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lower cathedral lake to tenaya lake

Posted: Mon Sep 18, 2006 2:29 pm
by fertom

I heard that there is a cross-country route from lower cathedral lake down to tenaya lake.
Has anyone some more information on this (difficulty, orientation...).

Any info would be great!

Once a year a trip to yosemite is a must for me, am from germany so any help you can offer is really of much help.


Posted: Mon Sep 18, 2006 3:13 pm
by BSquared
Yeah, I did that by mistake one September when it snowed just enough that I missed the place where the trail turned north. As I recall, it wasn't too bad but it took a long time: just kept walking toward Fairview (I think) Dome and then keeping it on the left. Does this make sense to you who have been in the area more recently (this was back in "the day").

Posted: Mon Sep 18, 2006 3:55 pm
by SSSdave
Yeah the route starts from a well used dirt parking pullout near Virgin Dome (climber name not on topo). I've used it many times and even met rangers using it for patrolling Cathedral since it is a way shortcut. One can also climb down where the outlet creek goes over slabs though that is a more dangerous friction slab affair best left for those without packs.

From the road it quickly crosses the Tuolumne Meadows to Tenaya trail then takes what was actually built into a rought trail up towards Medlicott Dome climbers routes. Where it hits the steep granite slabs it gets a bit tricky to follow since it winds around some boulders and enters a joint crack all of which is just hard rock that doesn't wear into a trail. If one gets off the real route, one might get into some small cliffs. From the bench below the Medlicott cliff one really doesn't need to follow any trail though there is an obvious foot path that is more used. I would not recommend starting from Cathedral if one has never come up from the bottom as one wouldn't have a clue where it overcomes the cliff bands. ...David

Posted: Mon Sep 18, 2006 8:32 pm
by giantbrookie
I haven't gone up from Tenaya Lake itself, but I imagine the route would be fairly easy. To gain a bit more elevation (by car), my wife and I routinely take off from the Tioga Road (close to 8400' elev) just after it climbs past Pywiack Dome. You climb over a low wooded shoulder of Pywiack then across a fairly flat wooded area (the broad gap between Pywiack and Medlicott) then you diagonally climb up over easy slabs to reach Cathedral Creek. There is one key step along Cathedral Creek (fairly low at about 8800) that is best surmounted just south of the creek. Once over this the final slabs are easily climbed on the side north of the creek but will go on either side. As a day hike we routinely make this climb (to Lower Cathedral Lake) in 40-45 min from the car. If done right this route is class 2, but if one makes major routefinding mistakes you can get into some 3rd class stuff. This is one of my wife's favorite short off trail dayhikes in part because the views are consistently great (once one climbs above the low wooded area noted above). I might add that things were easy when we did this partly because we always did it in the fall. With the creek roaring in early season, and with wet slabs in other places, it might cut down quite a bit on route finding flexibility. I agree with SSS Dave, though, that it might not be such a good idea to do this thing for the first time as a descent, given that it is not as easy to pick out the route this way and you may get hung up by small cliffs. If you are an experienced off trail traveler this won't be as big an issue, if frequently you've dealt with blind descents over slabby terrain (the potential for detours from small cliffs and such).

Posted: Wed Sep 20, 2006 11:14 am
by fertom
thanks guys for all these infos!
having read all of your comments it seems that it´s not that brilliant idea to try it from above without having hiked it from below.
wwanna go trying it that way to be prepared for next time.