OverviewRosy Finch Peak is the unofficial name for the modest peak rising to the south of Morgan Pass in the Little Lakes area. Because of the large number of outstanding peaks in this area, this one falls low on the list for most climbers, and is climbed no more than a few times each year judging from the register entries.
Popularity aside, this peak is a fine climb in its own right. The North Ridge is a very fine class 4 scramble, and the views from the summit outstanding. For anyone making the daunting Mono-Morgan Pass traverse, this is the last peak traversed before descending to Morgan Pass. There are two summits to this peak, separated by a class 3 ridge. The higher north summit has the spot elevation shown on the map and is the point described by Secor.
The Little Lakes area is one of the finest and densest peak climbing areas in the Sierra, and is well represented here on SummitPost. Nearby peaks viewable from the summit of Rosy Finch are Wheeler Peak, Mt. Morgan (S), Pyramid Peak, Bear Creek Spire, Pipsqueak Spire, Mt. Dade, Mt. Abbot, Mt. Mills, Ruby Peak, and Mt. Starr. In addition there is a great view into the Humpreys Basin to the south and the array of peaks surrounding it.
The name is likely derived from Finch Lake, located at 10,700ft in a small cirque about 3/4mi east of the summit. There is a Rosy Finch Lake located about 10 miles to the northwest near Mt. Izaak Walton and the Silver Divide, but it is unlikely the naming was related.
In addition to the class 4 North Ridge, the Southeast Slopes from Finch Lake are class 2, the East Ridge and the traverse from Pyramid Peak are class 3. There are also tedious scree chutes on the northeast side from Upper Morgan Lake that are class 2-3. The west side is quite steep, but looks to have interesting class 3-4 options as well.
Getting ThereRosy Finch Peak is most easily reached from the Rock Creek area. From US395, take the Rock Creek Rd turnoff and drive 9 miles to the road's end at Mosquito Flat. At 10,200ft, this is the highest TH in the Sierra. Follow the trail south for 3.5mi to Morgan Pass (11,080ft). This is one of the most beautiful trails in the Sierra, passing by many alpine lakes, abundant wildflowers and impressive snow-capped peaks.
Alternatively, Morgan Pass and Rosy Finch Peak can be reach from the Pine Creek area. The Pine Creek Rd meets US395 about 10mi northwest of Bishop. Follow the road through the small community of Rovana for 10mi, past the Pine Creek TH to the end of the drivable road at the Tungsten Mine (7,880ft). Follow the road, turning to trail, for 5.1mi to Morgan Pass. Note that this alternative is longer, significantly more elevation gain, and frankly dull and tedious compared to the approach through Little Lakes Valley. The section passing by Upper and Lower Morgan Lakes is the most pleasant.
Red Tape & Mountain ConditionsRosy Finch Peak and the surrounding area lies in the John Muir Wilderness. Backcountry permits are required for overnight visits to the area. Permits are free if you pick them up in person at the Ranger Station.
Everything you need to know about conditions, permits and regulations can be found on the Eastern Sierra - Logisitcal Center page.
Note that the tungsten mine on Pine Creek is in active (though barely) operation and privately owned, and should be properly respected.
Mammoth Lakes Ranger Station
White Mountain Ranger Station
798 North Main Street
Bishop, CA 93514
CampingOvernight camping in the surrounding areas of the John Muir Wilderness is allowed with proper permits (see the Red Tape section). There are plenty of fine camping opportunities in the Little Lakes Valley. Near to the peak are excellent sites at Chickenfoot and Gem Lakes. This area is very popular and permits are in high demand. It is unlikely you will find much solitude in the summer months, but the views will compensate for your troubles. There are also decent camping spots, far less popular, in the Morgan Lakes area east of Morgan Pass.
Alternatively, consider climbing this as a relatively easy dayhike. The approach is quite short and all on trail.