13,114 ft / 3,997 m

#173 in California

#1,038 in United States


1,894 ft / 577 m

#184 in California

#1,065 in United States


18 summits

#322 in California

#1,693 in United States

Top climbing months

July   45%

September  15%

June   15%

Most climbed route

Lyell Glacier

28.4 mi • 3,898 ft gain


  • Mount Lyell is the highest point in Yosemite National Park.
  • Located at the southeast end of the Cathedral Range, 1.2 miles northwest of Rodgers Peak.
  • The peak has the largest glacier in Yosemite, Lyell Glacier.
  • The most common approach to Mount Lyell is from Tuolumne Meadows on a highly traveled section of the John Muir Trail. The round trip is approximately 25 miles and involves 4,500 feet of elevation gain.
  • The hike is easy from Tuolumne Meadows, following the Tuolumne River to the head of the Lyell Canyon, and becomes moderate as it approaches Donahue Pass. Before reaching Donahue Pass, this route leaves the trail and heads south towards Mount Lyell.
  • Most summit ascents are done either over or around the Lyell Glacier.
  • Seasonal and year-to-year variations on the glacier make it necessary to assess current conditions before choosing a route to the summit.
  • The NW Ridge, from the saddle between Mount Lyell and nearby Mount Maclure, offers class 2-3 climbing with high snow levels on the glacier. Low snow levels increases the grade to class 3-4 on the exposed granite ledges, in which cases it may be easier to ascend the glacier more directly to the summit.
  • The grade of the East Arete likewise increases with low snow conditions, going from class 3 to class 4 (the looseness of the rock underlying the glacier on the East Arete makes it somewhat dangerous in low snow conditions).
  • Other routes exist on the south and west sides, but of greater difficulty and longer approaches.
7 summits • 28.4 mi • 3,898 ft gain • 25 hr 15 min