Mountain Light Wall is nestled in the foothills at the base of the Sierras, just a couple miles north-east of Mount Humphreys. The views are stunning and you're sure to have the wall to yourself. The area was recently developed so most fixed gear and anchors are big and bomber with easy lower-offs, making the climbing surprisingly convenient for how remote the formation is.
These newly developed routes however haven't yet had enough traffic to be "cleaned up". In contrast to the fabulous views, the rock quality here leaves a lot to be desired. This ain't no Cardinal Pinnacle. The rock is course and exfoliating. Most of the large flakes and features are pretty bomber at least, so you don't have to worry too much about pulling down a death block on your belayer. He/she will just be gently showered by a constant rain of granite crystals and grit. Many of the routes do have the potential to clean up after numerous ascents, but given the wall's rather difficult location, that's not likely to happen for some years.
The formation is north-east facing, but because of it's low angle tilt, most of the routes receive sun from morning until afternoon in the summer. There is a snow cone at the base in the early season, making the best time to climb in the late summer and fall. On hotter days the wall can bake and the pale granite reflects a lot of sunlight. The base of the cliff has a beautiful assortment of wildflowers which also attract a lot of bees, something to consider if you are allergic to bee stings.
If you have a high clearance vehicle expect a 40 minute drive from Bishop and a 40 minute hike. If you don't have a high clearance vehicle expect a 30+ minute drive and something in the range of 1.5 - 3 hours of hiking.
From Bishop take W Line Stree (CA-168) out of town for 7.3 miles. Turn right on Buttermilk Road. Drive past the bouldering areas and do your best to stay on the main road as several unmarked side roads branch off. After around 5 miles the road will start getting pretty bad with lots of large rock threatening the bottom of your vehicle. After another couple miles you will pass a couple cattle guards. The first cattle guard has a lot of grass growing out of it and the second one is larger and painted green. There is a small pullout and camp site just past the second cattle guard. If you have a lower clearance vehicle you will not want to go any further than this. A few hundred yards ahead the road gets really rough for a short section. There is a split. You want to stay left on the uphill and very rocky road. Don't go right onto the uphill and grassy road. After that stay left at all the forks. You will drive/hike across McGee Creek. After the creek, stay right at all the forks including the split where the main road (7S01) branches off to the left. Take the now unnamed road further west and you will come to a grove of trees with nice shaded camping. Continue up a steep hill until you reach a plateau. Go straight through an intersection (you will see/hear a dam to your right on the other side of a hill) and finally park at a small turnabout loop.
From the end of the road their is a drainage just infront of you. Pick up the trail on the left side of the drainage and follow it as it contours into a valley to the right. Eventually the trail will run next to McGee Creek and by this point you will have probably noticed that Mountain Light Wall is just to your left. Hike across a field and up some talus to the base of the wall.
This is probably the best climb at Mountain Light Wall. The route ascends the prominent pillar near the center of the formation.Pitch 1 (5.9, 160 feet) An obvious crack leads up to the left side of the pillar. Begin to the right of this with a series of mantles on large flakes and traverse to the crack once you're above the large bush that is growing out of it. Follow the crack through a couple steep bulges to a bolted belay in a dihedral.Pitch 2 (5.10c, 110 feet) Climb up the corner, clip a bol...[more]Browse More Classics in CA