OverviewThis is another peak that deserves more attention then it gets. RJ Secor's description - "This is a beautiful peak and all its routes are splendid". However, it doesn't seem to be climbed too often. At the time of this writing, the register on top is one that was left by Francis' wife and there is a touching message she left in it.
Mt Francis Farquhar is located in the Sierra Nevada mountains of California - specifically, in the High Sierra region. It is located more on the west side of the range, but the backpack from the east side is not extraordinarily long either.
I think this peak is often overlooked because of its slighly more famous neighbors - North Guard and Mt Brewer. But it's a great peak and a climb of it should be included in any trip to the area!
Getting ThereThis peak is probably climbed most easily from the west with a start from Road's End in Kings Canyon National Park. Take King's Canyon Highway (Highway 180) out of Fresno and past Cedar Grove all the way to Road's End. This is a real pretty drive as the road winds its way down into Kings Canyon.
Once at Road's End, you'll want to take the Bubb's Creek trail for four miles to the Sphinx Creek Trail junction. (Secor's book says to take the Wood's Creek trail from road's end for two miles to the Bubb's Creek trail, but if I remember correctly the signs make you feel like your on Bubb's creek from the start - somebody correct me if I am wrong) You'll go right over a bridge and start heading up hill next to Sphinx Creek. After about 3 miles, you'll reach a meadow at 8,136 feet. From here, it's cross country for about 2 or so miles to Sphinx Lakes, the recommended camping spot for climbing. Make sure you have a topo and know where you're going. It's also pretty strenuous.
One other note, at the start of the trail at Road's End - you can take either the side of the creek. I seem to remember the right side ( when looking east ) being shorter, but in the sun and therefore very hot. The left side is a little longer, but may offer better shade.
Red TapeYou'll need to get a permit for back country stays and you'll need to check in with the ranger at Road's End to get it. When I went they asked for every single detail of your trip - be prepared to spend a few minutes there.
Go to the following page and look for the back country permits section:
Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks Camping Page
When To ClimbMay through October would probably be best. It would require a lot of effort in the winter, but if you have the energy it would probably be a blast.
CampingYou cannot camp until you are at least to the Sphinx Creek trail junction. But there are not really any good campsites until you get closer to the meadow mentioned above. Plan at least 7 miles of backpacking until you can make camp. Sphinx Lakes area is a VERY nice place to camp in my opinion.
EtymologyFrom Bob Burd's Web Site (Bob Burd)
"Francis Peloubet Farquhar (1887-1974), an eminent author, mountain climber, and conservationist. He served as a director of the Sierra Club for 27 years, had two terms as president of the club, and edited the Sierra Club Bulletin form 1926 to 1945. During a long career as a certified public accountant, Farquhar also served as president of the California Academy of Sciences and of the California Historical Society, and was instrumental in the creation of Kings Canyon National Park.
Farquhar made several first ascents of Sierra peaks: Milestone Mountain, with Colby and Price, 1912; Midway Mountain, with six others, 1912; Mt. Haeckel, with the Huber party, 1920; Middle Palisade, with Ansel F. Hall, 1921; Eagle Scout Peak, 1926; and Mt. Shakspere, with four others, 1930.
Farquhar's best known books are Place Names of the High Sierra, 1926; Up and Down California in 1860-1864, The Journal of William H. Brewer, 1930, which he edited; and History of the Sierra Nevada, 1965. The last two books are still in print, and continue to enthrall all those who are interested in California's history.
The name was proposed by Peter Browning in 1987, and approved by the BGN in 1989. The peak is the northernmost summit of the Great Western Divide, 1.6 miles NW of Mount Brewer."
- Peter Browning, Place Names of the Sierra Nevada
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