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Mount Conness
Mt Casson Pano 4wiki.jpg
Mount Conness seen from Saddlebag Lake Road.
Highest point
Elevation 12,590 ft (3,840 m) NAVD 88
Prominence 2,630 ft (802 m)
Parent peak Mount Dana
Location Mono / Tuolumne counties, California, U.S.
Parent range Sierra Nevada
Topo map USGS Tioga Pass
First ascent 1864 by Clarence King and James T. Gardiner
Easiest route Scramble, class 2

Mount Conness is a 12,590 foot (3,840 m) mountain in the Sierra Nevada range, to the west of the Hall Natural Area. Conness is on the boundary between the Inyo National Forest and Yosemite National Park. The Conness Glacier lies north of the summit.


The west face of Mt. Conness near the peak overlooking Yosemite Valley.

Mount Conness is named for John Conness (1821–1909), a native of Ireland who came to United States in 1836. Conness was a member of California legislature (1853–1854, 1860–1861) and the United States Senator from California (1863–1869). He resided in Massachusetts from 1869 until his death in 1909.

In 1860 Josiah Dwight Whitney, Jr. was appointed State Geologist of California and he organized the California Geological Survey (1863–1870). Whitney, along with William H. Brewer, Clarence King, James T. Gardiner, Charles F. Hoffmann, Lorenzo G. Yates, Richard D. Cotter and others, made an extensive survey of California, including the Sierra Nevada and Yosemite region. Whitney wrote:

"Mount Conness bears the name of a distinguished citizen of California, now a United States Senator, who deserves more than any other person, the credit of carrying the bill, organizing the Geological Survey of California, through the Legislature, and who is chiefly to be credited for another great scientific work, the Survey of the 40th Parallel."

Clarence King, a geologist for the Survey and the first to ascend Mount Conness along with James T. Gardiner in 1864, wrote:

"I recognized the old familiar summit... and that firm peak with titan strength and brow so square and solid, it seems altogether natural we should have named it for California’s statesman, John Conness."

The members of the Whitney Survey were naturally[original research?] appreciative of Senator Conness for helping their cause.


East Ridge Mount Conness
East ridge of Mount Conness

Conness is a training ground for alpine climbing since it utilizes all aspects of mountaineering: trails, scrambling, and glacier trekking; all at a high altitude for California. Usually climbers camp near Tioga Pass and begin the climb at dawn. It takes about a full day to summit.

The summit block consists of class 2 scrambling along a knife edge ridge leading to the summit consisting of views to the east of the Conness Glacier and to the west toward Tuolumne Meadows.

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