Mariposa County High Point Trip Report

Parsons Peak Ridge

Date: September 2, 2000
Author: Peter Maurer

An attempt to bag Mt Lyell, Tuolumne County's highpoint and the highest point in Yosemite Nat'l Park at 13,114', was aborted by the season's first winter storm. After a 10 mile hike up Lyell Canyon to base camp in alternating rain and sleet the day before, the strong winds, cloud shrouded peak, and snowy ledges on the north facing, class 3 approach led us to agree that with all the beautiful days in the Sierra, Mt Lyell could wait for another day.

But it seemed a shame to be so close to so many county highpoints, and not get any, so we scrambled several miles over tallus slopes, around tarns at the base of several 12 - 13,000-foot peaks to the base of Parsons Peak. The lower elevation, south facing approach, and class 2 rating made this do-able, and we reached the summit late that afternoon. Half Dome and other landmarks to the west were still hidden by clouds but views to the south and east, including snow capped White Mountain in Mono County, could be seen.

We walked the obligatory 300 yards northwest of the summit to the approximate boundary of Mariposa County, called it good, and scurried on down the boulder-strewn slope to get out of the icy wind. Made it back to base camp just before dark, and woke up the following morning to beautiful weather, but the need to hike on out and back to reality. Mt Lyell awaits us next summer.