Convoluted Bliss

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August 3-10, 2017
Surrounding the massive Merced River Drainage in southern Yosemite are three subranges of the Sierra Nevada: the Cathedral Range, Isberg Divide, and Clark Range. When combined, these three ranges form a gigantic arc around the drainage. Several years ago, some climbers got the idea to combine these ranges into a grand traverse along their main ridges. This traverse had been attempted several times, but was never completed for various reasons including terrain and accumulated fatigue. In 2015, Mason and I attempted the first ascent of this traverse, making it less than one third of the way through due to poor snow conditions and physical inability to continue traversing. In 2017 after much more preparation, Toshi, Sean, and I headed back out, completing the traverse, which I then named Convoluted Bliss, over 8 days. Requiring over 40 miles of alpine ridges and 51 peaks, Convoluted Bliss is (at the time of writing) the longest completed alpine ridge traverse in the Sierra Nevada as well as the entire United States. At the time of writing, Convoluted Bliss remains the most physically demanding route I have completed in my lifetime.






















The route design was simple. The approach began in Tuolumne Meadows and followed well maintained trails for 9 miles over Tuolumne Pass and up to Vogelsang Pass. From there, we would begin traversing, gaining the crest of the Cathedral Range, following it to the Isberg Divide beginning at Rodgers Peak, and then the Clark Range beginning at Triple Divide Peak. At the end of the Clark Range, we would finish the traverse portion with a 3,500 ft descent into Little Yosemite Valley. From there began the deproach, a 19 mile 3,790 ft gain march back up and over Tuolumne Pass and into Tuolumne Meadows on maintained trails.


Convoluted Bliss seen from an EOSDIS satellite on August 8, 2017 (photo credit: NASA)





















The table below includes every peak (traversing clockwise from north) on Convoluted Bliss. For unnamed peaks, I have dubbed names for them which are derived from names of nearby lakes and other geographical features. These dubbed names are in quotes. Peaks without quotes are either officially named by the USGS or were found named by previous parties who had written them in summit registers.
OrderPeakElevationTopographic ProminenceSummit Coordinates (lat/lon)
1"Emeric Peak"11,152 ft135 ft37.7728, -119.3575
2Vogelsang Peak11,493 ft833 ft37.7773, -119.3496
3Fletcher South11,481 ft180 ft37.7865, -119.3352
4Fletcher Peak11,410 ft150 ft37.7919, -119.3355
5"Townsley Peak"11,850 ft190 ft37.7830, -119.3261
6Parsons Peak12,147 ft624 ft37.7770, -119.3077
7"Simmons Sidewalk"12,156 ft235 ft37.7662, -119.2942
8Simmons Peak12,497 ft397 ft37.7607, -119.2943
9"Staircase Peak"12,540 ft360 ft37.7552, -119.2896
10Andevetom Mountain12,499 ft220 ft37.7492, -119.2908
11Estel Tower III12,461 ft100 ft37.7452, -119.2876
12Mt. Maclure12,900 ft480 ft37.7436, -119.2805
13Mt. Lyell13,114 ft1,927 ft37.7393, -119.2716
14"Lyell Spire"12,868 ft100 ft37.7394, -119.2685
15Ragged Ridge12,561 ft140 ft37.7327, -119.2608
16"Marie Peak"12,345 ft100 ft37.7288, -119.2597
17Rodgers Peak12,978 ft758 ft37.7250, -119.2576
18"Hailstorm Peak"12,573 ft353 ft37.7147, -119.2584
19Electra Peak12,442 ft342 ft37.7051, -119.2602
20"Loose Ridge Peak"11,797 ft150 ft37.7003, -119.2714
21"Frozen Night Peak"11,838 ft235 ft37.6999, -119.2772
22Mt. Ansel Adams11,780 ft200 ft37.6979, -119.2816
23Carpe Diem Peak11,994 ft334 ft37.6922, -119.2801
24"Little Foerster Peak"11,861 ft210 ft37.6905, -119.2849
25Foerster Peak12,057 ft477 ft37.6900, -119.2908
26"Harriet Peak"11,505 ft150 ft37.6816, -119.2942
27"Bench Peak"11,535 ft280 ft37.6776, -119.2911
28Long Mountain11,502 ft402 ft37.6672, -119.2951
29Blush Peak11,420 ft360 ft37.6654, -119.3050
30Isberg Peak10,996 ft256 ft37.6509, -119.3240
31"Turner Peak"10,790 ft170 ft37.6408, -119.3250
32Post Peak11,009 ft508 ft37.6280, -119.3280
33"Porphyry Peak"10,880 ft140 ft37.6319, -119.3300
34"Walton Peak"11,107 ft245 ft37.6268, -119.3541
35"Little Divide Peak"11,536 ft130 ft37.6327, -119.3665
36Triple Divide Peak11,611 ft671 ft37.6317, -119.3702
37"Giant Fist Peak"11,588 ft225 ft37.6354, -119.3864
38Merced Peak11,726 ft1,226 ft37.6349, -119.3946
39Ottoway Peak11,500 ft280 ft37.6422, -119.3933
40"Red Devil Peak"11,354 ft120 ft37.6483, -119.4008
41Red Peak11,699 ft559 ft37.6538, -119.4093
42"Snowpatch Peak"11,337 ft262 ft37.6624, -119.4087
43"Red Devil Spur"11,371 ft351 ft37.6669, -119.4050
44"Grayling Peak"11,325 ft200 ft37.6663, -119.4142
45Gray Peak11,573 ft593 ft37.6736, -119.4186
46"Adair Peak"11,278 ft170 ft37.6798, -119.4164
47"Blocky Ridge Peak"11,241 ft200 ft37.6861, -119.4164
48"Northcliff Peak"11,173 ft175 ft37.6912, -119.4192
49Mt. Clark11,522 ft542 ft37.6963, -119.4285
50"Tunnel Rock Peak"10,987 ft155 ft37.7034, -119.4257
51Quartzite Peak10,440 ft140 ft37.7158, -119.4254

Stats
Approach (Tuolumne Meadows to Vogelsang Pass): 9 miles    2,200 ft gain
Traverse (bare minimum, not including leaving ridge to camp, get water, etc): 40.1 miles    20,380 ft/ 24,060 ft gain/loss
Traverse (our stats, including leaving ridge to camp, get water, etc): 41.5 miles    21,230 ft/ 24,910 ft gain/loss
Deproach (Little Yosemite Valley to Tuolumne Meadows): 19 miles    3,790 ft gain
Total (bare minimum, not including leaving ridge to camp, get water, etc): 68.1 miles    26,380 ft gain/loss
Total (our stats, including leaving ridge to camp, get water, etc): 69.5 miles    27,220 ft gain/loss

Tuolumne Meadows
Vogelsang Pass
Mt. Lyell vicinity
Mt. Lyell specific
Post Peak Pass vicinity
Clark Range
Triple Divide Peak specific
Mt. Clark specific
Little Yosemite Valley

Peakbagger Pages
Vogelsang Peak
Fletcher South
Fletcher Peak
Townsley Peak
Parsons Peak
Simmons Peak
Andevetom Mountain
Estel Tower III
Mt. Maclure
Mt. Lyell
Rodgers Peak
Electra Peak
Mt. Ansel Adams
Foerster Peak
Long Mountain
Isberg Peak
Post Peak
Triple Divide Peak
Merced Peak
Ottoway Peak
Red Peak
Gray Peak
Mt. Clark

Summitpost Pages
Vogelsang Peak
Fletcher Peak
Parsons Peak
Simmons Peak
Mt. Maclure
Mt. Lyell
Rodgers Peak
Electra Peak
Mt. Ansel Adams
Foerster Peak
Merced Peak
Red Peak
Gray Peak
Mt. Clark

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