BETA PHOTO: Mount Winchell from Temple Crag in May.
The lowest peak in the northern Palisade chain probably has the tiniest summit and also has sensational views down its west face. There's a classic Class 3 scramble on this peak.
The eastern approach:
From Big Pine on 395 drive up the road to Glacier Lodge, trailhead is signed on the right.
Hike up the North Fork of Big Pine Creek past Cienega Mirth, Lon Chaney's old cabin, and First, Second, and Third (spectacular views of Temple Crag) Lakes, then instead of continuing on to Fourth Lake turn south and up into Sam Mack Meadow. It's also feasible to camp down by 3rd Lake and complete a route from there.
West Arete is an obscure backcountry Sierra route that deserves more traffic. It takes its path up one of the most complex and intimidating mountain faces in the range, the west/southwest side of Mt. Winchell. Climbing this route is a considerable commitment and a great adventure for an experienced party. Despite it's Grade III, 5.8 rating and understated description of difficulties listed in a popular guidebook, we found 4th-5th class approach, incredible exposure, steep terrain, and eleven lon...[more]Browse More Classics in CA