At 13,666 feet, Midway Mountain is the highest peak in the Great Western Divide, the prominent subrange west of the Sierra Crest. It forms part of the boundary between Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks. This is a very remote peak.
In July, 1912 by Francis Farquhar, William Colby, and Robert Price first ascended Midway Mountain. Midway makes a nice peakbagging doubleheader with neighboring Milestone Mountain. The most commonly climbed routes on Midway, which are rated Class 2 and 3, are not technically challenging and require persistence rather than skill. Still, the summit offers nice views of the Kern Kaweah Divide, the Sierra Crest, and Milestone and Table Mountains. It is less climbed than Milestone and is often overlooked.
There are five described routes:
* The class 2 West Slope Route, originating from the Lake 11,522 area (see below);
* The class 3 Traverse from Milestone Mountain originating from the summit of Milestone Mountain;
* A class 4 route along the South Ridge; and,
* Two I, 5.7 routes, one route originating from the right of a large dihedral and another route on the South Ridge.
For more information on routes, see R.J. Secor, The High Sierra: Peaks, Passes, and Trails or Steve Roper, The Climber’s Guide to the High Sierra (out of print).
For the West Slope route: take Highway 180 from Fresno. Continue on Highway 180 through Grant’s Grove for approximately 30 miles until reaching the trailhead where the road ends in Kings Canyon (Road's End Trailhead). Start hiking on the Bubbs Creek trail for 4 miles. Continue south up Sphinx Creek trail and over Avalanche Pass for 12 miles. Hike another 10 miles up Cloud Canyon until reaching a creek flowing into Colby Lake from the east. Leave the trail and hike up slabs and ramps that loosely follow the creek. The creek forks after a tenth of a mile. Take the north fork of the creek until reaching Lake 11,522. Follow the lake around the northern shore then head northeast for 1/2-mile.
For the Traverse from Milestone: see the Northwest Face of Milestone route description.
For Road's End Trailhead entry, climbers must either pay a $10 entrance fee for Kings Canyon National Park or present an annual National Parks Pass. In addition, overnight wilderness visitors must obtain a wilderness permit at the trailhead or pay $15 and reserve a permit in advance. Information on permit reservations is available online.
Overnight visitors approaching from the Shepherd Pass Trailhead must obtain an Inyo National Forest wilderness permit. Permits may be obtained at the Mt. Whitney Ranger Station, located in Lone Pine, California. Permits may also be reserved in advance by paying a $5/person fee. Information on permit reservations is available online.
Advance permit reservations are recommended since many trailheads, including the Road's End and Shepherd's Pass Trailheads, are subject to use quotas that are often filled many months in advance.
When To Climb
The best time to climb is July -October, depending on snow conditions. Winter climbs are difficult because of the mountain's remote location. Highway 180 in Kings Canyon National Park past Grant's Grove is closed in the Winter.
Colby Lake, elevation 10,584, makes a fine base camp from the west side. Cedar Grove, located 5 miles from Roads End trailhead, has several campgrounds. There is also camping available in the Milestone Creek Basin for the East Side approach.
Kings Canyon visitor information: (559) 565-3341
Updated weather information is also available.