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Agassiz Column

PostPosted: Sun Jan 21, 2007 11:11 pm
by dan
Agassiz Column
Author: Robert Szabo (
Date: 09-26-03 10:12

I have seen many 19th century pictures of Agassiz column, but never any modern pictures.

Does anyone know how to get to this or for that matter, is it still standing?

As precarious as it looks I hope it didn’t fall in an earthquake years ago. ... 05460.html

Robert Szabo

Re: Agassiz Column
Author: Weston Naef (
Date: 04-30-04 15:35

Did you get any answers to the question about whether Agassiz Rock is still standing?

Re: Agassiz Column
Author: Andrey (17.255.241.---)
Date: 03-02-05 20:25

Ten Trail Trips in Yosemite National Park (1980)
by William R. Jones

contains a recent enough [!] fresh photo of that column --
so I suppose it was OK, at least on 1980 !

Re: Agassiz Column
Author: John Sivley (
Date: 05-06-05 14:55

I recently wrote to the park service asking that very question - is it still standing? I also asked if there are any plans to cut a new trail to this natural monument and former Yosemite sight. So far, no reply.

I did talk to a park employee who informed me that her husband and daughter hiked up to look for the column last summer. The area they searched in was very thick with brush, trees and manzanita which made it very difficult. Also, there are no indications as to exactly where to look since Union Point no longer exists on maps nor is it posted. She wasn't positive that they actually found it, but was "pretty sure" that they had found it. (couldn't remember for sure)

To date I have yet to get a definite verification that the column is still standing, but I have also not heard or read anything to indicate that it has fallen. Therefore, my assumption is that it is standing, but very hard to find and to get to. Happy hunting.

Re: Agassiz Column
Author: Tom Pederson (
Date: 10-09-05 22:03

Many would like to know if Agassiz is still there. Has any one tried the new Google map search to try to see it? It may be easier than a hike. I will make that a mission in a few weeks. My fingers will do the walking. Tom

Re: Agassiz Column
Author: John Sivley (
Date: 10-22-05 16:49

I have good news and bad news

The good news is that Agassiz Column is still standing as of October 20, 2005. I hiked up the Four Mile trail two days ago with the goal of either finding the rock or finding where a slide may have taken it out. After lots of searching and walking through a thick stand of manzanita brush I was able to view the column - or at least the upper 1/2 of it.

That's where the bad news comes in. Agassiz column is now almost completely hidden. Not only is there manzanita growing all around it, but there is a giant tree right in front of it making it impossible to see from Union Point.

To get an idea of how the landscape has changed, I suggest Googling "Agassiz Column" and selecting the site named "Change". This site has 5 old photos of Agassiz. (thanks to whoever posted it) The final photo shows the rocks to the upper left of the column. The top of those rocks is where you can now hike to by taking a "spur" trail. But, between those rocks and Agassiz now stands a very large pine tree which completely blocks the view of Agassiz Column. In fact, you can't even tell that the column is behind the tree. Everything else is heavily overgrown with thick manzanita. Additionaly, the steep terrain makes it very difficult to get around to the spot where those old photos were taken. (wear long pants if attempting). Even after reaching the spot where the old photo was taken, only the top half of the column is visible.

One last comment. As you hike UP the trail, about 1/4 mile before reaching Moran and Union Points, you can see the back side of Agassiz Column by looking up the mountain. The trail does some zig-zags about 400 feet below it. The balanced rock really stands out if you know what to look for.

Re: Agassiz Column
Author: Dan Anderson (
Date: 10-24-05 09:10

Thanks John for the detailed report and effort--very interesting.

It's too bad overgrown vegetation is overtaking various landmarks. I noticed for example, trees blocking the view more and more of Vernal Falls from the bridge. With the new firepolicy, maybe these views will come back.

An older historical photo (1880s) and description is in Hutching's book In the Heart of the Sierras: ... as/27.html

Re: Agassiz Column
Author: Robert Szabo (
Date: 10-24-05 10:20

Thanks very much John! Great to know its still there.

You said a tree is blocking it but I have a question. Would it be possible to photograph what is showing with a wide angle lens? Can you get in between the tree and the column?

Im really an not familiar with the terrain there so I dont know if this is even possible. Does it involve technical climbing to get that close?

Watkins pictures looked to be pretty close up but its hard to tell what is in between the camera and the column. Maybe air and the valley ??

Robert Szabo

Agassiz Column found and photographed

PostPosted: Sun Sep 23, 2007 10:38 pm
by dan
I found Agassiz Column. Here's a photo, taken Sept. 2007:


Compare with a photo from Hutchings Heart of the Sierras, p. 468:

Here's how to get there. Its above the current Four Mile Trail (and just below the old Four Mile Trail, which was rerouted in the 1930s, I believe). I hiked up from the Valley Floor, but it's much easier to hike down from the top and back. At the point in the trail near the top where the trail switches from the west-facing switchbacks to the east-facing shaded part of the upper Four Mile trail is a viewpoint, not signed, but I think is near the old Union Point. About 100 feet up the viewpoint is a metal gate. Another 100 feet or so up is a sandy, east-facing slope above the Four Mile trail (on the right, heading up the trail). Carefully climb up the slope, taking responsibility for your own safety. About 20-30 feet up is the old Four Mile Trail. Stay on the old trail, which switchbacks up to the top of a ridge after 200 feet or so. The trail is covered with several inches of pine cones and needles, but is clearly visible and is free of brush on this segment of the trail. At the top of the ridge, on your right as you head up (north) is the top of a rock wall and Agassiz Column. It's surrounded by Manzanita brush and a few fir trees.

The old Four Mile Trail continues up, but becomes thickly overgrown after Agassiz Column. Carefully retrace your steps back down to the new Four Mile Trail after viewing the Valley and Agassiz Column.

The most difficult part is climbing up the slope between the new and old Four Mile Trail. It's sandy and you need to hold on to branches of trees and brush to head up or down. Be careful and remember safety is your own responsibility.

Thank you!

PostPosted: Mon Jul 26, 2010 10:52 pm
by dfrost7
I found this site searching for the column. Thank you for your information.

PostPosted: Tue Jul 27, 2010 6:57 am
by bill-e-g
Very cool. Thanks!!!! Have to check it out next time on 4 mile.

There are other columns further up which can be found by
hiking the GP water works "trail".

Here's one:

There also used to be a trail right to Moran Point.