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.
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.
|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).