Situated just a short nautical mile northeast of Mount Darwin and the Evolution ridgeline, Mount Tom Ross is an often overlooked objective compared to its well-sought after neighbors to the west (both Darwin and Mendel). This peak, named after Bishop resident/photographer/mountaineer Tom Ross, has a character all its own and its profile on the Sierra skyline is nothing to scoff at. It's pronounced summit, impressive sheer north face and an enticing North Ridge are natural magnets to lure the curious and the adventure seekers. In addtion to its own features, it offers a piece of a geologic puzzle that would pose as a grand mountaineers challenge: 'The Tom Ross Traverse'....a route along the north-south ridgeline that follows though Tom Ross, from Mount Lamarck to Mount Darwin, ultimately ending at the Evolution Traverse. There are no recorded ascents to this date. Any takers? ;)
How To Get To Mount Tom RossDirections to Tom Ross's North Side:
Take Highway 168 from the town of Bishop, heading west. Follow the highway, passing the small community of Aspendelle along the way, until the North Lake Road is reached (approx. 12 miles from Bishop). Turn right onto the North Lake Road and drive to the designated North Lake TH parking lot (approx 2.5 miles). Hike from the parking area to the the Lamarck Lake TH (approx. 3/4 mile). Do not park at the North Lake campground parking area as this is designated ONLY for campers who have paid for sites near the trailhead. You will be cited if you have not paid for a site and parked in a designated site parking spot. From the trailhead, hike up to the Lamarck Col (approx. 5.5 miles) and scramble south along the ridgeline leading to Tom Ross (see 'North Ridge'
route description). For other references, see R. J. Secors 'The High Sierra, Peaks, Passes and Trails' guide book. Use the Mt. Darwin and Mt. Thompson 7.5 minute USGS quadrangles as a map reference.
Directions to Tom Ross's South Side:
Take Highway 168 from the town of Bishop, heading west. Follow Hwy 168, passing the small community of Aspendelle along the way, until the Lake Sabrina Road is reached. Turn left onto this road and follow this road to the Lake Sabrina trailhead (approx. 18.5 miles up Highway 168 from Bishop). The trailhead is BEFORE the Lake Sabrina dam on the left side of the road. Overnight parking is 3/4 mile down the road at the turnoff to North Lake. Dayhikers can park next to the trailhead if space is available. From the Lake Sabrina TH, follow the trail to Blue Lake taking the right fork to Dingleberry Lake. As one passes Dingleberry Lake, take the right fork to Midnight Lake (the left fork goes to Hungry Packer Lake). Midnight Lake is approx. 8.0 miles from the TH, and marks the end of the maintained trail. Pass Midnight Lake on the north and west side, heading up the canyon to Blue Heaven Lake. These series of lakes are also called 'Hell Diver Lakes' on USGS maps. Upon arrival of the outlet of Blue Heaven Lake, head north up ever steepening terrain to the obvious south slopes of Mount Tom Ross.
Wilderness permits are required for overnight stays in the Inyo National Forest. Permits can be obtained at the Forest Service office in Bishop. Parking is free at the Sabrina Lake and North Lake trailheads. Do not park in the day use areas for overnight trips.
Everything you need to know about permits and regulations can be found on the Eastern Sierra - Logisitcal Center
When To Climb
Although Mount Tom Ross can be climbed throughout the year, the best time to climb this wonderful peak is during the summer and fall months. With that thought in mind, be aware of the always eminent threat of thunderstorms and lightning. Use common sense if a storm is looming.....the peak will always be there another day!