Hiking to Mt Barnard's Citadel via Wales Lake and Lake Wallace in the Eastern Sierra

Notes by piero scaruffi | Other California destinations | California hikes | The Sierra mountains

Wales Lake (3573m) and Wallace Lake (3497m) are rarely visited lakes in the Mt Whitney region.

You start from Whitney Portal and follow the route to the base of Mt Morgenson but you continue past Morgenson towards Wales Lake, and descend the gentle slope towards its eastern shore. On the way you pass Mt Tunnabora (4135m), which lies to the right of Tulainyo Lake, Mt Russell (4294m), which lies to your left, Mt Morgenson (4245m), a little further down from Mt Russell, and you have a view of Mt Barnard (4264m) further down. When you read the lakes, you have impressive views of Mt Hale. The price you pay for entering this remote region is the Carillon-Cleaver pass (3980m) and bouldering down Lake Tulainyo (3908m).

From Wales Lake you can also visit the Inka-like "citadel" of Mt Barnard (which a geologist told me was nature-made, but you judge for yourself when you get there). Remaining higher than Wales Lake, pass Mt Wallace on your right and head towards the southwestern slope of Mt Barnard.

The "citadel" soon becomes visible:

It is one of the most amazing sights of the Eastern Sierra, whether man-made or nature-made:

  • Whitney Portal
  • First lake 1h30'
  • Small plateau 2h30'
  • Big plateau 3h30'
  • Chute 4h30'
  • Pass (4000m) 5h15'
  • Lake Tulainyo (3908m) 5h30'
  • Descend towards Wales Lake (3573m) 6h30'
  • Promontory between Wales Lake and Wallace Lake (3497m) 7h
  • Southwest slope of Mt Barnard 7h30'
  • Citadel 8h30'
Coming back you can either climb the same pass or climb the Russell-Carillon pass and connect with the Whitney Mountaineering route:

  • Pictures of this hike
  • Weather forecast
  • View from the top of Mt Morgenson (video)
  • Lake Tulainyo (video)
    Note: as of 2008 the unelected officials who run the unelected officials of the Inyo National Forest (paid with your tax money) have extended the "Whitney Zone" to the entire Whitney mountaineering route above the Lower Boyscout lake. Hiking to Lake Tulainyo requires a Mt Whitney permit (yes, even for a day hike). The route that i described here does enter the Whitney Zone. Please petition your Congress representative to dissolve the Inyo National Forest and return the wilderness to wilderness lovers.