Clouds Rest, Yosemite

Last weekend, my friends and I embarked on one of the best adventures I’ve ever experienced- we hiked nearly 30 miles total, and climbed an equivalent of over 200 flights of stairs to reach the summit of Clouds Rest. Half Dome was our first choice, but honestly I’m so glad we ended up hiking Clouds Rest instead. The views of Half Dome from the top were incredible, and it was the perfect hike to do as a warm-up to Half Dome in the future. It’s classified as a “Difficult 8/10” on the list of trails in Yosemite, and for good reason:

Clouds Rest Specs:
Distance: 14.5 miles round trip
Elevation: 9,926 feet
Elevation gain: 1,775 feet
Time: Plan on at least 4 hours without backpacks or 6-7 with backpacking gear
Trail details: First 1.5 miles are a nice warm-up as you approach Sunrise Lakes. From there, the elevation picks up and you climb 1,500 feet over the next 4.5 miles. Uphill switchbacks, climbing over rocks, and taking lunge-like steps make it necessary to stop quite a bit to rest and hydrate. From there, the route transforms into a ridgeline and you’re welcomed with stunning views of Little Yosemite Valley below. As you start to approach the summit, the final stretch is a 500-foot climb to the top! Take it all in and look down at Half Dome (8,836 ft.) from the top of Clouds Rest (9,926 ft.)

Still can’t believe how lucky I was to have my first backpacking trip be in Yosemite and I’m glad I have a great group of friends to go on adventures with! We talked our way out of (almost) getting a ticket from Ranger Reidhead, and played Presidents and Assholes until we ran out of moonshine, scotch, and Tang (amazing by the way). We didn’t run into any bears, and no one fell into their poop holes! It was a successful weekend on all fronts and I can’t wait for our next backpacking trip 🙂 And finally, I can’t take all the credit for the amazing photos you’re about to see, so a special thanks to Chris, Amanda, Tyler, and David for letting me use some of your photos in this post!

DSC_0653 IMG_5313 DSC_0658 IMG_5312 IMG_5232IMG_5242 DSC_0692DSC_0725 IMG_5315Almost at the top! The sign marked the point right before the last 500 foot climb to the summit.
IMG_5317DSC_0729This ridge line made us all a little nervous since it was a cliff on both sides of us.
IMG_5294We found several campers set up at the top who were a little more daring than we were. We agreed that our next trip to Clouds Rest we would definitely stay on the Summit since this is one of the only summits in Yosemite that you’re allowed to camp on.
IMG_5324 DSC_0755Half Dome!
DSC_0793Me thinking about the day I finally climb Half Dome 🙂
DSC_0799We made it to the top with plenty of time to hang out before watching the sun go down behind Half Dome. Too amazing for words.
DSC_0773 IMG_5246My new Danner boots took a little long to break in, but they will be perfect for my next backpacking trip 🙂
IMG_5320 DSC_0762If you find a golf club at the peak of a mountain, you better believe I’m going to take some pictures with it 🙂
IMG_5321 DSC_0764DSC_0748DSC_0852Since we set up camp right below the summit, Tyler and Amanda woke up early to go catch the sunrise.  DSC_0861DSC_0701Our first campsite!
IMG_5280Is it even a backpacking trip without a campfire?
DSC_0877Saturday morning we made our way back down the mountain with plans of setting up camp near the lakes. It was warm enough to jump in and wash some of the stink off 🙂
DSC_0901Our second campsite!
DSC_0879Pretty nice temporary backyard for the weekend
DSC_0906Spaghetti for dinner!
IMG_5297DSC_0915 DSC_0940IMG_5325The very end of our hike. Bittersweet, but we felt so accomplished!
DSC_0955We stopped at Tenaya Lake before heading home
DSC_0969 DSC_0959So blue and so pretty. It was the perfect way to end our weekend!


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