End Time: 3:20pm
Trailhead Elevation: 8850 ft.
Summit Elevation: 10,850 ft.
Hike Elevation: 2329 ft.
Hike Mileage: 6.03 mi.
The turn-off for May Lake Road is pretty well marked on the Tioga Road so we had little trouble finding it. The road is then about 4 miles of rough and bumpy 2WD dirt road up to a nice paved trailhead area. It is said that some years May Lake Road doesn't open at the same time as the Tioga Road and so you may need to verify this before making any great plans.
Hiking up to May Lake
|First views of May Lake and the east side of Mt. Hoffmann
Upon arrival at May Lake you're immediately greeted with such a beautiful view of such a wonderful lake. You're also greeted by the welcome surprise of a flush toilet in the guise of an outhouse. There is also a potable water spigot nearby making this a great stop on a hike up to Mt. Hoffmann. Off to the immediate northeast is the May Lake High Sierra Camp. We didn't take the time to walk over there and check it out but definitely made the mental note to return and stay at this one or one of the other four another time.
|Such a wonderful lake it is -- May Lake
|Be glad you do not have to scale this as you climb Mt. Hoffmann
|Let the jaw dropping views begin...
Couldn't stop taking beautiful pictures. And what's going on with those clouds?
|The upper summit area comes into view
|Looking through the notch at 10,600
|Looking at the "ambiguous" push to the summit
|A friendly Mt. Hoffmann marmot.
|Birthday summit for Matt
|Taking in the views from the summit
As we enjoyed the top I started scouting southward on the summit ridge for an easy path of descent and there just didn't appear to be anything better. There was a path with less scrambling but it had more downward sloping, somewhat exposed slabs to deal with. So we ultimately chose the scrambling descent and once more helped spot one another down through the rocks more towards the easier terrain.
As our group neared the notch area I ran on ahead to the two peaks on the eastern end of Hoffmann's high summit area. I had been eyeing this on the ascent and was looking for a chance to get into some real class 3/4 scrambling. I found a stretch of about 50 feet to scale into and I worked up through it to top out on these smaller "summits" on the eastern end of Hoffmann. They provided some wonderful views of May Lake below and of course the high Sierra.
I hopped down from this extra credit work and then jogged on down back to the trail to rejoin the other two who had began the hiking descent. Up to this point we had not met anyone else above May Lake. As our descent would continue we would however pass about 2 dozen people all headed up to Hoffmann still.
|Loving this beautiful blue color in May Lake
|One more parting shot from the shore of May Lake
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):