Dee and I decided to spend part of our Labor Day weekend climbing alpine routes in the Tuolumne. Judging by the number of cars parked at all the popular rock climbing areas that we observed on the drive out Sunday this was a good decision. There must have been a dozen cars at Fairview alone and Daff Dome looked like an anthill. Packed.
Saturday we climbed the North Ridge of Conness. This is just about as much fun as it gets. Slide has put out an outstanding trip report which we followed except we didn't stay far enough right on the hike in. We paid for that one by having to go back down to get to the upper tarn below the East Spur off the North Ridge. I won't fill in all the details since the Slide report is very good. We dropped down the backside of the second tower using two rappel points with rings that are there. Secor says this down climb is supposed to be 5.6. Whatever. We then headed back up and left towards the ridge. There are several options here and it probably goes about third class thirty to fifty feet or so to the right. To go there would be a mistake because the cruise right on the edge or as close as one can get is what this route is all about. Grabbing the very edge of the ridge and occasionally shooting a "lookypeekysee" over the edge is a huge charge. Yeow. That is a big drop. We summitted early afternoon and headed down the plateau for the hike out. The Slide report indicates a short cut down a dry waterfall. We saw two parties head out onto the trail cutting across the plateau. One party took a hard left turn about half way across and went to the edge and disappeared! The second party seemed to head straight across and go to the edge and disappeared also! We thought they might be executing some sort of "lemming maneuver". At any rate we never found any of the short cuts and eventually wound our way to the gap between Conness and White Mountain. If anyone has any information about these short cuts off the plateau we would be interested in them.
Sunday we headed in to climb Tresidder Peak. It looks pretty cool from the Cathedral Lakes Trail. We hiked up the Cathedral Lakes trail past the peak und then headed up the sloping slabs to the broad pass between Tresidder and the Columbia Finger. We then headed back north to the north arete on Tresidder. It is a good deal shorter than it looks. We headed up a slot on the west side past a chockstone to a large sloping ledge. This was about 100 feet. The slot was harder than it looked. We next went around the east side and climbed a short 5.5 crack up to some blocky ledges and then to the top. This pitch was about 50 feet. Except for the rope drag the whole thing could be done in one pitch. The summit has several slings for rappelling around it. We added one since it looked like the mice had been chomping on one of the slings there. The rappel goes straight down the west face of the South Summit and is about 75/80 feet. We had a 60 meter rope and there was plenty left over. We decided to hike back to the trail by cutting north under Tresidder above the cliff band and then dropping down to the trail. This is not recommended. It is loose and uninteresting. Going back to the pass between Tresidder and Columbia Finger is an easy and pleasant walk and whatever little time is saved by the short cut is more than made up for in aggravation.
> If anyone has any information about these short cuts off the > plateau we would be interested in them.
The 2 parties you saw were heading down to the East Ridge. Head across to the north east corner of the plateau. There's a faint use trail leading to the ridge, but if you can't see the trail, you can hug the edge of the plateau looking over the edge until you run into it. From there you descend the East Ridge. From the bottom of the ridge, go east/southeast across a flat spot, you're north/northeast of Alpine Lake here. A little farther and you run into the spot where we went down the dry waterfall (not recommended in early season!)