Tenaya Peak (Sierra Nevada; ~10,300')

Tenaya Peak looks like a peak from Tenaya Lake, but on the south side the summit just barely sticks out from a high plateau. Nevertheless, the Northwest Buttress provides a fun, long, easy climb. The route follows roughly the line shown here .

Topo Map

Routes: NW Buttress (I, 5.5)

References: supertopo.com

Tenaya Peak in late August from the Northwest

Date: August 27, 2006

Party: Dietrich and Paul Belitz

Route: NW Buttress

Equipment: Alpine rack to Camalot #3.5

Time: 6 hrs 30 mins roundtrip from Tenaya Lake

Comments: We simulclimbed the first half of the route

Trip report:

For our second full day at Tuolomne we decided on Tenaya Peak. Paul was a bit intimidated by the prospect of 14 pitches up to 5.5, as seven pitches up to 5.7 on Cathedral Peak + Eichorn Pinnacle had taken us all day the day before. His trepidations turned out to be unfounded, though; the climb is much easier and faster than we expected.

We slogged up the steep grass slopes above Tenaya Lake, crossed the wet section, and got on the buttress. After ascending a broken ramp we roped up, but the angle was so low, and the friction climbing so easy, that we simulclimbed. This way we gained elevation fast, and by the time we first wanted a belay we had caught up with another party and had to wait a bit. The belayed parts were fun and easy as well, and we were quite surprised when pitch 6 turned out to be the next-to-last one before the summit. For the last pitch I opted to go straight up the final wall, on overhung ledges that required an awkward belly flop. Soon thereafter we were on the summit, which unfortunately was occupied by a large and noisy group of hikers.

For the descent we did not bother with the ledge system described in the topo; we just traversed above the cliffs until we could descend third class slabs to the trees, and then continued through the forest to the trail at the lake. At the east side of the lake we took a swim, and when we continued I left my camera on the beach. When howling coyotes woke me up that night I realized that I had not seen or handled the camera after the swim, and concluded that I must have left it on the beach. Fortunately, it was still sitting there when we got there first thing the next morning.

This climb is much easier than advertised, but it's a lot of fun.

Photo Gallery:

Click the thumbnails to see a higher resolution image

We simulclimbed the low-angled pitches.

Paul on a ledge half-way up.

View of Tenaya Lake.

Paul belaying on one of the few fifth-class sections.

The next-to-last pitch.

Dietrich approaching the last ledge.

Paul on the summit.

View of Cathedral Peak and Eichorn Pinnacle from the summit.

Dietrich on the summit.

View SW over Mildred Lake from the summit.

View of Half Dome from near the summit.

Paul with Tenaya Lake in the background.

Dietrich on the descent slabs.