Peak 12,563' - AKA "Treasure Peak"(Climber.org report) - is an aesthetically pleasing peak adjacent to Royce Pass, between Pine Creek Pass and Italy Pass in the John Muir Wilderness. The southwest face of this peak is a steep pile of rubble overlooking the Royce Lakes Basin. The northern aspect is steep and spectacular, sculpted from the finest white granite. Though this is a smaller peak compared to it's neighbors, Merriam and Royce, the high rock quality and stunning lines on it's north side attracted the attentions of Galen Rowell, who established a 5.6 route on a prominent tower leading directly to the summit.
The class 3 southeast ridge, though easily climbed, is an interesting scramble with excellent views.
The actual summit block is a thin blade of rock shaped like the tail of an airplane, and is balanced precariously over the northeast face.
The first recorded ascent was made by Norman Clyde ("Peaks, Passes, and Trails" P 320).
From Highway US-395 in Bishop, drive approx. 10 miles north to the turn-off to Rovana. Drive west through Rovana and up Pine Creek Canyon to the Pine Creek trailhead. Hike up the trail to where the Italy Pass Trail goes north. Follow the Italy Pass Trail to a flat area of slabs and meadows just past Honeymoon Lake. Leave the trail and head west up to Royce Pass. The class 5 routes on the north aspect are accessed directly from the area of Royce Pass. The easier southwest face and southeast ridge are accessed by crossing Royce Pass and hiking south through the Royce Lakes Basin.
For day hikes, no permit required. For overnight stays, obtain a free wilderness permit at the White Mountain Ranger Station, 798 North Main Street, Bishop, CA 93514. Phone number is 760-873-2500. Permits may be reserved in advance for $5 per person. Though walk-in permits are still free, the visitor quota for this trailhead is often filled.
For more info, visit the Eastern Sierra Nevada Logistics Page.
When To Climb
Best season is early June to mid October. Earlier than June, use skis to approach. November to January may have some snow, but not enough to ski.
Best camping is on a hill overlooking Golden Lake, just southeast of Royce Pass, and below the east face of the peak. More exposed camping can be had near the Royce Lakes and anywhere on the approach up to Royce Pass. The campsites near Honeymoon Lake are nice, but can be crowded.
Eastern Sierra Nevada Logistics Page (highly recommended)
The High Sierra: Peaks, Passes, and Trails 2nd ed. (R. J. Secor) - P 320
The Climber's Guide to the High Sierra (Steve Roper) - P 138
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