Pathfinder | 60 pts
The trail length is completely debatable. From many sources it is 14.4 miles round trip, but there are also sources claiming it is only 12. Our hike took 11 hours but we were just taking our time. In any case the trail felt like it was 16 miles round trip, but the payoff from the peak is unbelievable. You can see just about the entire park from the peak of Clouds Rest.
The trail starts at Tenaya Lake(around 8200 feet) and is pretty flat for the first mile or so, but then you hit your first major switchback climb of about 1000 feet. These switchbacks are different than most in Yosemite. These switchbacks are mostly stairs and they easily swallow up about 75 to 100 feet of elevation in a complete switchback, so they are pretty steep. Once you reach the top of this ridge you descend back down below 9000 until you hit your second climb. Your second climb is pretty gradual but it doesn't stop until you reach the peak, so it is another good 1000 foot climb. The elevation plays a big part in this hike because most people will be doing it as a dayhike and wont be accustomed to the altitude. The peak is just above 9900 feet so if quick ascents get to you this isnt your hike. There is one thing I feel like I should mention. There is what they call a knife ridge just below the summit. It is mostly 10 feet wide but it shrinks down to about 4 feet wide in certain sections. There is a 4500 foot drop to the valley floor on either side of you as you walk along this ridge, so if your petrified of heights take this into consideration. I myself physched myself out for this, but when I got there it wasn't that bad. It is not dangerous if your not being stupid. The view is absolutely awesome. In my opinion it rivals glacier point. I would advise you to look at the hike on google earth and take a good look at some topo maps before considering this hike, but once again the view from the top os completely worth all the pain!