One of my favorite peaks in Yosemite (because I’ve been on top twice and half-way up another 2 or 3 times) is Mount Dana. It’s the first peak south of Tioga Pass, on the crest of the Sierra Nevada, 13,061 feet above the sea. The view from the top is amazing—all of Yosemite lies to the west, all of Mono Basin lies to the east. Its name commemorates James Dwight Dana, a 19th-Century geologist/zoologist who taught geology at Yale.
This day in late June was not for climbing, though. Just a stroll to the pass on the not-yet open Tioga Road (State Route 120), and another walk up the Saddlebag Lake road, also not yet open to traffic.
Mt. Dana (just right of center) from Tioga Pass; a snow-bound tarn in the foreground. The trail to the top goes through those trees in the middle, up that slope, and along the left edge of the peak to the summit.
Mt. Dana (just right of center) from the road to Saddlebag Lake.
The snows of Mt. Dana (just left of center) and Mt. Gibbs (far left) from South Tufa at Mono Lake, under a midnight nearly-full moon. Dana Plateau lies behind those cliffs on the right.
The edge of Dana Plateau. Beyond these cliffs, all above 11,000 feet, is a shallow alpine valley, a Pleistocene nunatak, that was never scoured by glaciers.
Tim Messick Photography • Graphics
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