped just above Upper Piute Meadow. The trail above said meadow has an unbelievable amount of trees fallen down. So much so that you can't even find your way and you literally hop from one downed tree to the other as you try and gain elevation. I'm assuming this was caused by a major downburst in winter when everything was brittle.
The trees reported by craig512 from his trip last year are all cleared off the trail, so it is now completely clear. Thanks Mr. Ranger for your hard work with the chainsaw!
A long, long hike in the woods. It's a bit disappointing to see the cool-looking tower, then realize that it is not Tower, but the views were new and impressive. Trip report.
Nice views and a nice looking peak.
Camped at Tower Lake and climbed the following morning. Nice views from the summit.
On 4 day loop trip through Emigrant & Hoover Wilderness and N.W. corner of Yosemite. Camped at Lake Helen and came over the ridge that separates Lake Helen from Tower Lake. Nice route if you want to bag Tower Peak while backpacking from Leavitt Lake. I did not have time to summit unfortunately but now know this is a good alternative to the Leavitt Meadows approach. Crystal clear views on this day!
Stick to crest of ridge as much as possible; a fine mountain in fairly remote location. Hiked in from Leavitt Lake around nightfall, the best part of this solo hike was the fresh fish dinner and pleasant conversation I was treated to by a nice family whose campsite I stumbled across at dark.
This was a two-day trip from Bay Area, with a one-night base camp at Tower Lake. This late in the summer, the snow field above the lake was reduced to a narrow band towards the top of the pass, and easily bypassed on the right (west) side. Similarly, one could avoid a large snow field on the northwest face of Tower by reaching the north ridge to the left (north) of it. Follow the ridge towards the peak for as long as it is an easy class-2, then traverse to the northwest chute, and after some simple class-3 moves on a firm rock in the upper part of the chute reach the summit. It took about 2 hours and twenty minutes to get to the top from Tower Lake, with plenty of rest along the way. About 30 people signed up the register at the top this summer. The first climb this year was recorded on June 27. Brief trip report.
In the last hundred years, this was one of coldest and wetest Junes in the Northern Sierra. All creeks and the Walker River are swollen along the route from Leavitt Meadow to Tower area, and solid snow starts in Tower Creek Canyon at 8600 feet. I reached Tower Pass and Tower's North Ridge, but got stopped at NW chute. The upper part of the chute is covered by snow and ice, and too risky for a solo climber to attempt. As consolation prize, I took the higher (and simpler) of two 'watchtowers' that guard the northern end of Tower's North Ridge (see Jeff Moore's photo from June 2004). It may take a few more weeks before NW chute is clear and dry.
My first Sierra Peak. What a way to start! We came from Leavitt Meadows and the water was quite high along the way. We took a short cut at the base of the Watchtower to the snow. Very mellow snow and class 2 rock led to the top. Thanks Matt Moule and Greg Reis from the Mono Lake Committee.
Cold and windy near the top but otherwise it was a great hike.
Great peak, great views and great weather. Continued on to Craig and Snow. Getting down from Tower presented much more difficulty than the very easy cls3 route up.