Mt Wallace, Evolution region

Notes by piero scaruffi | California hikes
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Mt Wallace (4077 m) is one of the peaks of the Evolution region in the Eastern Sierras. It can be reached from Lake Sabrina (2780m) via Echo Lake (3536m).

Lake Sabrina (2780m) is located at the end of 168, west of Bishop. From Bishop take 168 west, aka West Line St, all the way to the end.

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 along the road near the campground (about 1km before the dam).

After coasting Lake Sabrina for about 2 kms, the trail climbs steeeply to Blue Lake. Logs help you cross the creek that drains Blue Lake. At the fork for Donkey Lake take the right turn towards Dingleberry Lake. Careful not to end up at Donkey 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 frustrating trail goes up and down. It drops elevation to Dingleberry Lake, that will be on your right handside. After passing this lake, and after another creek crossing over stones, you reach another fork. You can go left to Hungry Packer Lake, or right to Midnight Lake (3300m).

Take the trail on the left to Hungry Packer Lake for about 30 minutes until the trail hits a wide creek (ignore any tiny seasonal creek).

Leave the trail and head straight for Moonlight Lake through a moraine (pile of boulders) that cuts the ridge in front of you in half. Between you and this moraine there should be a little lake. Stay on its right side while heading for the moraine.

You should hit Moolight Lake approximately in the middle. Head upstream along the creek that feeds this lake. If you see any other creek on that side of the lake, it's a seasonal one: take the first one. It is also the only one that comes down from a canyon as opposed to a steep mountain slope.

There is a use-trail on the right side of Moonlight Lake but you will lose it because it is in terrible conditions, especially when the bouldering begins. Alternatively, you can just walk along the creek that feeds this lake: it comes down from Echo Lake. The saddle above you is actually a narrow gorge with some pretty waterfalls. Best is that you avoid the gorge: the use-trail actually climbs to its right.

Stay high above Echo Lake and start turning right into the canyon that leads to Mt Wallace and Mt Haeckel. This canyon keeps turning right slightly and ascending. It is a lot of bouldering but, by staying high, you are basically taking a short cut. The mountain to your right is not Haeckel. You don't see Haeckel until almost the end of the canyon but you do see Mt Wallace from Echo Lake. Wallace Col (3950m) is the long saddle south of Mt Wallace. You can climb Mt Wallace form either side but the left (north) side is easier. The right (south) side makes sense only if you are coming from Wallace Col. The climb is fairly uneventful except for the very summit block, that requires some class-3 moves (and some route scouting if you reach the summit from the west).

The traverse to Mt Haeckel is neither easy nor safe nor quick. The ridge connecting the two mountains takes easily one hour. Ascending the southern ridge of Mt Haeckle is, however, easy (about 1 hour). There is no other (safe) way to ascend Mt Haeckel.

  • Lake Sabrina (2780m):
  • Muir sign 20'
  • Second waterfall and beginning of switchbacks 50'
  • Blue lake, crossing on logs 1h30'
  • Donkey Lake junction and downhill 1h50'
  • End of downhill and small creek crossing 2h5'
  • Dingleberry Lake and crossing on rocks (3200m) 2h30til058
  • Midnight-Hungry Packers sign 3h15'
  • Moonlight Lake 3h45'
  • Echo Lake (3536m): 4h30'
  • Last pond before Haeckel: 6h
  • Summit 7h30'
  • Down to the Haeckel-Wallace ridge: 8h
  • Traverse of the Haeckel-Wallace ridge: 9h
  • Mt Haeckel summit: 10h
  • Lake Sabrina: 16h
View from the top of Mt Wallace
Pictures of this hike
See also:
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