This prominant mountain has also been nicknamed "mono mesa" on some maps since the top of the mountain is relatively flat. Not too many people seem to climb this mountain, which is kind of odd since it is so close to a popular trailhead. I must have counted no more than 2 dozen log entries in the summit register. The easiest route to the top is a long class 2 climb (almost 2000 feet from the base) up a sandy shoot on the east side of the peak. It is also said to be a class 3 traverse from half moon pass to the summit plateau, and there are also several class 5+ multi pitch climbs on the north side of the mountain just above lake patricia.
from 395 northbound, make a left at Rock Creek Lakes road turnoff about a half an hour north of Bishop. From there, drive up the windy two lane road about eight miles until you see Rock Creek Lakes Resort on the right hand side. Just a quarter of a mile up the road from there you will come to some parking spaces on the right hand side. This is where you will want to park to climb the east side of the mountain. From this parking lot, follow the small creek that flows under the parking spaces upstream for about a mile until you get into the bowl below half moon pass (there is a little bit of bushwacking through some dwarfed aspen, but the rest of the way is free of brush). From the center of the bowl, head southward toward the mountain and then once you get to the base of the south side, traverse around to the east side of the mountain until you come to the base of the two sand shoots (this traverse from the creek avoids a lot of bushwacking that you would encounter if you had hiked directly to the base from the parking lot). I would Recommend climbing the sand shoot on the far left side of the mountains east face since the other one has some class 3 rock towards the top.
As I can recall, you only need a permit for backpacking overnight. day hiking permits or parking permits are not required for this trailhead. The trailhead is closed from the first major snowstorm, usually in november, until the snow melts in april or may, depending on the winter snowpack. The forest service only plows the road up to the East fork campground in the wintertime, which is miles down the road from the trailhead.
When To Climb
I recommend climbing the mountain in august or september when most of the snow has melted off the mountain. Caution should be taken for winter ascents of the mountain due to high risks for avalanches in this area. Years ago, a major avalanche tumbled off of nearby Mt. Starr and destroyed dozens of trees in its path and flattened the bathrooms at the mosquito flats campground.
camping is allowed in several campsites located up and down the canyon from the trailhead. Most are first come first serve with a few spaces you can reserve ahead of time. Most of the campgrounds have flush toilets and water and run usually between 13 and 15 dollars a night depending on the season. Most of the campgrounds are closed in the wintertime. You can backpack to the top of the mountain and camp on the summit plateau, but you will need to get an overnight permit since the mountain is located in the wilderness area. You can get overnight permits at the white mountain ranger station located in the town of Bishop.
the best websight with the most up to date info is at www.rockcreeklake.com which also has other eastern sierra information links and telephone numbers.