Mount Harrington, located northwest of the Cedar Grove Ranger Station in Kings Canyon National Park, is an impressive, yet rarely visited, rock fin that offers class 3 to 5 (YDS) climbing. While close to the National Park, the peak is actually located on the Monarch Divide just west of the park in the Monarch Wilderness. The airy summit perch provides excellent views from nearby formations such as the Grand Dike and Silver Spur to the Palisades over 20 miles away. This peak is often climbed by Sierra Club members since the peak is on the SPS Peaks List.
The most popular way to reach the summit is via the 300' class 3 (YDS) North Ridge reached by either the 9.3 mile class 1 Lewis Creek Approach (4,500') or the 9.0 mile class 1 Deer Cove Approach (both described in the North Ridge Route Page). After you reach the base, gain the Monarch Divide to the north by taking some class 2 friction slabs followed by some class 3 climbing to the knob on the ridge just north of Harrington's North Ridge. From there you will have 300' of climbing to the summit. Secor also lists a class 3 West Face route and a class 4 South Arete route. While the East Face appears to offer class 5 climbing opportunities no recorded ascents have been made. Guyzo adds "I have looked around the base of the east face, the rock is decomposed, sandy granite. If somebody has done a climb on it I would like to know."
LEWIS CREEK TRAILHEAD (4,500'; Kings Canyon National Park): Take CA SR-180 to Kings Canyon National Park's Cedar Grove Ranger Station. The trailhead parking lot is on the south side of the road about 0.3 miles inside the park boarder just before the Cedar Grove Ranger Station. The trailhead is on the north side of the road.
DEER COVE TRAILHEAD (4,400'; Sequoia National Forest): Take CA SR-180 to Kings Canyon National Park's Cedar Grove Ranger Station as above, however, stop at the trailhead 0.8 miles before the park border on the north side of the road.
KINGS CANYON NATIONAL PARK ENTRANCE FEE (MANDATORY): Since you need to pass the Grant Grove section of Kings Canyon National Park to get to the Lewis Creek and Deer Cove Trailheads you will need to pay the National Park Entrance Fee or have a pass. See this NPS page for current fees.
WILDERNESS PERMIT (LEWIS CREEK ONLY, OVERNIGHT ONLY): A free wilderness or backcountry permit is required for overnight trips starting at the Lewis Creek Trailhead. There is a 25 person/day quota for this trailhead. Permits are available from the Kings Canyon National Park Cedar Grove Visitor Center. Permit reservations are $10 per permit. Contact the permit reservation office for more information:
WILDERNESS PERMIT RESERVATIONS
HCR 89 Box 60
Three Rivers, CA 93271
Tel: (559) 565-3708
When To Climb
The snow-free hiking season is generally from June to October. The road to Cedar Grove, CA SR-180, is plowed from mid-April to mid-November. Consider your approach when going during other periods.
Mount Harrington itself is very steep so avalanche danger should be minimal during the early season, however, be careful if ascending via the Monarch Divide to the northeast. Ice axe and crampons are recommended during the early season (through June) as are snowshoes depending on approach conditions.
There are several popular places to camp:
WILDMAN MEADOW (7,480'): This large flat meadows is available only on the Deer Cove Trail. This is not often used for summit trips due to the distance from the mountain.
FRYPAN MEADOW (7,900'): 6.2 miles from either the Lewis Creek or Deer Cove Trailhead, this is a popular place to camp as it is the junction for reaching Harrington and Kennedy Mountain (11, 433', class 2). There is 1 bear box here.
GRIZZLY LAKES (9650'): There are a number of campsites around these popular lakes (2) just beneath Mount Harrington's East Face. As the name connotes, bears frequent this area.
MONARCH DIVIDE / SILVER SPUR JUNCTION (10,800+'): There are a number of flat camping areas on the Monarch Divide to the northeast of Mount Harrington.
Use the following resources for weather information on Mount Harrington:
National Weather Service
Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks Weather Page
HUME LAKE RANGER DISTRICT
35860 E. Kings Canyon Road
Dunlap, CA 93621