Sierra Nevada - Yosemite National Park - Mount Dana

On September 15, 1962 I climbed 13,061' Mount Dana on a Sierra Club trip with Stretch & Rosella Kimble, Hugh, Doris, Bret, & .... Lantz, Jim Mesero, Gill and Isabelle Beilke.

We drove to Tioga Pass by noon Saturday. Day hiked 3 miles and 3,000 feet to Mount Dana over Class 1-2 route. Four hours to top - spent hour on top - great views - 1 1/2 hours back to cars. Drove back to San Diego Sunday by 6 p.m.

The summit of Mount Dana marks the eastern boundary of Yosemite National Park and the western boundary of the Ansel Adams Wilderness. At an elevation of 13,061 feet, it is the second highest mountain in Yosemite (after Mount Lyell), and the northernmost summit in the Sierra Nevada which is over 13000 feet in elevation. The mountain is named in honor of James Dwight Dana, who was a professor of natural history and geology at Yale.

Mount Dana's northern face includes a small, receding glacier known as the Dana Glacier. The Dana Meadows lie at the foot of the mountain. From the top, lakes throughout Dana Meadows, Mono Lake, Tioga Peak and many other mountains are in view.

From the Tioga Pass Road there are many easy routes. (class 1), available that lead to the summit along the mountain's western or southern slopes. These routes rise 3,108 feet in elevation in 2.9 miles, (a 20.3% average grade).

Mount Data area map
Mount Data area map

There is a clearly marked path leading just above tree line. After topping a ridge, a set of use-paths and ducked routes are present, with the main path running along the easterly ridgeline. Additionally, numerous alternate trail segments begin and end at various points on the southwestern face, making parts of this hike a difficult class 2.

The path segments turn into scree toward the summit, where a shallow stone-walled shelter and register are found. Significant snow fields on the mountain slopes can exist late into the summer season. Total round trip hiking time can be anywhere between 3 and 12 hours depending many factors, such as acclimatization to elevation.

Lying Head mountain (left) and Mount Dana (right) from Dana Meadows near Tioga Pass - Sep 1962
Lying Head mountain (left) and Mount Dana (right)
from Dana Meadows near Tioga Pass - Sep 1962
The route up Mount Dana - Sep 1962
The route up Mount Dana - Sep 1962

Dana Lake from Mount Dana ridge - Sep 1962
Dana Lake from Mount Dana ridge - Sep 1962
Dana Glacier from Mount Dana ridge near top of Mount Dana - Sep 1962
Dana Glacier from Mount Dana ridge near top of Mount Dana - Sep 1962

View southwest of Mt. Lyell and its glacier from top of Mount Dana - Sep 1962
View southwest of Mt. Lyell and its glacier from top of Mount Dana - Sep 1962
View west from top of Mount Dana toward Tuolumne Valley and Cathedral Range - Sep 1962
View west from top of Mount Dana toward Tuolumne Valley
and Cathedral Range - Sep 1962

View north from top of Mount Dana, Tioga Pass Road, Tioga Lake (left of summit), Saddlebag Lake (right of pole), Mt. Conness (center) - Sep 1962
View north from top of Mount Dana, Tioga Pass Road, Tioga Lake (left of summit), Saddlebag Lake (right of pole), Mt. Conness (center) - Sep 1962
Mono Lake from top of Mt. Dana - Sep 1962
Mono Lake from top of Mt. Dana - Sep 1962