Start Time: 10:28am
End Time: 5:45pm
Trailhead Elevation: 8209 ft.
Summit Elevation: 9926 ft.
Camp Elevation 7155 ft.
Hike Elevation: +2449 ft., -3503 ft.
Hike Mileage: 9.47 mi.
This hike began a 3-day backpacking trek for us with Clouds Rest not really even being the main objective. We actually conceived of this hike back in 2011 on our previous trip. We would have attempted it then except the Tioga Road was still closed to everyone when we were visiting. That left us scrambling for new plans in 2011. This year, the snowpack and the roads would work in our favor. In planning this year's attempt we were left with one hurdle: how do we get to the trailhead?
There are a few options of shuttling oneself up to Sunrise Lakes TH but most don't start til July (usually because of the snowpack). We were fortunate that the DNC Tuolumne Meadows Hiker's Shuttle decided to start early this year and was even running on weekdays which helped us out. We had just one car for our group of 3 and with a hike from the Tioga Road to Yosemite Valley the vehicle had to reside somewhere.
|The Tenaya Lake outlet crossing|
As we hiked along we catch leap-frogging with a pair of older gentleman who we would see a few other times later in the trip and were pleasant to speak with. The real fun on this trail, especially with 30+ lb. packs is at the 1.5 mile marker where the first big climb begins. You're at elevation 8270 or so when you start the slope and you end just shy of 9300 in just a mile of hiking. This means a steady, switchbacking grunt with a big pack up 1000 feet of mountain slope. We took our time in this endeavour shedding a layer and pant legs as we went.
Looks at the climb up the first major slopeAnother of our initial concerns for this hike had been encountered some lingering spring snow in this area. We had debated while packing whether to bring our microspikes and ultimately decided, based on the snow conditions on Mt. Dana yesterday, we wouldn't need them here. Well, the verdict was we were right, they were not needed. I recall only see one or two very small patches of snow off trail on this north-facing slope and that was it.
|At the Sunrise Lakes junction|
Our destination begins to loom closer
Heading up to the summit is an exciting place!
|Looking back on the final ascent from the north side|
The image that follows is a Photo Sphere made by the Google Camera app on my phone. If you're familiar with Google Street View it is pretty much the same thing, only I took this all while standing on the Clouds Rest summit. It'll give you a complete spherical panoramic view of everything I saw from where I stood. It's pretty sweet!
|Looking back at Tenaya Lake and this morning's starting spot|
|Taking in the panoramic views to the north|
|A little friend that found us on the summit|
|Panoramic views of Tenaya Canyon and Yosemite Valley|
|The steep stairs heading down the south side|
Map/TrackI have Tracks and waypoints from our hike all contained in a KML file that you are welcome to download and use (at your own risk):