Point 12744 is the north summit of the Thompson Ridge in the eastern Sierra Nevada near Bishop, California. It rises precipitously to the south of George Lake in the John Muir Wilderness, and is a notable landmark above the Tyee Lakes Trail, accessible from the South Lake area and Lake Sabrina. While it appears like a peak, it only has a prominence of about 200'. It rises above Thompson Lake.
Point 12744 viewed from the Bishop Pass trail above South Lake
Perched within a mountain wilderness surrounded by 13,000’+ peaks, the views are tremendous. It is accessible via a short approach route from the Tyee Lakes Trailhead off South Lake Road, and requires class 2 scrambling to reach the summit. The north summit is lower than other summits on the ridge, which continues on another 2 1/2 miles south to Mount Thompson 13,494’.
The best time to hike in this area is July through early October. The roads to Lake Sabrina and South Lake are closed in winter, and snow is abundant in spring and late fall.
There are two primary trailheads for this peak, both requiring a similar hiking distance and elevation gain. The first trailhead is the Tyee Lakes trailhead off South Lake Road, and the second is at Lake Sabrina.
To get to the Tyee Lakes trailhead off of South Lake Road, take route 168 from Bishop at West Line Street, and continue for about 14 miles to the turn off to South Lake Road. Get on South Lake Road and drive about 4½ miles up to a parking area on the right side of the road. It is marked as the Tyee Lakes Trailhead. The elevation here is about 9,055’.
To get to Lake Sabrina, continue past the South Lake Road turn off and follow for another 4½ miles to the lake. The trail starts on the north end of the lake at a little over 9,100’.
South Lake Road
From the Tyee Lakes Trailhead off South Lake Road follow the trail as it switchbacks steeply up through the forest. After about 1½ miles you pass the first lake on the left. You pass a second lake on your left, and then a third lake on your right. Continue along the trail as it heads to a fourth lake on your left. You will see a low point on the ridge directly ahead of you (directly west). Leave the trail and climb up the ridge, which is class 2 scrambling.
The low point on the ridge. Point 12744 in the distance.
Once at the low point on the ridge, head to the left (south). Scramble up a couple hundred feet, and the terrain levels out. Peak 12,744 is directly in front of you. There is a bump below it on the left side. Head up the bump where you will run into Thompson Lake. Head straight up the south face of Peak 12,744, and rely as much as possible on the rocky areas. Avoid the sand. Don’t climb to the west ridge above the lake. That is mostly sand, and is better used for the descent.
The total round trip hiking distance from the Tyee Lakes Trailhead off South Lake Road is about 9 miles round trip. One way elevation gain is about 3750’.
Near the summit of Point 12744. Cloudripper 13,525' seen at the right of the photo
From Lake Sabrina take the main trail around the east side of the lake. Near the south end of the lake, the trail splits. The trail heads east towards George Lake Camp and the Tyee Lakes. Take this trail until you reach George Lake. Leave the trail and head directly up the canyon to a saddle between the Thompson Ridge and Peak 11938. Bringing a topographic map is recommended for anyone taking this route. The topographic map below shows the basic route once you leave the trail.
Topographic map showing the approximate route from George Lake to the summit.
Now at roughly the same point as described in the first route, head up the bump, away from the lake and up the south face to the summit.
This route is about 9 miles round trip, with a one way elevation gain of about 3,700’.
Wilderness permits are required for overnight camping. There is a wilderness permit quota in effect from May 1st to November 1st. 60% is advance reservation and 40% is available on a first come first serve basis. Day use parking availability varies depending on how busy it is. Typically, finding parking at the Tyee Lakes Trailhead or Lake Sabrina won’t be a problem. There is usually no cost for day use parking.
There are several campgrounds in the Lake Sabrina and South Lake areas. These include campgrounds at Four Jeffrey, North Lake, Lake Sabrina, and at South Lake. Campsites fill up quickly, so it is recommended to reserve camping spots in advance, especially on busy summer weekends. For more information, see the Inyo National Forest Campgrounds site or call Inyo National Forest in Bishop at 760-873-2400.