North American Classic Climbs

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Mount Conness

West Ridge

Beta Images Slide Show

Mt. Conness presents a dramatic profile from the west, particularly from the shores of Tenaya Lake as one approaches "Domeland" in Tuolomne Meadows along the Tioga Pass Road. At 12,590' in elevation, it dominates this section of the main crest of the Sierra Nevada Range, and is one of the most significant peaks in Yosemite National Park.

Two features of the western aspect of the mountain draw the eye: the broad steep cirque of the great Southwest Face, and the long sharp ridge that defines its left border. This is the West Ridge, a route that generates enthusiasm among all who climb it, whether beginner or expert. As a true moderate with only a few short sections of 5.6 in the lower few pitches, it is not the difficulty of the moves that brings climbers back again and again; it is the classic nature of the knife-edge sweeping directly to the summit with dramatic exposure to the south, and the quality of the rock.

The climb was aptly described by TM Herbert as "two Cathedral Peaks stacked atop each other", a reference to the Southeast Buttress Route on that peak just across the meadows.

Even though the route may be quite easy technically, it provides a good long outing because of its relative inaccessibility. Plan a very full day to approach and climb it from the east side, or a backpack and overnight from the west. The scenery to be experienced from this climb and the summit is some of the finest in Yosemite National Park. Not a crowded climb - you'll likely have the entire ridge to yourself. Enjoy.


Alpine Rock




Yosemite National Park, California



G11, G36, W9


II, 5.6


Route Descriptions & Maps:

USGS topographic map

First Ascent:

Dick Long & Friends, 1957


Trip Reports:

Brent 9/00
Reyes 10/01