Hiking to Mt Abbot

Notes by piero scaruffi | Travel resources | Other California destinations | Other California trails
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Mt Abbot (4,177m) can be hiked from Mosquito Flat on the Mono Pass trail via Ruby Lake and Mills Lake. You can see its flat-topped summit from Ruby Lake. After about one hour, leave the trail that goes to Mono Pass at the sign for Ruby Lake. At the very beginning of the lake, look for an easy passage to the south side of the creek. Then head west up the canyon. After about an hour you reach Lake Mills, which is really two lakes in one, a lower and an upper one connected by water stairways. You can hike on either side of the lake. The south (left) side has a ridge that avoids quite a bit of bouldering, but it involves a few ups and downs. The north (right) side has grassy sections but it enters the glacier from an inconvenient direction. The one thing i don't recommend is to stay in the moraine above Lake Mills, which is made of loose boulders and scree. Once you are near in the glacier, head for the big (eastern) couloir. The easiest approach is from the left, then traversing to the right of the couloir at an height that allows to climb the rocks to the right. There are lots of cairns that mark the way up. The scree is relentless but you can find ways to minimize the slipping. When you reach the summit plateau, turn left and head for the blade. I read much about the thrilling exposure, but there are ways to avoid the blade. Mostly, drop to your right. There's one brief section when you need to drop to the left. I never had more than two meters of exposure, despite descriptions i had read of hundreds of meters of exposure. Once on the other side of the blade, turn right towards the real summit.
  • Mosquito Flat to Ruby Lake): 3.5 kms (1h15')
  • Ruby Lake to Mills Lake: 2 kms (1h15')
  • Mills Lake to Mt Abbot's glacier: 1.5 kms (1h 30')
  • Mt Abbot's glacier to class-2 route: 0.5 kms (1h 30')
  • Class-2 route to the plateau: 0.3 kms (1h)
  • Plateau to summit: 0.4 kms (15')
Pictures of this hike
Ansel Adams Wilderness' Weather