Homers Nose is a very infrequently visited and remote peak in the Sequoia National Park. The peak sees about 3-4 parties a year. Although the peak itself is not a hard climb, it is well known among Sierra Club circles for its long, arduous, brush-heavy approaches.
All routes involve significant cross country travel, and only experienced hikers with good navigational skills should attempt it. In jest, it has been labeled "extreme class 1," or "1.11d" by its easiest routes. Regardless, it is a fine peak with nice hiking along forested slopes.
There are some fine technical routes that have been pioneered on the Nose's sheer faces. These are published in Vernon, Moser and Hickey's Southern Sierra Rock Climbing: Sequoia/Kings Canyon
The views from the summit span far and wide all the way down to the Central Valley.
Homer’s Nose can be approached via 3 different routes:
1. South Fork Kaweah River: 15 miles, 6,500' gain RT
Take Hwy 99 north towards Bakersfield. Pass through Bakersfield and continue on towards Visalia. Exit east on Hwy 198 into Visalia. Continue through the city on the 198. Once the freeway ends, there are a couple of flashing lights so you don't drive through the stop signs in the dense fog. Continue heading out of town on the 198 past Hwy 245. As soon as you pass the Three Rivers golf course, head right on South Fork Drive. Follow this road along the S Fork of the Kaweah River for about 13 miles to the end. The Ladybug trailhead for Homer’s Nose continues up-canyon from the parking area. For map-points and more detail, check out
2. Mineral King Approach: 38 mi, 6,200’ RT
Take Hwy 99 north towards Bakersfield. Pass through Bakersfield and continue on towards Visalia. Exit east on Hwy 198 into Visalia. Stay on Hwy 198 as it climbs into the Sierra foothills and passes Lake Kaweah and the town of Three Rivers. Shortly after passing through Three Rivers take the right hand turn to Mineral King. This very slow and winding road will bring you to Mineral King in about an hour. From the Cold Springs Campground, the Tar Gap Trail leads to Hockett Meadows.
3. Case Mountain Route:
This route involves passing through private property and BLM land. See Ron Hudson’ report
and Mark Adrian’s report
Permits are required for all overnight camping. Backcountry permits are free, first come first served. Reservations cost $15, regardless of party size. There are a few campgrounds in Mineral King that are $15/night: Cold Springs and Atwell Mill.
When To Climb
May through October. The winter months see snow, however, a winter approach is certainly possible. To my knowledge, there has been none so far. Mosquitoes are the largest concern in early-mid summer.
Permits are required for all overnight camping. Backcountry permits
are free, first come first served. Reservations cost $15, regardless of party size. There are a few campgrounds in Mineral King that are $12/night: Cold Springs and Atwell Mill.
The NWS Forecast
is the most reliable source of weather information for the Sierra.
Mineral King is notorious for marmots eating rubber hoses and/or wiring on your vehicles. They can disable a vehicle. They will also get under your hood. We will need to check under our hoods before driving off. I have heard of two ways to protect against marmot damage.
1. bring chicken wire and fence it around your car.
2. another method is to buy a large plastic tarp, put it under your vehicle, then tie it up around your car with rope or wire.
The marmot problem is most severe in spring, between May and June or so. Your best bet is to contact the rangers at Mineral King
for current conditions.
I have also heard of instances where marmots have gnawed on thermarest pads and sleeping pads, so consider keeping these items safe if you plan on backpacking and heading off for a dayhike leaving your stuff behind.