“Ruby Peak” is the high point along the ridge leading north from Mt. Mills
to Mono Pass, and is 0.75 miles southwest of Ruby Lake above the Little Lakes Valley in the Inyo National Forest. It is one of the closest California Thirteeners
to a high trailhead (Mosquito Flat, 10,200+ ft), though its easiest route is class 3.
The east ridge is fairly solid with lovely extended class 3 sections and moderate exposure. The route finding is enjoyable, and the summit wonderfully airy, with excellent views of The Bear Creek Spire
, Mt. Abbot
and Mt. Mills
nearby, Mt. Humphreys
further, and the Palisades
in the distance. As Secor
notes, there is a small face a few hundred feet up the route (just poking above left skyline in main image
) which is easily passed by following a ramp to its left (south) side.
The east face of the ridge connecting “Ruby Peak” and “Ruby Mesa”
is known as the “Ruby Wall”, and provides numerous rock climbing routes (most 5.10, IV) toward the 13,125 foot summit at the southeast corner of “Ruby Mesa”.
Take 395 to Tom’s Place, then turn south on Rock Creek Road and follow this to the very end, where there is a backpacker parking lot at the aptly named Mosquito Flat (10,200+ ft). From here, take the Little Lakes Valley trail for 0.5 miles (10,440+ ft), then turn right on the Mono Pass Trail. The east side is accessed from Ruby Lake (at 11,121' on a side trail about a mile from the Little Lakes Valley trail junction).
I highly recommend R. J. Secor’s The High Sierra, Peaks Passes & Trails
(now in its third edition). This is the definitive climbing guide to the Sierra and was the source for many of the details on my SummitPost pages.
Like most places in the Sierra, you need a Wilderness Permit for overnight camping in the summer. The Little Lakes valley is a fairly high use area, so book your trip early. That said, unless you’re also attempting the higher peaks at the head of the Little Lakes Valley (Mills, Abbot, Dade, and the Bear Creek Spire), Ruby can easily be done as a day hike from Mosquito Flat.
Detailed information on permits, regulations and trailhead access can be found on Matthew Holliman’s excellent Eastern Sierra logistics page
This is a gorgeous area, so I would highly recommend staying at least one night. Ruby Lake is an obvious choice, but there are also decent sites about 50-100' up the east ridge, where wind may help control the bugs (and it’s easy to retrieve water from the small lake just below in the saddle).