OverviewThe Mokelumne Wilderness is south of Lake Tahoe and encompasses thousands of acres of beautiful and remote High Sierra land. Near the southern border of this wilderness, just north of Ebbetts pass, lies a rarely climbed and rarely even seen peak, Puny Pinnacle. In fact, this peak is so remote and overlooked that it might have seen its first expedition in June of 2009. Although there is no solid proof to support this, the June expedition was the first recorded climb of this peak, and there were no signs of human activity on the summit. Make no mistake about it, this region is desolate.
Severly overhung on all sides, and presumably unclimable, the pinnacle is as its name suggests, magnificent. Composed of volcanic rock, it is a worthwhile challenge for anyone who thinks they are a true mountaineer.
Getting ThereThe Easiest way to approach this peak is from Ebbetts pass. At the pass park in the PCT Trailhead parking and follow the PCT for about 2.5 miles north, until you are past the Kinney Lakes. After you pass the lake the trail will angle around a small hill and enter a meadow. Cut across the meadow in a northwestern direction to the lower portion of a large and imposing hill. You are now in the area of Puny Pinnacle. Have fun finding it, there's a reason it sees so little traffic.
Red TapeUnless you want to camp overnight in the wilderness there is no red tape. My friend does carry some in his gear bag though, but please don't leave any tape on or around this aesthetic pillar. In fact, please don't leave any litter at all. Red tape on such a beautiful natural feature would simply be a human eyesore.
CampingThere are developed campgrounds on SR4, SR88, and along Blue Lakes Road. Fees range from free to $14.50/night. The USFS site lists all the amenities at each location along with contact information for reservations.
Backcountry camping is also allowed, following these restrictions:
Camp at least 100 feet from water and trails. Camping on previously used sites creates far less impact than camping on pristine sites. Camp on mineral soil, never in meadows or soft grassy areas that compact easily. Pick a place where you won't have to clear vegetation or level a tent site. There is good backcountry camping on the approach near the Kinney Lakes, as well as a few decent spots off the PCT. Wilderness permits are required for camping within the Mokelumne Wilderness, and a fire permit (good for a year) is needed if you intend to have stoves or campfires anywhere within the National Forest.
A bivy may be required for the long ascent of the Pinnacle. We climbed it in one exceptionally long day, but for slower climbers it may be neccessary to do two.
About this page, the real story of Puny Pinnacle
This page is meant to be a reminder to have fun while out climbing. Don't just get driven to push yourself as hard as possible, and be ultra serious the whole day. Climbing, hiking, and summitting are some of the best feelings in the world, but the sport is getting ruined by people who lack humor and are too much of (if you'll pardon the term) tight asses. Have fun out there,and keep it goofy.
Good luck in findng the Pinnacle.