Devils Table 7236 ft

24 Aug 1999 - by Mark Spencer

Devils Table is a small volcanic formation in the San Joaquin drainage in the Central Sierra. This often overlooked feature is found in the rolling tablelands near Mono Hot Springs and is visible from many viewpoints on the way to the popular trailheads at Florence Lake and Lake Edison. I had always wondered if it shared similar features with the more famous Devils Postpile 20 miles north. I finally had my chance to explore Devils Table while on a day trip to Lake Edison to drop off a food resupply for an upcoming Muir Trail hike. After dropping off the package at the Vermillion Resort, I stopped at Mono Hot Springs and parked at the trailhead to Doris Lake. I hiked up the trail for a half-mile, staying left at two trail junctions. Just before a saddle near two shallow lakes, a series of ducks led west, wandering through thick manzanita another half mile to the table. The formation featured rough vertical columns rising 30 to 80 ft above the surrounding terrain with an isolated flat top. I immediately selected the most obvious route on the prow of the formation. This 30 ft route (The Prow 5.0) ascends cracks and ledges up the left side of a detached pillar. Standing on top of the pillar, a mantle up the wall above gains the top of the table. I also climbed a clean double crack system ten feet left, calling it Full Steam Ahead 5.7. Further exploration of the flat sandy summit revealed a much easier class 2 route at the mid-point of the northeast face. Numerous claw marks on a tree growing next to the northwest side appeared to provide a passage for the local mountain lion. I noticed a recent set of boot tracks wandering across the broad sandy table, but found no register. With Mono Hot Springs about a mile and a half away, hikers must visit this unique formation regularly. The short hike to Devils Table is definitely a worthwhile side trip when visiting this part of the Sierra.

Devils Table topo map

click to enlarge devils-table.jpg

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