Adventure #1 Tenaya Peak North Buttress

We packed our climbing gear and headed out through wet grass on a bushwhack to the base of the climb. On previous climbs of Tenaya peak I had climbed up and wandered to the right along the "tree covered ledge" to start up the more vertical wall. But those starts always proved to be the hardest and least fun part of the climb. So this time we angled up to the base of the climbing from the left side across the stream draining the high cirque.

Tenaya Peak
Tenaya Peak. The horizontal tree covered ledge is prominent. We scrambled up from the left end of this ledge.

The approach was a bushwhack. It followed animal trails through brush wet from the rain and dew. Soon my sneakers were soaked through. We were climbing the north ridge so we were in shadow and it was cold, the temperatures were in the 30's.

aul Morgan on Tenaya Peak North Buttress bushwhack
Paul notices that the approach to Tenaya peak is a bushwhack.

Once out of the bushes the route is 14 easy pitches on granite. The easiest route is 5.4 ish with reasonable protection. However you can wander a bit and run into 5.6 stretches. Near the top you are aiming to climb the left side of the buttress, just to the right of the dropoff into the cirque. This was my third time up the buttress. This time I had with me the Tuolumne Super Topo guide. It helped me to find the easiest route. I remembered how much fun this route was, so I was able to relax and have fun.

Tenaya Peak North Buttress
We climbed the buttress to the left of center, near the top we climbed near the edge of the sun-shadow line.

We climbed in the shade for a few pitches. When the sun finally shone on us and we began to warm up our smiles thawed out first.

Paul Morgan on Tenaya Peak North Buttress
The views from the route are great.

aul Morgan on Tenaya Peak North Buttress
Typical climbing on the solid granite of the route.

There were occasional pieces of the route with a little runout. But the climbing was mostly fun.

The view from the summit of Tenaya Peak is one of the best in all of Yosemite Valley. From Half Dome to the west passed Mt. Hoffman and Tuolumne Peak to the domes of Tuolumne Meadows and on to Cathedral Peak and Matthes Crest.

Paul Doherty on Tenaya Peak Yosemite Valley behind
From the summit we had a great view of Clouds Rest and Half Dome rising over Tenaya Canyon.

I led all the pitches and we made good time. Paul handled the rope smoothly and quickly so we averaged about 20 minutes a pitch. I was really happy with our speed. The weather forecast called for clear sunny weather. However we found out that while we were on the mountain the forecast had changed to the possibility of thunder storms. We had cloudy weather in the afternoon but no rain. That made us happy.

After lunch on the summit we descended by going down the south side of the west ridge. The going was sandy and easy. We went all the way to the west and hiked down the slabs and through the open woods to the old road just south of Tenaya Lake. At the bottom of the slabs we had a good view of the route.

Tenaya Peak North Buttress
Tenaya Peak North Buttress. The route goes up the left skyline.

This was a pretty good start to our roadtrip.

However when we got to the car we got bad news. I called the Whitney Ranger Station and found out that we would have to cancel our trip up the East Buttress of Whitney. The recent storm had dumped over a foot of snow on the route and also on the Mountaineers route which we planned to use as our descent.

Go To Owens Moab Adventure #2 The Traverse of the Mono Craters to the summit of Crater Peak CA.

Scientific Explorations with Paul Doherty


11 October 2005