Independence Peak is located in the Sierra Nevada mountains of California. It lies east of the Sierra Crest not far from the Onion Valley/Kearsarge pass Trailhead. This mountain is named for the town of Independence along the 395 in Owens Valley, and it is a striking site when viewed from town. Although it is a smaller mountain compared to it's neighbors, it is a fun class 3 climb that can be easily done in a day from Onion Valley. The views of the valley and University Peak are great. Except for maybe Dragon Peak, I think it is probably one of the more interesting climbs in the Onion Valley area, despite it's lower elevation.
Take the Onion Valley road out of the town of Indepedence along the 395 in Owen's Valley. Go for 14 miles to the hiker's parking area. If you plan to car camp, go past the hiking area 0.25 miles to the camp ground. This is a pretty campground, especially in spring or early summer when the aspen trees are all green and full.
You'll want to make a campground reservation somewhat in advance to make sure you'll get a spot. It's a small campground and can fill out pretty fast. At the time of this writing, Robinson Lake is a non-quota trail, but it is a popular overnight destination area. However, it is a beautiful lake to set up camp by, if you want to backpack rather than day hike.
When To Climb
May through October is best, but it can be climbed year round. However, one time when I climbed in May, the Class 3 sections were snow covered making for more of an exciting climb than I wanted.
As mentioned above, Onion Valley Campground is the preferred spot. If you want to backpack, Robinson Lake is a real pretty spot. You'll have some backtracking starting from there on your climb though.
From Bob Burd's Web Site (Bob Burd
"'Camp Independence' was established and named by Lt.-Colonel George Spafford Evans, of the second Cavalry, on Independence Day, July 4, 1862. (Letter cited in Cragen, p. 25.) The creek was called 'Little Pine Creek' from the time of the first settlers (Charles Putnam, in 1861) until the fourth edition of the Mt. Whitney 30' map, 1919, when it received its present name. The peak was named on the first edition of that map, 1907, possibly by the USGS during the survey in 1905."
- Peter Browning, Place Names of the Sierra Nevada