Mt Hawkins

Notes by piero scaruffi | Travel resources | Other California destinations | Other California trails
Pictures of the hikes

Mt Hawkins (4064m) is a mountain that doesn't exist. No map shows it. No book describes it. And, still, it offers one of the best views of the Evolution region, and the best views i've seen of Mt Darwin, Mt Haeckel and Mt Spencer. The trail starts at Lake Sabrina. The trailhead for the Lake Sabrina routes is located before the Lake Sabrina dam on the left-hand side of the road. There are very few parking spots and overnight parking is not allowed. There is free parking on the road near the campground (about 1km before the dam).

Lake Sabrina is located at the end of 168, west of Bishop, about 1.5 hours driving time south of Mono Lake, i.e. 6/7 hours from the Bay Area. From Bishop, take 168 west, aka West Line St, all the way to the end.

After coasting Lake Sabrina (2780m) for about 1.5 km, the trail climbs steeeply to Blue Lake. Logs help you cross the creek that drains Blue Lake. Take the right turn towards Dingleberry Lake. It is very easy to make a mistake here, as the trail disappears and only cairns mark the route: you should be turning 90 degrees west away from the lake if you are on the right trail. This devastatingly stupid trail goes up and down. It drops elevation to Dingleberry Lake.

Mt Hawkins to the left and Mt Darwin to the right from the trail down below:

After this lake, one has a choice. One can go left to Hungry Packer Lake, or right to Midnight Lake (3300m). There is an easy way to gain the ridge between to two thus saving quite a bit of time. Ideally do not reach Midnight Lake, but head for the ridge to your left as soon as you can. You can easily find the chute that leads you to the top.

In 2010 i left lots of cairns along my favorite route, which is all class 1-2. At the top of that broad chute (that splits the ridge in two) climb the crest to your right and stay on the crest all the way. When you reach a pinnacle, bypass it to the left. On the other side of the pinnacle you will notice the very steep chute that descends straight to Midnight Lake. (When coming back down, head for the pinnacle.

At the pinnacle you could take the very steep chute down to Midnight Lake. Just keep in mind that there is always snow in this chute and you reach Midnight Lake's western tip, which implies a long traverse over talus rock to reach the trail. Better bypass the pinnacle and stay on the crest. Stay right in the middle of the crest and you should find my cairns. Ignore any small chute. The chute you want splits the crest in two causing a 100-meter chasm.

Drop into that chasm and it should be obvious how to descend the chute to your left. Again, look for my cairns that avoid all the snow patches and take you past Midnight Lake. If you continue straight down, you will hit the lake northeast of Midnight Lake and don't forget that the trail is on the other side of this lake).

At this point you are entering a plateau (actually up and down) with several small lakes with Mt Haeckel towering on the left.

Just before the last lake, which is just before Mt Haeckel, you will see Mt Hawkins on your right. You can take any route to the top. They are all class 3 at the end. For example this chute and then climb the crest to the right.

The summit is the round boulder.

In 2010 I left a waterproof envelop to start a register. Descending on the northern side is tricky to say the least. There is a glacier on the north side. If you follow the crest east (with better and better views of Mt Darwin's east face), you will find two chutes that are class 2 towards the glacier (the easiest one is a pass that is aligned with Mt Heackel's southern ridge) However, they soon take you to ice and firm snow. If you can survive the glacier, you will reach a moraine and eventually the slopes northwest of Dangleberry Lake. You can find several ways to get down to Dangleberry Lake as more and more trees facilitate the descent. Once at the lake, head for the other side and you'll hit the tral.

  • Lake Sabrina (2780m):
  • Northern tip of Sabrina and beginning of the switchbacks: 30'
  • Creek crossing and Blue Lake: 1h 30'
  • Dingleberry lake and long creek crossing (3200m): 2h
  • Fork to Midnight Lake and Hungry Packer lake: 2h 30'
  • Top of ridge at the pinnacle: 4h
  • Leaving the drainage before the last lake: 5h
  • Mt Hawkins' summit: 6.5h