Glacier Point is well known within Yosemite as being one of the most beautiful vista points on, frankly, the planet. It's easily accessible and looks out across a giant chasm to Half Dome. It's easy to overlook the shape and character of Glacier Point itself though, as one is usually standing on top of it looking across the canyon, or just to close to its base within the valley to really see it's profile - a vast wall of monolith, not unlike El Capitan.
Back in 2008 my wife and I decided to tackle the hike to the top of Yosemite Falls. These being the tallest falls in North America - it's high and challenging. On the shuttle ride to the base the driver announced that "this is a 6 to 8 hour strenuous hike" to which a nearby passenger said "who does a 6 to 8 hour strenuous hike?" - I have to concede he had a point. The hike was an exhausting nearly 3000 vertical foot climb over about 3 miles of switchbacks. With temperatures at 90°F on the valley floor and 100°F at the rim, we were so dehydrated and exhausted by the top that we didn't get much enjoyment from it. I snapped a few shots from the top, barely paying attention to what I was shooting, before we turned around and start the journey back to the valley floor.
Here, nearly two years later, I was looking through my photos and stumbled across this shot, which I am surprisingly happy with considering how little attention I was paying at the time. The granite protruding at the left is part of the cleft in the granite worn away by Yosemite Falls, which was roaring away about 10 feet to my left, plunging 2400 down. Straight across is Glacier Point. I think this may be the best vantage point there is to appreciate its shape. The very pointed peak below the clouds is Mount Starr King, just over 9000ft high.
Generally speaking, I can't say Upper Yosemite Falls was my favorite hike, at least not the latter half (when you lose sight of Half Dome, and the falls themselves), but it does offer some dramatic vistas if you do reach the top.
Nikon D40 | Nikon 18-200VR@18mm | f/8 | 1/400s | ISO200 | Handheld
All text and images © Tyler Westcott, All rights reserved, Unless otherwise noted.