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Hiking Mount Conness (Help)

Hiking, backpacking, running, biking, climbing, rafting, and other human-powered activities in Yosemite National Park

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Hiking Mount Conness (Help)

Postby whitebearsox23 » Sat Sep 09, 2017 6:11 pm

Hi everyone,

I am hoping to take my family hiking to Mount Conness sometime next year. Long story short - the mountain is named after my great, great, great uncle and has been a destination for my family for quite some time!

We are from Northern Illinois (I currently live in California) and I am hoping to have my family come out next year to tackle this adventure. None of us have climbed a mountain before, but have done numerous hikes throughout the Midwest. We are an active group of people. However, is this hike too much of a challenge for novice hikers? I have done my research on the hike and it sounds like it is roughly a 8-mile hike (round trip) from Saddleback Lake that takes 9 hours or so.

As novice hikers, is this hike too challenging? I noticed there is scrambling at the end to get to the summit - is it pretty intense? Would we be relatively safe? I would love all of the helpful hints and advice that anyone can offer.

Thank you!

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Re: Hiking Mount Conness (Help)

Postby balzaccom » Sun Sep 10, 2017 7:02 am

I climbed Conness about 45 years ago, but I don't imagine it has changed much.

We started from Middle Young Lake and contoured around to the bowl due South of the peak. There's a shallow lake there, and we then followed that valley up as it curves slightly to the Northwest towards the peak. All of this is very simple hiking, simply putting one foot in front of the other. It's steep, but there's absolutely no problem following the route or fear of falling. Some of our group stayed in the snowfield below the summit instead of continuing.

Once you get to the final ridge (75-100 feet?) the route turns into a narrow (but as I recall relatively flat) band of rock about three feet wide. On either side is a near vertical drop...but on the narrowest part there is no need for hands here, and it really isn't a difficult scramble. You can almost just walk on the ridge to the summit.

But the exposure is quite impressive. If the route were surrounded by flat ground, nobody would mention it. But since on either side is a vertical drop of hundreds, if not a thousand, feet, it does get your complete attention. It's a question of calm and cool collection, rather than mountaineering skill and technique.

One cool thing to note on the North side is the bergschrund, where the glacier is pulling down and away from the cliff, leaving an impressive crevasse.
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