Bloody Mountain stands out as a beautiful red peak approximately 1 mile north of Mt Morrison as you cruise the 395 in the Mammoth Lakes area. It also lies southwest of nearby Laurel Mountain and the two can be easily combined for a nice dayhike loop. A narrow snow couloir culminating in a prominent "Y" shaped rock rib just below the saddle stands out against the contrasting white bed of background snow in springtime, drawing just about everyone to gawk and think "gee, that looks like fun..." This has long been a dayhike destination for backcountry skiers and snowboarders as well due to the relatively short approach and fun steep lines back down to the bottom. Depending on the route and season you choose you can look forward to lines ranging from hellish talus and scree slogs to fun season opener snow climbs.
From the 395, take the Sherwin Creek Road turnout (south) which is just west of the east end of the Mammoth Airport runway. You'll head south to reach the Laurel Creek Trail, a fairly rough (and completely unmaintained) truck trail which will take you up thru the foothills to the base of the climbing.
Do not underestimate the roughness of this trail; if you "just go for it" on some of the dodgy sections you'll either be buying a new oil pan or find that your vehicle now requires 2 qts less oil than it used to take ... Continue up the truck trail approx 3.2 miles which should put you adjacent to the Laurel Creek meadow (nice camping) and at the base of the switchbacks. Park here or continue up if feeling brave. Otherwise, gear up and start from this point. Note that in the spring and winter this area is heavily snowbanked so use caution in the vehicles.
At the time of this writing, my understanding was that this area lies outside of the Wilderness demarcation. Therefore permits for hiking and camping are un-necessary. Please contact me if you know otherwise
Update: Author: bearbnz
Date: Mar 28, 2005 11:23 AM
Bloody Mountain is definitely in the designated wilderness area. A quick glance at the 7.5' topo will confirm this. On another topic, North Couloir is more commonly known as Bloody Couloir. Good job on the page.
When To Climb
All reports that I looked at were done in the springtime; judging by the amount of slate present I doubt that this would be a very enjoyable non-snow climb. Springtime is undoubtedly the peak season for quality climbing in the couloir.
Good camping can be found in the meadow west of the approach road. There are also spots in the trees just below with the road bifurcating and leading to both. BE NICE and clean up when you leave