Get Situated! --- Overview
Ehrnbeck Peak is a prominent 11,000' peak located just two miles east of the well-known Tower Peak in northern Yosemite National Park, California. This area is classically considered to be the "last of the High Sierra" as one works their way north towards Lake Tahoe. Ehrnbeck stands out along with Hawksbeak Peak in this final collection of Sierran summits over 11,000', not in the least because of its view of northern Yosemite. Two sides of the peak are sheer, with long drops into the head of the lengthy Stubblefield Canyon on the west and into the scenic and rarely-visited Rainbow Canyon on the north.
Ironically, Ehrnbeck's more attractive and popular neighbor Tower Peak is likely the reason for what few visitors the summit gets. The summit register is signed by hikers every couple of years, and abundant sheep tracks on the southeast slope seem to indicate that wildlife make regular visits. In fact, the presence of arrowhead fragments on this slope confirms that Ehrnbeck may have had a long-term popularity.
The easiest route, of course, is the East Slope, which could be a problem for hikers traversing from Tower. A class 3 route to the top from the west does exist, but it is not obvious.
Get WAAAAAY Back In There!
Another challenge that this peak offers is its 11+ mile distance from the nearest trailhead. No trail leads to the top, and cross-country route-findng is a critical part of the excursion.
Ideally, the peak would be climbed from Twin Lakes, outside Bridgeport. The trail to Peeler Lake would be taken to Kerrick Meadow, and then cross-country travel would take the hiker west over a ridge into Thompson Canyon and then up the southeast slope of Ehrnbeck. There are plenty of fine peaks on this area to get, so why not make an expedition of it? One such trip is outlined here.
To get to the Twin Lakes trailhead, take US Highway 395 to Bridgeport, California, and look for the sign indicating the Twin Lakes Road on the south side of main street towards the west side of town (next to a gas station). Follow the Twin Lakes Road for 10 miles to Twin Lakes as it meanders through farms, ranches, and residential areas. Continue following the road as it skirts Twin Lakes for another 3.5 miles before terminating at the Mono Village Resort. The trailhead is on a private campground, but dayhikers may use the parking for free and backpackers/overnighters pay a nominal fee. See the Hawksbeak Peak page (option 3) for more information.
Get Legal! --- Red Tape
Trailhead parking at the Mono Village/Twin Lakes area will cost a nominal fee for overnighters.
Since most of the routes may cross into the northern boundary of Yosemite NP, wilderness camping permits would be required.
Get on the Schedule! --- When To Climb
The information on this page is based on summertime hiking, although a long backcountry ski trip to the top would be possible. Off-season trailhead access would also be an issue.
Get the Goods! --- Camping, Lodging, Gas, & Grub
Camping in the vicinity of the peak would preclude a wilderness permit. According to Barry Beck, "Camping at the Leavitt Meadows or Buckeye Canyon trailheads is easy, there are campgrounds at both, and free camping on adjacent National Forest land, and instead of paying to camp at Mono Village, just pull off on the Buckeye Road and camp for free."
Lodging and food are available in Bridgeport. Gas is somewhat less expensive at the Mono Village Resort.
Get Lucky! --- Mountain Conditions
Contact the Bridgeport Ranger Station or the Sonora Ranger District Office for conditions.
Weather reports for Bridgeport, California would give regional conditions information.