Finger Peak is the beautiful peak that stands at the head of Blue Canyon, a remote and rarely visited canyon in Kings Canyon National Park. The peak doesn't have the same historical significance as nearby Tunemah Peak
--but on the other hand, it looks good from every angle, it's a far more prominent peak than Tunemah when viewed from the Monarch Divide across the Middle Fork Kings River, and the climbing is far better than is found on its neighbouring peaks. Despite all these positive attributes, the peak sees only one or two visitors a year--yet another plus for those seeking out untrammeled summits. The relative lack of popularity of the peak is probably explained by the length of the approach. Like Tunemah Peak, this is one of the most remote peaks in the High Sierra, with even the shortest approach still involving a round trip hike of some fifty miles.
The peak's northwest ridge is an easy but enjoyable class 3 scramble; any difficulties are avoided by keeping slightly to the south side of the ridge. This ridge is usually reached from Cathedral Lake by climbing a chute or buttress to the crest of the ridge; it can also be reached easily by hiking across slabs and tundra from the vicinity of Mantle Pass. (Only the uppermost portion of the ridge below the summit is class 3). The south ridge is class 3, the east ridge is class 2 (or class 3 if the ridge is followed strictly), and the southeast slopes are sandy class 2.
The summit block overhangs the dramatically steep north face, and is climbed via its south or east side (arguably easy third class). Like all true mountains, the summit is small, with room for only a couple of people at a time.
Finger Peak is typically climbed in conjunction with Tunemah Peak by peakbaggers working on the SPS list
. Consult the Tunemah Peak page for details on the traverse between the peaks.
Like Tunemah Peak, Finger Peak is best reached out of Wishon Reservoir, via either the Woodchuck Trail or the Rancheria Trail. Follow the detailed driving directions
to get to either of these trailheads.
Rancheria Trail (Blue Canyon or Crown Creek):
The obvious approach is to follow the old Blue Canyon trail; any of the peak's northwest ridge, south ridge, southeast slopes, or east ridge can be easily reached from the broad upper reaches of Blue Canyon. However, this trail hasn't been maintained in many years, passes through miles of boring forest, and is very difficult to follow in places. An easier, more scenic approach is to hike from Crown Valley up the Coyote Pass/Mountain Meadow trail, leaving the trail where it crosses Crown Creek. A pleasant cross-country hike up Crown Creek to Hummingbird Lake leads to Mantle Pass. The northwest ridge or south ridge are easily reached after crossing this pass. Consult the Tunemah Peak page for more details on this approach.
Woodchuck Trail (Crown Pass/Midway Lake):
This may be the easiest approach to the peak if it's climbed in isolation--the trails are more heavily traveled than the Blue Canyon trail, especially by stock, and are probably much easier to follow--but it's slightly longer if climbing Tunemah as well. Follow the trail through Woodchuck Country to Crown Pass, and on over Scepter Pass to Midway Lake. Cathedral Lake is a short, easy cross-country hike from here.
Red Tape, Conditions, When To Climb, etc.
The peak is subject to the same red tape and conditions as Tunemah Peak. Please refer to that page
Midway Lake or Cathedral Lake are popular basecamps for climbs of Finger Peak.
"Probably named by the USGS in the 1907-09 survey for the Mt. Goddard
30' map. It is on the first edition of that map (1912), but is not in J. N. LeConte's 'Elevations.'"
- Peter Browning, Place Names of the Sierra Nevada