Vogelsang Peak Part 2

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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.

Vogelsang Peak as seen from Vogelsang Lake

Vogelsang Peak as seen from Vogelsang Lake

Vogelsang Lake

Looking back down toward Vogelsang Lake along the way up to the peak

Route Up Vogelsang

The route to the top of Vogelsang Peak followed snow most of the way

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.


The most technical part of the scramble to the summit of Vogelsang Peak was not that technical

Merced Drainage

The Merced River drainage as seen from the summit of Vogelsang Peak

Cathedral Range

The upper Cathedral Range from the Summit of Vogelsang Peak

Clark Range

The Clark Range from the summit of Vogelsang Peak

Northern Yosemite

Northern Yosemite and Tuolumne Meadows from the summit of Vogelsang Peak

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.

Glissade Tracks

Both my footprints and glissade tracks on the eastern slope of Vogelsang Peak

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.

2 thoughts on “Vogelsang Peak Part 2

  1. Lance peak

    Wow, thanks for writing this up. Looks like you had a great time, I look forward to hearing about the rest.


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