Chicken Springs Lake Traverse

Chicken Springs Lake Traverse

Page Type Page Type: Route
Location Lat/Lon: 36.48569°N / 118.26437°W
Additional Information Route Type: Scrambling
Seasons Season: Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter
Additional Information Time Required: Most of a day
Additional Information Difficulty: Moderate with some Exposure
Additional Information Rock Difficulty: Class 3
Additional Information Grade: I
Sign the Climber's Log


Chicken Springs Lake is a beautiful alpine lake just West of Cottonwood Pass, off the Pacific Crest Trail in the Southern Sierra. Above the Lake, there is a large U-shape ridge that towers above and around Chicken Springs Lake to the South. This Horseshoe like ridge that connects two unnamed peaks, (12,417ft and 12,330ft) is a great scramble, and from the top, views of Cirque Peak and Mt. Langley are near as well as Mount Whitney and Muir.

This is a fun day outing for those going in or coming out of the Cottonwood Lakes from the PCT.

Route Description

From the westernmost shore of Chicken Spring lake, Find the prominent chute that is the one very obvious from the thin crumbly others, with tall walls on both sides. Follow the chute for the 1st 50 feet up the middle and slowly move to the left side of the chute when it becomes steeper. The Middle and end of the chute follow the well featured left wall, great handholds all the way up to the top where the opening is up on the right after a sandy bolder hop to the top. The chute is Class 3, can variate to Class 4.

The continuation of the SW Ridge to the Unnamed summit 12,417ft is class 2 and the summit block is Class 4.

The Traverse continues East across the pass overlooking the Cottonwood Lakes Region, up and on top of another unnamed peak 12,330ft. Strangely, this summit is littered with over 20 reflectors. Yes, reflectors.

Then head South-South-East down the very loose ridgeline back down to camp.
Crossing straight down the South face of these peaks to retreat back to the Lake Camp is very difficult, loose and steep talus. The Ridge provides great views and better rock quality.

Overall- Class 3

Getting There

Please see the Cottonwood Lakes Trailhead Page HERE

Essential Gear

No rope or rack required. Good approach or hiking shoes that you can do some scrambling in with exposure.

Topozone Map

Red tape

Permits are required for overnight use.
Contact the Inyo Forest Station for permits.
Bear Canisters are required. Also, as always, leave no trace!
Chicken Springs Lake sees alot of use from the busy nearby trails, and is still very clean. Help keep it that way!

External Links

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