Mount Dana

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Mount Dana
Mount Dana 2008 edit.JPG
Mount Dana as seen from the west. The hike to the top goes up this face.
Highest point
Elevation13,061 ft (3,981 m)  NAVD 88[1]
Prominence2,417 ft (737 m) [2]
Parent peakMount Lyell[3]
ListingCalifornia highest major peaks 18th
Coordinates37°54′00″N 119°13′16″W / 37.899901553°N 119.2210926°W / 37.899901553; -119.2210926Coordinates: 37°54′00″N 119°13′16″W / 37.899901553°N 119.2210926°W / 37.899901553; -119.2210926[1]
LocationMono / Tuolumne counties, California, U.S.
Parent rangeSierra Nevada
Topo mapUSGS Mount Dana
Age of rockCretaceous
Mountain typeMetamorphic rock
First ascentJune 28, 1863 by Whitney, Brewer, and Hoffmann[4]
Easiest routeHike, class 1[5]

Mount Dana is a mountain in the U.S. state of California. Its summit marks the eastern boundary of Yosemite National Park and the western boundary of the Ansel Adams Wilderness. At an elevation of 13,061 feet (3,981 m), it is the second highest mountain in Yosemite (after Mount Lyell), and the northernmost summit in the Sierra Nevada which is over 13,000 feet (3,962.4 m) in elevation. Mount Dana is the highest peak in Yosemite that is a simple hike to the summit. The mountain is named in honor of James Dwight Dana, who was a professor of natural history and geology at Yale.[6]

Mount Dana is composed of prebatholithic rock that is mostly reddish metamorphic rock, which was composed by metavolcanics of surfacing magma from the Mesozoic Era.[7][8]

Mount Dana's northern face includes a small, receding glacier known as the Dana Glacier. The Dana Meadows lie at the foot of the mountain. From the top, lakes throughout Dana Meadows, Mono Lake, Tioga Peak and many other mountains are in view.


From the Tioga Pass Road there are many easy routes. (class 1), available that lead to the summit along the mountain's western or southern slopes. These routes rise 3,108 feet (947 m) in elevation in 2.9 miles (4.7 km), (a 20.3% average grade). The trail is not frequently maintained.

Mount Dana Topographic Map

There is a clearly marked path leading just above tree line. After topping a ridge, a set of use-paths and ducked routes are present, with the main path running along the easterly ridgeline. Additionally, numerous alternate trail segments begin and end at various points on the southwestern face, making parts of this hike a difficult class 2. The path segments turn into scree toward the summit, where a shallow stone-walled shelter and register are found. Significant snow fields on the mountain slopes can exist late into the summer season. Total round trip hiking time can be anywhere between 3 and 12 hours depending many factors, such as acclimatization to elevation.

After reaching a plateau above the tree line, almost all vegetation disappears with the exception of lichen and a few high alpine Sky Pilot (Polemonium eximium). Fauna are largely limited to spiders and insects, such as black/brown grasshoppers. The only mammals other than humans are marmots and American Pikas which are lagomorphs related to rabbits.

Thunderstorms are known to arise suddenly, making the rocks slippery, and the hiking dangerous year round.

Even experienced hikers can face altitude sickness, due to the high elevation.[9]

Panoramic Photograph of Mount Dana, Yosemite National Park taken from Tioga Pass Park Entrance
The view from the summit encompasses much of Yosemite National Park and Mono Lake


  1. ^ a b "Mount Dana". NGS data sheet. U.S. National Geodetic Survey.
  2. ^ "Mount Dana, California". Retrieved 2009-08-05. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  3. ^ "Mount Dana". Retrieved 2012-04-01.
  4. ^ Farquhar, Francis P. (March 1925). "Exploration of the Sierra Nevada". California Historical Society Quarterly. 4 (1): 3–58.
  5. ^ Secor, R.J. (2009). The High Sierra Peaks, Passes, and Trails (3rd ed.). Seattle: The Mountaineers. pp. 397f. ISBN 9780898869712.
  6. ^ Browning, Peter (1986). Place Names of the Sierra Nevada. Berkeley: Wilderness Press. p. 51. ISBN 0899971199.
  7. ^ "America's Volcanic Past - Yosemite National Park". USGS/Cascades Volcano Observatory. September 20, 2002. Archived from the original on May 16, 2006. Retrieved July 11, 2006. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  8. ^ "Biology 314 — Sierra Nevada". Sonoma State University. pp. 69–94. Retrieved 2006-07-08. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  9. ^ Cymerman, A; Rock, PB. "Medical Problems in High Mountain Environments. A Handbook for Medical Officers". USARIEM-TN94-2. US Army Research Inst. of Environmental Medicine Thermal and Mountain Medicine Division Technical Report. Archived from the original on 2009-04-23. Retrieved 2009-03-05. Cite journal requires |journal= (help)CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)

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