Mt. Mallory is located along a ridge on the Sierra Crest less than three miles south of Mt. Whitney in the Meysan Lake area. It forms part of the border between the John Muir Wilderness in Inyo National Forest and Sequoia National Park. Despite its close location to its popular neighbor, Mt. Mallory and Meysan Lake receive many fewer visitors and feel more like a wilderness. It is a beautiful but overlooked area in the Whitney Portal region. It makes a nice multi-peakbagging day with nearby Mts. Irvine, LeConte, and Corcoran.
Norman Clyde first climbed Mt. Mallory in June 1925, and named this peak and neighboring Mt. Irvine that year in honor of the famous mountaineers who died while climbing Mt. Everest--George Leigh Mallory and Andrew Irvine. The Peak offers fine views of Mt. Whitney and much of the Whitney region. There are two class 2 routes from Meysan Lake and Class 2 routes up the West Slope and from Arc Pass. See R.J. Secor, The High Sierra: Peaks, Passes, and Trails, or Steve Roper, The Climber’s Guide to the High Sierra (out of print), for additional information on routes.
The trailhead starts at the Whitney Portal Campground. To reach Whitney Portal, take the Whitney Portal Road west from Lone Pine. There is a turnout at the Meysan Lake trailhead about 0.9 mile east of the road’s end. Park in the turnout near the sign marking the Meysan Lake trailhead. The turnout and sign are on the south side of the road above the east side of the Whitney Portal Campground.
Hike across the campground along a series of paved driveways and follow the signs carefully through a summer home area. The trail soon leaves the summer homes and enters the John Muir Wilderness. There are good views of Lone Pine Peak along the trail. At 11,150 feet the trail reaches a flat area near a small tarn and a small creek. From here the route to the Lake is along a ducked use trail. The trail climbs 3600 feet total before reaching Meysan Lake at 11,450 feet.
Unlike permits for hikes in the Mt. Whitney basin, overnight wilderness permits for Meysan Lake are much easier to obtain. However, advanced reservations are still recommended, especially for weekends and holidays, because the trailhead is subject to a use quota. Permits may be reserved for $5/person. Information on wilderness permits is available online. Or, contact Inyo National Forest at (760) 876-6200 for more information. No permit is needed for dayhiking.
Do not store any scented items in your car while hiking. Bears commonly break into cars at the Whitney Portal in pursuit of food. Contact Inyo National Forest for more information.
Dogs are prohibited on the Sequoia National Park side of the Sierra Crest.
When To Climb
July-October is the best time to climb.
Meysan Lake is a great location to camp, although the short four-mile hike can be arduous because of the 3,600 feet elevation gain. The Whitney Portal campground is also a convenient base camp, although it is often full. You can reserve campsites in advance. Inyo National Forest has online information on campgrounds available. There are also campgrounds located in nearby BLM lands that are often free and less crowded, including Tuttle Creek.
Sequoia National Park visitor information: (559) 565-3341
Inyo National Forest visitor information: (760) 876-6200