Friday, September 25, 2009

Yosemite National Park, Climbing Lembert Dome

We had both felt the granite calling to us, as we hiked Tuolumne Meadows, and so we returned for a hike/climb to the top of Lembert Dome. The website had said that the trail from the Dog Lake parking lot was really an easy hike to the top, and so we decided to take that route.
Both of us were nervous as we started up the trail and we could feel the effects of the thin air at 9000 feet. We stopped frequently and looked for birds and wildlife. Towhees were everywhere and during one rest we were rewarded with a doe and her fawn, grazing nearby.
Now the hike from the parking area is really short, only eight tenths of a mile, with an 850 foot elevation gain, and we soon reached the trail junction and turned west towards the summit ridge. Leaving the trees behind we walked and gazed at the distant peaks. The rock was a beautiful white granite with large crystals of feldspar, which provided great hand holds and footholds, maybe the best face climbing rock I have ever been on.
Wanting to run, I went ahead checking for the easy way to the summit. Turning I saw that Renita was right behind me and so we pushed on with little thought of stopping.
As we neared the top we had to scramble a bit but there was an obvious scar that led to the peak. Above us the way was blocked by another hiker who was feeling the acrophobia, but she finally moved up with encouragement form her partner, and we followed and reached the summit.
Enjoying the view we pointed out places and too soon other climbers reached the small top and it actually became crowded! The wind came up and I feared that it would soon become too strong for a safe down climb and so we left the exposed top for a more protected spot for lunch. As we sat and ate lunch a bald eagle soared above us. I glassed the southwest face looking for obvious climbing routes, and we both watched the cars far below.
The return hike was easy and fast. The whole route had taken less then three hours and that was because we had stopped for lunch and scenery. Agreeing that this was a definite place to return to again, we loaded our days packs into the truck, for the short drive home. Clean hard rock, a high place, and an eagles view of Tuolumne Meadows! Clear skies.

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