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Lamont Peak
Mountain/Rock

Lamont Peak

 
Lamont Peak

Page Type: Mountain/Rock

Location: California, United States, North America

Lat/Lon: 35.79200°N / 118.0436°W

Object Title: Lamont Peak

County: Tulare

Activities: Hiking

Season: Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter

Elevation: 7429 ft / 2264 m

 

Page By: Steve Larson

Created/Edited: Apr 23, 2006 / Apr 24, 2006

Object ID: 190016

Hits: 7310 

Page Score: 88.08%  - 26 Votes 

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Overview

 
Lamont Peak pinnacles
 
Lamont Peak is the striking, pinnacled ridge just south of Lamont Meadows. Sometimes you have to wonder what people were thinking when naming peaks. Though I'm sure Mr. Lamont (I'm assuming it was named for a Mr. Lamont) lived a life worthy of recognition, it seems to me that his name should have been attached to nearby Sawtooth Peak, and the Sawtooth moniker given to this one.

The named peak is not the highest point on the formation. This distinction belongs to either one of the pinnacles on the north ridge (don't ask me which one), or the high point on the ridge joining Lamont Peak with the the Sierra Crest, known informally as "East Lamont Peak". All of that notwithstanding, the Sierra Club summit register is on the named peak. It's a short, pleasant walk from Canebrake Road. On top, you are rewarded with a view of the Domelands Wilderness to the west, and the high meadows and rolling, pine-covered hills to the north and south.

The flora are dominated by single-leaf pinon and interior live oak, which here take on a mostly shrublike appearance. The understory is relatively open, making for reasonable off-trail travel in most places. Big Sagebrush is common, along with native grasses and a handful of small shrubs and flowers.

Getting There

 
Lamont Peak east ridge
A car shuttle hike with opportunities to bag Spanish Needle and Sawtooth Peak heads up the PCT from the right up foreground valley to the saddle at lower left, then follows the crest to the snow-covered ridge in the middle distance, which is followed to Lamont Peak (rocky peak at center) and thence down to Canebrake Road.
The most straighforward way up Lamont Peak is via the Lamont Peak Trail, which crosses Canebrake Road (part of the Chimney Peak Back-Country Byway) at a saddle at 5,500 feet approximately 6.6 miles north of Highway 178. There is parking for at least a half a dozen cars at the saddle. If you plan to bag Lamont as part of a loop, then you will either start or finish where the PCT crosses Canebrake Road (see below). Canebrake Road is graded dirt that is easy passable by 2wd passenger cars, but don't expect to go much more than 35 mph, and usually slower.

Coming from Los Angeles, San Diego, or points east of the Sierra Crest, find your way to Highway 14 and follow it to the 178 west cut-off, some 46 miles north of Mojave, or 7 miles south of the US395/SR14 split. Take Hwy 178 west 18 miles to Canebrake Road and turn right (north). The intersection does not have the usual highway signs. A dirt road with a couple of BLM information boards is all there is.

From the Central Valley, find your way to Lake Isabella via 178 out of Bakersfield or 156 out of Delano. From there, take Hwy 178 east 20 miles to the above-mentioned intersection of 178 and Canebrake Road.

A loop hike that bags Lamont Peak, and either/both Sawtooth Peak and Spanish Needle can be done between the trailhead described above and the intersection of the PCT and Canebrake Road. The PCT crosses Canebrake Road 0.2 miles south of Chimney Peak Campground. Other than a small sign on the west side of the road indicating the distance the the campground, there isn't anything to mark the trail crossing. There are two spots to pull completely off the road, but other than that, no obvious parking. If you're there in the off season and nobody else is around, you can probably get away with parking on the side of the road, just pull over as far as you can so you don't block traffic. If this doesn't appeal, or there are lots of people around, a better option is to park at the campground and hoof it the extra quarter mile. There is a dirt road that can be followed from the campground to the PCT, though I was unable to locate it. If you find it, you can avoid walking on Canebrake Road and getting a face full of dust every time a car drives by.

Routes

Route Distance/gain Description/Comments
Via Lamont Peak Trail ~5 mi round-trip/2,100' By far the easiest way to do the peak. From the trailhead at the saddle on Canebrake Road (see "Getting There" above), head east on the signed trail and follow it more or less straight up the ridge to the summit. This is not an engineered trail like the PCT. This old use trail contains only one token switchback. It can be hard to follow in places, but have faith, it is really does lead all the way to the summit area. If you think you've lost it, stop and backtrack a few yards and you're sure to pick it up again.
Via the PCT ~10 mi one-way/3,500' From the TH at Canebrake Road (assuming you can find parking) follow the PCT more or less east as it contours around a large, unnamed subsidiary peak, and then heads up the canyon above Lamont Meadow. The trail gains about 750 feet in a little over three miles until reaching a saddle on the crest. Sawtooth Peak is about an hour's scramble up the north side of the saddle. From the saddle, continue another ~4.5 miles on the PCT to where it crosses the west ridge of Spanish Needle (a short scramble to the east). Leave the trail here and follow the ridge another ~2 miles west over class 2-3 terrain, gaining and losing about 1,000 feet of elevation in the process. If you stashed a second car at the saddle, you have only 2.5 miles more to go, otherwise it's 10 miles all the way back to where you started.

As might be expected, the pinnacles have seen some rock climbing development, going back as far as the 1960's. E.C. Joe has published some information on routes at his Vertical Logistics web site. Click on "Mo' Classic Climbs" and scroll past the part on Igor Unchained (an interesting read in and of itself).

Red Tape

Lamont Peak lies within the Owens Peak Wilderness, which is managed by the Bureau of Land Management. There are no fees or permits required. No mechanized vehicles are permitted.

Camping

The closest campground, and a good staging area for the many peakbagging possibilities in the area, is Chimney Peak Campground. There are 36 sites with picnic tables, pit toilets, and fire pits with grills. No fees or reservations. Gathering down wood for fires is allowed, though you are encouraged to bring your own. There are water hydrants here and there, but if they are functioning, they should not be used. Naturally occurring Uranium contaminates the local ground water. Walker Pass Campground is somewhat smaller and farther away, and has similar amenities and rules/regulations.

Images

Lamont Peak from Lamont MeadowLamont Peak pinnaclesLamont Peak east ridgeOlancha, looking over Lamont PointThe needles of LamontLamont PeakLamont Peak