Mount Winchell stands high in the Sierra Nevada mountains to the north of North Palisade, Starlight Peak and Thunderbolt Peak. Elisha Winchell named the peak for his cousin Alexander who was a geology professor at Michigan. Routes include the popular East Arete (Class 3), the Southeast Face (Class 3-4), the West Arete (5.8) and the Northwest Ridge (5.8).
Mt. Winchell is located in the Palisade region of the Sierra Nevada. To access the eastern routes drive to the end of the road in Glacier Canyon (Big Pine Creek). Follow the north fork (of Big Pine Creek) past first, second, and third lakes. When you come to the junction with the Sam Mack Meadows trail follow that trail to the meadows. Climb any of the chutes that leaves the meadows and head toward the Thunderbolt Glacier. Mount Winchell is to the north of Thunderbolt Peak.
The access to the western routes on Mount Winchell can be achieved by taking Bishop Pass to the Dusy Basin area. To get there, one takes the South Lake Road which leaves Highway 168 approximately fifteen miles from Bishop. From the trailhead at South Lake the trail climbs gradually to join the junction with the Treasure Lakes trail at one mile (10,240 feet). The Bishop Pass Trail goes left and continues to climb. After this the trail follows the eastern aspect of the picturesque Long Lake. After passing Saddlerlock and Bishop Lake, many switchbacks lead to the summit of Bishop Pass (11,960 feet). Then one descends into Dusy Basin which is the stepping off point to the western aspect of Winchell
Permits are required. Please get your permits at the Inyo National Forest station in Bishop.
When To Climb
Summer and fall are the best seasons to climb. Avalanche danger is high in the winter.
Camping is possible at Sam Mack Meadows (running water, campsites, and trees). One can also camp on the Thunderbolt glacier or moraine.