'Blue Donkey Point' is located in the John Muir Wilderness in the eastern Sierra Nevada of California. This name is an unofficial one I have given to Peak 12,200'+(7.5' maps) or Peak 12,160'+ (15' maps) on the Thompson Ridge east-southeast of Blue Lake in the Sabrina Basin, Middle Fork Bishop Creek. The name is (simplistically) derived from the names of the two prominent lakes to the west - Blue Lake and Donkey Lake.
Though I saw no signs of passage on top, doubtless this peak has been climbed before (traversed?). If anyone can claim it as their own, speak up...please?
This peak is the last distinct peak on the north end of the Thompson Ridge. Though the other peaks on Thompson RIdge are higher, Blue Donkey is a nice scramble and a bit of a navigation challenge.
In winter or spring it would make an excellent ski descent. The northwest face (facing Blue Lake) is a broad and moderate 1000-foot slope easing into a high plateau above a band of sheer, clean cliffs. The cliffs are split by a hidden moderate couloir that drops 500 feet to the benches above Blue Lake.
The easiest route to the summit area is Class 2, and the final summit blocks are Class 3+. The summit blocks are a collection of vertical slabs resembling books on a shelf. The views from this summit are impressive, with the Echo Lake cirque
, the Thompson Glacier cirque, Lake Sabrina, and the immense plateau of Table Mountain prominently featured.
From the town of Bishop on Hwy US-395, drive west on West Line Street (Hwy CA-168) to the Lake Sabrina trailhead. Hike up the Sabrina Basin Trail to where the main trail veers right near Blue Lake. Go left and follow a lesser trail to a point midway between Blue Lake and Donkey Lake. The peak is visible to the east, with a nearly continuous cliff band at it's base.
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.
When To Climb
Best season is late June to mid October.
There is a developed campground below Lake Sabrina, but it is often filled. For wilderness camping, Blue Lake has the first good spots, but can be crowded. The best spots are on the flat benches between Blue Lake and Donkey Lake.