Ascent of Tehipite Dome on 2018-11-05

Climber: Rafee Memon

Others in Party:Daria Malin
----Only Party on Mountain
Date:Monday, November 5, 2018
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
Peak:Tehipite Dome
    Elevation:7708 ft / 2349 m

Ascent Trip Report

The hiking season was shaping up to last far longer than I could've wished for. I was prepared for my mid-October ascent of Tower Peak to be the year's final peak, especially considering the several inches of snow that we contended with on the ascent. But with the Indian summer, I felt the urge to capitalize on the opportunity to bag a few more peaks, despite having only 10-11 hours of daylight available. I was putting off Tehipite Dome to avoid the low elevation in the heat of the summer, but with Daria in the west, it was the perfect opportunity to tackle it and have company for what would largely be a lengthy and boring stroll through the forest.

I started the trip off with a great outing to Black Hawk Mountain with Ayelet, then the tedious drive from Sonora Pass to Fresno. I will never stop being envious of the ease of north-south travel on the east side. I slept in on Sunday even with an extra hour from switching from daylight to standard time. I hung out at my motel for the day watching football, eating, and studying the route to Tehipite. Daria arrived around 9:30pm and we made our final preparations. We decided to get up at 2am and make the two-hour drive to the Rancheria Trailhead. We planned to also bag Spanish Mountain on the return from Tehipite if time and daylight allowed.

We left from the Rancheria Trailhead just before 5am. The trail was very enjoyable to start off: easy to follow with very little ups and downs. We powered through the darkness by discussing our friend Jim's recent mountain lion encounter near the Marvin Pass Trailhead on his way to Whaleback, not far away as the crow flies. I would like to think this had the effect of scaring away any mountain lions thinking of stalking us. The sun rose an hour and a half later, and we cruised past Johnson's Cow Camp and into the national park. Almost immediately after crossing the park boundary, the trail took a huge turn for the worse. The trail was overgrown and impossible to follow in spots, and we were forced to bushwhack through thick brush to continue in the right direction. Large portions of the forest were charred from the Tehipite Fire some years ago. Luckily, this lasted for only a couple miles, and we arrived at the ridge where the off-trail portion begins.

We mostly tried to follow the 7,600ft contour as our beta suggested until we reached one of the final ridges, where dipping down and up to an obvious saddle seemed easier. Upon reaching the last ridge, we were suddenly standing at the edge of the canyon, and we had our first view of Tehipite Dome after nearly six hours in the forest. We stopped for photos and continued down the ridge to the dome. The ridge drops steeply to Tehipite Valley 3,500ft below, but, while it gave me pause, I felt secure -- until we reached the crux. We went right off the boulder below the sloping slab, and I made the exposed move with surprising ease (the same cannot be said for the descent). Daria continued up the slab without much thought at all, but it took me a few minutes to gain enough confidence in my shoes to make the step up and walk up the low-angle slab. From there it was a short walk to the summit, and we arrived just after 11am. There was some low-hanging smoke in the canyon from several controlled burns, but the views were nothing short of incredible. We found many of the usual suspects in the summit register. One entry claimed to be from a day hike of Tunemah, Tehipite, and Spanish -- something I would want maximum daylight to attempt!

We rested for nearly an hour before starting the descent. After some encouragement from Daria, I was able to easily walk down the slab and then slowly but carefully make the exposed scramble move out of the crux. We returned to the trail and decided that we would head to Spanish if we reached the cutoff before 3pm. Progress did not come as quickly as we had hoped. We again got lost in a miserable bushwhack near the park boundary. At one point, I walked across a sequence of logs that seemed to spare us from some of the worst of it, but I slipped and fell about four feet, badly hitting my shin and missing my face by mere inches. By that point, we estimated that we would reach the cutoff at 3:30pm and summit well after sunset, so we decided to call it off and head back to the trailhead. The final miles dragged on, but I was motivated by getting back to Fresno in time to have a proper dinner.

We returned to the trailhead at 6:30pm and were back in Fresno around 8:45pm, just in time to stop by Whole Foods and raid the hot bar. We ate in the car, and I dropped Daria off at her car before making the long drive across the valley back to the Bay, which was enjoyable with the light traffic. I stopped to nap for an hour on one of the farm roads outside of Los Banos on 152, and I was back at my apartment around 2am.
Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:6021 ft / 1835 m
    Total Elevation Loss:6021 ft / 1835 m
    Round-Trip Distance:28.9 mi / 46.5 km
    Grade/Class:Class 3
    Route Conditions:
Maintained Trail, Unmaintained Trail, Open Country, Bushwhack, Exposed Scramble
    Weather:Pleasant, Calm, Clear
A little smoky
Ascent Statistics
    Gain on way in:3058 ft / 932 m
        Gain Breakdown:Net: 95 ft / 29 m; Extra: 2963 ft / 903m
    Loss on way in:2963 ft / 903 m
    Distance:14.7 mi / 23.7 km
    Route:North Ridge
    Start Trailhead:Rancheria TH  7613 ft / 2320 m
    Time:6 Hours 13 Minutes
Descent Statistics
    Loss on way out:3058 ft / 932 m
        Loss Breakdown:Net: 95 ft / 29 m; Extra: 2963 ft / 903m
    Gain on way out:2963 ft / 903 m
    Distance:14.2 mi / 22.9 km
    Route:North Ridge
    End Trailhead:Rancheria TH  7613 ft / 2320 m
    Time:6 Hours 26 Minutes
GPS Data for Ascent/Trip

 GPS Waypoints - Hover or click to see name and lat/long
Peaks:  climbed and  unclimbed by Rafee Memon
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Note: GPS Tracks may not be accurate, and may not show the best route. Do not follow this route blindly. Conditions change frequently. Use of a GPS unit in the outdoors, even with a pre-loaded track, is no substitute for experience and good judgment. accepts NO responsibility or liability from use of this data.

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