Theodore Solomons

Half Dome – Yosemite Musing

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     Today we welcome a guest blog from Norman S. of the Great California Central Valley. Norm is a true student of Yosemite and has scoured most of the ancient scrolls to learn about the park. Today he’ll tell us about one of the little know pioneers of Yosemite – Theodore Solomons. Thanks Norm and I welcome similar juicy stories for other readers. This is a community of Half Dome lovers – not my bully pulpit!! :>)     Theodore Seixas Solomons (1870 – 1947) was an early member of the Sierra Club (founded in 1892)and the first person to photograph the Tuolumne Canyon.  But his biggest contribution to Sierra history came years earlier.  As a 14-year old, living in Fresno, Solomons conceived the idea of a trail along the backbone of the high Sierra.  Members of the newly formed Sierra Club including Joseph Le Conte assisted Solomons in his explorations of the canyons and passes between Yosemite and Mt. Whitney. In 1908, a complete route was developed which Solomons called the “High Sierra Trail.”  

     When John Muir died in 1914, (a few months before construction of the trail was to begin), the idea of a trail along the Sierra Crest seemed a fitting tribute to Muir. So the High Sierra Trail was renamed the John Muir Trail –  though Muir had neither conceived, nor plotted it.  Asked his reaction to the renaming, Solomons said, “Muir is a better name to conjure with. But mine the idea, mine the pioneering.”  Ed:  A pretty egotistic guy!

     Solomons’ contribution to Sierra history was not officially recognized until 1968, when a 13,034-foot-peak, a quarter mile from the John Muir Trail was named Mount Solomons.  In 1988, Dennis Gagnon created an alternative to the John Muir Trail.  Gagnon called this stitched together route between Glacier Point and Mt. Whitney, the ‘Theodore Solomons Trail’ in honor of the “Lost Trailblazer of the Sierra.” 

     So, the next time you’re at Glacier Point, instead of the Panorama Trail, try the Theodore Solomons Trail.

Unrelated thought worth quoting: “Strength does not come from physical capacity. It comes from an indomitable will.” – Mahatma Gandhi 

*MrHalfDome – Rick Deutsch –


4 Responses to “Theodore Solomons”

  1. andy Says:

    Great post. So, John Muir didn’t know about his trail? LOL
    Amazing information you only learn here…

  2. Al Laurente Says:

    It was unbelievable today with July permits … All tickets were gone in 3 minutes. There were onesy-twosy showing up till the 5th minute but they were impossible to get. I thought, it would take about 10 minutes for 9,000 permits this time since last month took 14 minutes for 10,000 permits.

    There are just too many people wanting HD. NPS should just make the thing a lottery. I’d be very pissed to see anybody selling these permits for $100 in Ebay or Craigslist. Luckily, I got 4 for to guide 3 of my friends. Half Dome #8 still as exciting as the first time.

  3. Maureen Lahiff Says:

    How do I find the Solomon trail?

    (Or is this an alternate name?)

    thanks, Norman, for the info!

  4. Norman S Says:


    There is a small book called “Guide to the Theodore Solomon’s Trail” by Dennis Gagnon. Amazon sells it.


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