Unicorn Peak & Cockscomb: A Special 2-for-1

Where: Yosemite National Park, Sierra Nevada, California
When: July 2008
Partners: DB (Unicorn); Solo (Cockscomb)
Route: Unicorn Pk (South Arete - Class 4) / Cockscomb (West Face - Class 4)
Mileage/Gain: 6/3,000

Unicorn Peak

Matthew Holliman had recommended Yosemite National Park's Unicorn Peak and The Cockscomb to me, so they quickly shot up to the top of the to-do list as I made my way back to the park.
Unicorn Peak above Elizabeth Lake

Starting out from the Elizabeth Lake Trailhead in the back of the Tuolumne Meadows Campground one morning, DB and I made quick time up the trail to the beautiful lake. There, we got a nice view of our objective. Leaving the trail at the lake, we started up cross-country toward the east face of the upper mountain.
Little DB, rising above Tuolumne Meadows in the distance

Reaching the notch between the northern (highest) and middle summits of Unicorn Peak, we headed up. With mostly class 2-3 scrambling, albeit exposed in places, the crux of the route was most definitely a spicy (though with good holds) class 4 sequence around a corner past a bulge. Exhilarated, we were soon on the small summit!
On the summit of Unicorn Peak, with (L-t-R) Cockscomb, Matthes Crest & Echo Ridge behind her

Dropping back down from the summit, DB and I headed for the saddle south of Unicorn Peak, where a small clump of trees would house DB while I headed alone over to grab Cockscomb.
Heading to the saddle south of Unicorn Peak

Though perhaps not as spicy an ascent as Unicorn Peak, Cockscomb, another nunatak, is a much more aesthetic peak. I was stoked as I made off for it!
Cockscomb, yeah!!!

Angling around to the west face of the peak after dropping down below the peak on its north side to skirt cliffs, I scrambled up one of the two steep gullies on the face and found myself at the notch below the summit...or one of them.

With a little trial and error, I found that I was in the wrong (south) notch, and so dropped down a short chimney then traversed right to the correct notch. A couple class 4 moves put me on the highpoint. Yeehaw!
Southwest to Matthes Crest from the summit of Cockscomb

Snapping a few pictures, I downclimbed from the summit crag and then made my way back down the face and headed for DB...
Heading back to Unicorn Peak from Cockscomb