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Finger Rock is a little-known, beautiful, featured peak located a few miles south of Courtwright Reservoir on the western slope of California's High Sierra.
It first attracted the attention of climbers with the ascent of the South Face route (5.8 A3) by the ubiquitous and energetic Fred Beckey.
The next technical route, Boldfinger, rated 5.10, was established by Richard Leversee and Mark Leffler.
Finger Rock, due to the nature of its monolithic, featured rock, presents the opportunity, as yet seldom-tapped, for high quality technical rockclimbing routes in a wilderness setting.
I first saw Finger Rock decades ago when Pat Brennan and I hiked into the Obelisk on a Blitzkreig-style (as was our strategy in those days) second ascent of Bartlett's "Hands of Fate" route on the Obelisk.
Having summitted, we then climbed Spanish Mountain to round out the day, But Wait!!! we still have a few hours of light left!
So, we started the hike out.
Next morning, a few miles into our exit, I saw this incredible blade of rock peeking out between the trees. Shortly thereafter, I was distracted by a bear, and thought nothing more of the spire until in the late 20th century Pat and I were looking for routes with possibilities for a FFA (First Free Ascent). Finger Rock came to mind.
Once we hiked into the neighborhood, we realized what a treasure we had discovered.
During the course of 12 hours, Pat and I freed the Beckey route, established our own route "Pull my Finger" on the West Face, and *noticed* the broad expanse of granite to the west of us, where we would later spend much time establishing one of the Sierra's premier backcountry climbing areas, Hoffman Mountain South Face.
We go back each year.
In the Autumn, when the Elderberries are in fruit.
Hope to see you there.
From Wishon Reservoir drive to the Rancheria Creek trailhead. After about two miles, the trail splits. The righthand fork leads to Woodchuck Country. The sign at this trail junction vanished in August '06 after the tree to which it was attached fell over. Interestingly enough, a new sign placed by the USFS vanished while we were there in September '08: The sign was there when we went in, but hiking out we noticed that it was gone. Methinks someone wants this area to themselves. Hmmmm. About two and a half miles up the left hand fork puts you below Finger Rock.
Wilderness permits are required and can be obtained at the Dinkey Creek Ranger Station. The station opens at 08:00 hrs. during the summer months.
This peak is located in the John Muir Wilderness. Good campsites can be found near Little Rancheria Creek, with plentiful water and firewood.
From the north, the summit of Finger Rock is a class 3 scramble.
Routes, from left to right when looking up at the rock from Rancheria Creek:
Pull My Finger, located on the West Face, is Grade II 5.7.
South Arete is III 5.9+ R.
Beckey South Face route, originally rated III 5.8 A3, goes free at 5.8.
The Proctologist is III 5.8 or 5.9
Boldfinger, by far the steepest line yet climbed on the peak, is 5.10
Descriptions and/or topos and photos of most of these will follow as I locate them.
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