There was enough snow between Vogelsang High Sierra Camp and the pass that I kept my ice axe handy for most of the day. Vogelsang Lake was still frozen over, strange since it’s only a few hundred feet higher than the thawed out Fletcher Lake. I skirted the West side of the lake and began climbing toward Vogelsang Pass. Right before the pass I turned into a small creek drainage on the East Face of Vogelsang Peak. The snow here steepens as it climbs onto the East Ridge of the peak. I French-stepped to the top of the snow slope, then took off my crampons as I climbed onto the dry ridge.
On the ridge I could see out into the peaks of the Cathedral Range. It was only a short walk-up from here to the summit, with a short class-3 section onto the summit block. It’s a wonder that I had not noticed Vogelsang Peak from anywhere else in the park, since one can identify almost every major Yosemite peak from its summit. To the southwest stood the entire Clark Range, still mostly covered in snow. To the southeast was the Cathedral Range, with Mount Lyell, Yosemite’s highest point, piercing the skyline. To the north were Tuolumne Meadows, Mount Conness, and the Sawtooths in the distant background. Like Mount Hoffmann to the Northwest, Vogelsang Peak provides views into everything that the Yosemite high country has to offer, yet it is almost indistinguishable when viewed from other peaks in the park.
After eating lunch I scrambled back down to the snow. What I climbed in an hour I glissaded down in two minutes. Watching my bootprints slide by was perhaps the most exhilarating part of this trip. I hiked across the snow back out to Vogelsang pass, briefly considering a jaunt out to Gallison Lake, but decided against it. I took another lunch break, then plunge-stepped my way back down to the lake. Another twenty minutes and I was back at camp, still alone, ready for a brisk hike out in the morning.
That night the skies remained clear, but my sleep remained fitful. The stars were out in full force, though, and it was not altogether a bad night. I pulled myself out of the sleeping bag as soon as the sun rose above the peaks. I decided on a much faster pace going out than I had taken going in, though I still stopped to take plenty of pictures. There were many more people on the trail, and I passed a few parties coming in for the night. I had chosen the perfect three days to find solitude in a more popular part of the park.