Wednesday, October 30, 2019
Mt. Hoffmann – Yosemite NP – trail to May Lake and unofficial trail to summit
Ian, Court, Greg, Todd, Kelly, and Ryan
Well, today was supposed to be the day we were going to climb Half Dome with the cables down, but the weather overnight made us cancel. The forecast was in the teens at our campsite (Little Yosemite Valley) and almost single digits on Half Dome, so we made the call and bailed.
However, this hike was recommended by Kelly’s ranger friend and it was a fun challenge with some great views. A group of us got to the trail head around 1pm and headed up into the Sierra.
About a mile or so in, we hit May Lake and the camp there, which was closed for the season. We got some good photos and continued around the lake to start the unofficial trail up to Mt Hoffmann.
A lot of this trail was route finding, looking for cairns among the rocks as we steadily gained elevation.
About half way up we could see views of Half Dome way down in the valley.
We turned up the mountain and the ascent got quite steep and difficult. There were multiple cairns to choose from and we basically had to just make our own route and use our best judgement. The altitude became a bit too much for Ryan and Kelly, so they chose to hang back while the remaining four of us continued up toward the summit.
Just a hundred yards or so after we left Ryan and Kelly, the trail flattened out quite a bit and the remaining trek to the base of the summit wasn’t nearly as steep. Greg and Todd went for the actual summit while Court and I decided to forego it and chose a smaller peak just below to rest and eat lunch on.
After enjoying the view for a bit we knew we had to start down to try and get back to the trail head before dark, or at least close to it. The journey down was a bit more treacherous than going up, as we were having to again pick our way through cairns, but this time downhill on unstable rocks. We made it back to the lake after a long journey and met back up with Ryan and Kelly while we waited for Greg and Todd to catch up.
The alpenglow was starting to hit the rocks and the light made for some stunning pics.
Once everyone was back together we hiked back down from May Lake to the trail head, stopping multiple times to get pics of the sunset and the encroaching dusk. The sunsets out here are incredible. We don’t get much in Texas like this.