Elevation: 12,349 ft
GPS: 37.967, -119.321 Google Map · Climbing Area Map
Page Views: 69,643 total · 494/month
Shared By: M. Morley on Jun 24, 2007
Admins: M. Morley, Adam Stackhouse, Salamanizer suchoski, Justin Johnsen, Vicki Schwantes
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Access Issue: Yosemite National Park climbing closures and conditions Details


Mt. Conness (named after former California senator John Conness) straddles Yosemite National Park and Inyo National Forest, forming the eastern border of the Park. It is the third highest peak in Yosemite National Park (first is Mt. Lyell at 13,114 ft, second is Mt. Dana at 13,061 ft). The Conness Glacier lies to the east.

Getting There

The most direct way to approach both the North Ridge and West Ridge routes is from the trailhead at Saddlebag Lake (10,060'). A longer approach from Tuolumne Meadows to Young Lakes is also possible. Allow a minimum of 2 hours for the approach.

4 Total Climbs

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Classic Climbing Routes at Mt. Conness

Mountain Project's determination of the classic, most popular, highest rated climbing routes in this area.
Easy 5th 1+ 3 I 5 M 1c
North Ridge
Trad, Alpine
5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b
West Ridge
Trad, Alpine 10 pitches
5.10c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b
South West Face (Harding) Route
Trad, Alpine 9 pitches
Route Name Location Star Rating Difficulty Date
North Ridge
Easy 5th 1+ 3 I 5 M 1c Trad, Alpine
West Ridge
5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b Trad, Alpine 10 pitches
South West Face (Harding) R…
5.10c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b Trad, Alpine 9 pitches
More Classic Climbs in Mt. Conness »

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Luke Stefurak
Seattle, WA
Luke Stefurak   Seattle, WA
Approach beta from Sawmill Campground at Saddlebag Lake can be found here:
dreaminvertical.com/?p=1793 Sep 21, 2009
Laine Christman
Reno, NV
Laine Christman   Reno, NV
I found Stefurak's beta useful, however, we found that we had to hike at least 5-10 mins downhill, south of the plateau before we found the correct descent gully to the base of the SW face/ W ridge. The cairn marking the trail down the gully was not visible until we were directly on top of it. Sep 6, 2011
Laine has a great point. Luke's beta is spot on until the end. I don't believe there is any reason to go all the way to the cemented Geo Survey windbreaks. The correct descent is just to the right of the left snowbank in this photo.

On the sandy plateau, continue towards Conness dropping slightly. There are a couple of bivy windbreaks well lower than the high shoulder with the Geo Survey ones. From these, drop into the sandy wash and then back up to the area between the two snowbanks in the photo above tending toward the left notches. Sep 6, 2011
Approach details also in the Comments on the MP West Ridge page.

GPX file containing key latitude/longitude waypoints and some useful tracks for approach is linked from this page . Aug 8, 2013
Nick M
Driggs, ID
Nick M   Driggs, ID
My recommendation for people who don't hate hiking and love the mountains beyond just the climbing route to be done. Appreciation for views, route finding, and off-trail sub-alpine and alpine travel required.

I'm much more fond of approaching Conness from the South (Lembert Dome). The standard Saddlebag approach basically summits the mountain, and then descends down to you're route. This felt a bit silly.

Approaching from Lembert Dome is longer distance, but much less elevation. 5-ish miles on trail lead you to the incredibly beautiful Young Lake, from which you can drool, froth, and do whatever else you do when confronted with the head-on view of Conness' South Face, framed by a sub-alpine lake. This perspective on the approach makes this method, to me, 100x more enjoyable than Saddlebag. From here, head cross-country through the forest, aiming at Conness. Travel is fairly easy as far as off-trail goes, as vegetation is sparse in those forests. A map and compass bearing helps, but it's kinda hard to miss that mountain. Walk straight up to the South Face or West Ridge, and climb it! Descending Saddlebag to a stashed car could make for a really cool, aesthetic day of travel in the mountains.
Aug 21, 2014
Peter Valchev
Truckee, CA
Peter Valchev   Truckee, CA
Here's another photo of the approach, showing the rough location of the descent gully with respect to where you hit the summit plateau from the "notch" (in Luke's description). At the end of July, the climb didn't get into the sun until 10am - I wouldn't rush to get there early!

Aug 7, 2015
Have there been any notable FAs on the headwall of Conness besides the Harding route? I'm surprised there aren't a plethora of other routes. Oct 20, 2018