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Mt Dana via Dana Couloir - Vertical Nomads

Mt Dana via Dana Couloir

Mt Dana via Dana Couloir

Ice, Snow 1200′, Grade III
Sierra Nevada/ Mono County, California
13,061 ft (3,981 m)


Somewhere between the bottom of the climb and the summit is the answer to the mystery why we climb.
~ Greg Child


Mt Dana’s monolithic North East Face.
Alpine ice/neve filled Dana Couloir on the left and snow filled Solstice Couloir on the right


In July 2017, Ross and I were training to climb Mt Rainier via Kautz Glacier and were looking for a few practices climbs in the Sierra Nevada. Due to its convenient location in the Eastern Sierras, the existence of an ice chute and a near 14,000 feet altitude, Mt Dana turned out to be the perfect training ground. Along with it being a good training climb, I personally also wanted to summit Mt Dana as I had to turn around on Mt Dana during our last attempt on the mountain because of a poorly planned climb.

Ross and I met up early on Saturday at the Whoa Nellie Deli. After a filling breakfast, we drove into Yosemite National Park and started climbing about midday. The hike to the base of Dana couloir is a short one but with the hot weather, it took us longer than we thought, to make it to the base. We decided to set up camp on Dana glacier where we rested and hydrated. Next morning we got up at first light, packed up camp, as we were planning on going up and over the mountain with all our gear. The bergshrund at the base of the couloir was easy to cross. The couloir itself had good firm snow and neve but hardly any ice. We made it to the top of the couloir in less than an hour and to the summit in another hour. We then descended down the west slope of the mountain, back to our car and then headed straight to June Lake Brewery for post-summit IPAs.

Climbing Mt Dana via the Dana Couloir was a great training climb and helped us understand the importance of a light pack! 


Technical Gear

1 snow picket (not needed)
4 ice screws (not needed)
4 alpine draws (not needed)
1 v thread tool (not needed)
1 ice tool per person (not needed)
30m rope (not needed)
1 standard glacier travel kit per person (not needed)
2 dyneema runners (240 cm) (not needed)
20 ft cordelette (6mm) (not needed)

1 ice axe per person (needed)
1 hiking pole per person (needed)


A dry, ice-free Lee Vining Canyon, visible from Tioga pass. A sad sight for all ice climbers

Entering Yosemite National Park via the Tioga Pass

Ross and I with the beautiful, Dana Lake behind us


Home on Dana glacier 


Ross walking back over towards camp with Dana Lake and Dana plateau visible in the distance


Selfie @Dana Couloir


Moving on up the Dana Couloir

Summit shot, Mt Dana, 13,061 ft (3,981 m)


Post summit IPAs @ June Lake Brewery


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