How about another adventure along the eastern boundary of Yosemite National Park? With my two hiking partners Clem Bingham and Fred Cochran we decided to challenge ourselves into hiking (climbing) to the summit of Ragged Peak. After researching the topo map, a departure from the Lambert Dome parking area off of Tioga Pass Road should be the easiest trailhead at 8,590 feet.
We followed the Dog Lake Trail heading north and within 20 minutes we arrived at the first junction - Lambert Dome Trail. We ignored this junction and continued following our trail east into a large meadow. Delany Creek flows through this meadow which is the main run off from the mountains to the east. This alpine meadow is surrounded by forest with a back drop of peak 10,410 and the 12,057 feet of White Mountain off in the distance. No hiking boot removal today, the creek was low and we boulder hopped across.
Once again back to following the trail into the thick forest as it skirts around Mount 10,410. As we broke out of the thick tree cover we have another meadow to cross. This time we’ll follow the trail until it crosses Dingley Creek. This is the location for us to depart from the trail and started hiking west toward an elevated saddle. This saddle should lead us into a tapered canyon that follows directly toward Ragged Peak. Directly in front of us is the large boulder (20 feet in diameter) resting in this canyons center. At this point we’ll start climbing south toward the peak.
If you prefer mountain climbing, the alternate route would be to follow the trail that crosses Dingley Creek and hike around Ragged Peak toward Young Lakes. This north face is a class four to five climb. Our choice will be to depart from the trail and hike the saddle route which will be a class two except for the last 30 feet to the summit.
Now for our finial push, and are we in for a surprise? This loose gravel is properly called loose scree. I called it liquid gravel! For every two steps forward I slid back one. Needless to say we forged a few extra switch back trails for the next 30 minutes.
Finally we are only 30 feet from the summit on a nice flat shelf with a few setting rocks. At this point we took our lunch break and just enjoyed the distant views. Looking toward the east we could see Tioga Pass Road, above that are the towering centennials of Cathedral Peak.
This last 30 feet will require the use of hand-holds but even a novice could accomplish this final push. The boulders were positioned for easy foot and hand holds. Once at the summit I was impressed with the 360 degree views at 10,912 feet. Even though there are mountains surrounding me much higher, I still felt that inner feeling of accomplishment when reaching the top. A week later we climbed Mount White the tall peak to the east at 12,057 feet - now this peak is for another another future story?
Ragged Peak was first climbed in 1863 by William Brewer and Charles Hoffman. The Wheeler survey groups named Ragged Peak during the 1878-79 outing.
Keep in mind the Ragged Peak hike will be rated strenuous and the difficulty will be the first and last half miles. Hiking time was around three hours from the trailhead and less time on the return. For convince we retraced our footsteps back to the trailhead. Don’t forget this memorable hike for the late spring or summer season.