Mammoth Mountain is an internationally renowned ski resort. Although the elevation of Mammoth Mountain is by far lower than the surrounding mountains, it receives the lion’s share of snow during the winter months. This phenomenon has a lot to do with the mountain’s geography and orientation. When you ski the vast slopes of Mammoth Mountain, it’s easy to forget that this mountain has a lot more to offer than skiing. The true wonder of Mammoth Mountain comes to light when all that snow has melted away.
During the summer months Mammoth Mountain turns into a haven for hikers, mountain bikers and rock climbers. One of the most wonderous rock formations is Dike Wall and its east face in particular. The east face of Dike Wall shines like gold in the morning sun leaving you stunned in admiration. In fact, everything about the east face is beautiful. The approach could not be more pleasant. The first half of the approach is skirting Lake George, and crossing several creeks that feed the lake. Then you are hiking on a great trail in the shade of tall pine trees. When you get to Dike Wall’s east face, you find several species of birds nesting in the bushes on the base. East face of Dike Wall is more than a climbing experience, it’s also a nature experience.
Flowers on the way
Indian Paint Brush
Flowers on the base
Bird nesting near the base
Routes of Dike Wall, East Face
It is not clear why Dike Wall was not explored for climbing potential until the late 1990s. I have no doubt a crack climb, called “Mr. D.N.A” rated 5.8 on the north face was climbed long before the whole formation was developed into a sport climbing area. Considering the elevation of 9400 feet, the amount of snow fall in the Mammoth Lakes area must shortened the climbing season to a great degree. In any event, what’s abundantly clear now is that the east face of Dike wall has become the more popular of the two climbable faces.
The east face of Dike Wall is steep, in fact slightly overhanging, and well featured. Except for one climb that requires gear placement, “Black Dihedral” rated 10b, all the rest of the routes are bolted sport climbs. All the routes have their own three point anchors of the safest and highest quality. Considering the steep nature of Dike Wall’s east face, it’s only natural that several of the routes have a higher level of difficulty. There are, however, three climbs in the 5.10 difficulty range to keep more moderate level climbers busy for several hours. If you are trying to escape the heat of lower altitude rocks, hike up to Dike Wall and climb on its east face.
Dike Wall, East Face
|A||Black Lassie, 10d, bolts|
|B||Black Dihedral, 10b Standard Rack, pro to 3.5"|
|C||Grinder, 11c, bolts|
|D||Grim Reality, 10b, bolts|
|E||Secret Agent Man, 12a, bolts|
|F||Antibro, 11b, bolts|
|G||Cromagnon, 10a, bolts|
CampingThere are many campgrounds in the town of Mammoth Lakes. During the summer months, these campgrounds always seem to be full to the brim. I personally prefer to look for camping possiblities ouside of the town boundries. There are many other campgrounds on the way to Mammoth Lakes that can be used. There is another option; during the summer months motel rates drop dramatically making them a desirable way to spend a few nights in luxury. Needless to mention, amenities abound.
The folowing link should help finding accomodations.
you may ask about Lake George campground and Lake Mary campground,
you may want to try the following links for camping outside of the town of Mammoth Lakes:
Horton Creek Campground
Rock Creek Canyon
Inyo National Forest
How to get there
From the town of Bishop, California, drive forty miles north on Highway 395 to its intersection with Highway 203, Mammoth Lakes, Devil’s Postpile. Take this exit and drive into the town of Mammoth Lakes. Drive through the town staying on HWY 203 to a 4-way traffic signal where HWY 203 turns right. At this point go straight on Lake Mary Road. Drive 3.7 miles to Pokonobe Lodge Rd and turn left. Continue down Pokonobe Lodge Rd for about 1/4 mile to a T in the road. Turn right at the T, and drive a short distance to the Lake George parking lot.
From here walk clockwise along the shore of Lake George past the sign for TJ Lake and several cabins. Close to opposite end of the lake from the parking lot, you will see a rocky outcrop protruding into the lake. Just before the rocky outcrop head up the hill and find cabin 5 and cabin 6. There is a beautiful trail that starts behind cabins 5 and 6. This is your trail. Follow the trail to a short boulder field and Dike Wall.
Note: If you hike up to the top of the rocky outcrop and see the trail going downhill, you have gone too far.