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Routes in Mt. Humphreys

East Arete T 5.4 4a 12 IV 10 VD 3c
Hutchinson Route T 5.4 4a 12 IV 10 VD 3c
North Couloir Direct T Easy 5th 1+ 3 I 5 M 1c AI3
Southwest Slope and Northwest Face T 4th 1 2 I 2 M 1b

Description

At 13,986 ft., Mt. Humphreys is the 14th highest peak in California. It is also ranked number 70 in the contiguous US. and one of 15 Sierra emblem peaks. The regular route is class 4.
permit required for overnight climbs or camping. Details

Getting There

Humphreys Basin:
To get there, from Bishop, take Route 168, to North Lake. Past North Lake there is a campground. The Piute Pass trail leaves from here. Take the trail to Piute Pass. Five miles, 2,100' el. gain to 11,423'. From Piute Pass, you can see Mt. Humphreys to the north. Hike over Humphreys Basin to the base of the southWest slope, there are campsites at one of the numerous little tarns.

East Face Approach:
The best approach is via Buttermilk Rd. off of 168. Turn right on to Buttermilk Road which is a dirt road. This road leads to the buttermilk bouldering area and is drivable in most vehicles. However, once you reach the Buttermilks the road quickly deteriorates. Drive over a cattle guard, there will be a left and right turn but head straight. Now the fun begins. Good clearance is highly recommended. Essentially you want to stay on the main road till its end. There will be turns and roads that branch off and it wont always be obvious which way stays on the main road. At 2.3 miles from that cattle guard at the bouldering area the road starts to curve significantly to your left. At 3.5 miles you reach a fork , go right. Drive through an aspen grove past some campsites drive over a small creek where the road turns hard left and heads up a hill. This hill can hold snow depending on time of year. At about 4 miles the road forks, go right, and then very quickly the road forks again, go right again. At 4.4 miles stay right, shortly after you see a turn to the right stay straight and then shortly after a left turn, stay straight again. Continue on and at about 5.5 mile you head up a steep winding section. Follow the road to its end in a small parking area at about 6 miles.

4 Total Climbs

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Classic Climbing Routes at Mt. Humphreys

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J F M A M J J A S O N D
J F M A M J J A S O N D
Chris Owen
Big Bear Lake
Chris Owen   Big Bear Lake  
John I have added an abridged version of the eastern approach in "Getting There", thanks for your write up. Nov 3, 2015
Fantastic routes. However, if you plan on climbing the technical routes on the east side of Humphrey then ignore the posted directions on this site. The best approach is via Buttermilk rd. off of 168. Turn right on to Buttermilk road which is a dirt road. This road leads to the buttermilk bouldering area and is drivable in most vehicles. However, once you reach the Buttermilks which is obvious due to the masses of crash pads and the field of giant boulders the road quickly deteriorates past this point. You will drive over a cattle guard, there will be a left and right turn but head straight. Now the fun begins. Good clearance is highly recommended but I have seen a Subaru outback make the trek with patient driving and navigation. Essentially you want to stay on the main road till its end which seems like eternity. There will be turns and roads that branch off and it wont always be obvious which way stays on the main road. I can tell you at 2.3 miles from that cattle guard at the Bouldering area the road starts to curve significantly to your left. At 3.5 miles you reach a fork , go right. Drive through an aspen grove past some campsites drive over a small creek where the rd turns hard left and heads up a hill. This hill can hold snow depending on time of year. At about 4 miles the rd forks, go right, and then very quickly the rd forks again, go right again. At 4.4 miles stay right, shortly after you see a turn to the right stay straight and then shortly after a left turn, stay straight again. Continue on and at about 5.5 mile you head up a steep windy section. Follow the rd to its end in a small parking area at about 6 miles. If climbing the East arete continue reading. From the parking area follow the trail up the shallow wash for about a 1/4 mile. At this point the trail fades away and flattens out. Begin heading leftish through sage brush. You will see a shallow ridgeline in front of you that meets up with a small outcropping of granite. This is what you want to aim for. ***Do not go over that ridge and down*** Instead head around the rock outcropping to its left or right. Either way you have some steep loose terrain to hike for about a 1/4 mile but it will feel much longer than that. Head more or less straight up this hill till it flattens out a bit and the vegetation clears up. When you top out this small hill you will see a small lake and a drainage coming off of it. It will appear more or less to your left as you look up at humphrey. Laying just behind that will also be a chossy looking ridge line which is not the East arete. Instead head rightish and above that lake towards a notch. You will be traveling in some very sandy terrain on a gradual slope. When you reach that notch you are at the base of the East arete. Head left, staying higher on the ridge holds better rock and more exposure. Follow the ridge to the summit. Plan on a really full day to complete this route. Mar 29, 2014
George Bell
Boulder, CO
George Bell   Boulder, CO
No boy scout troops adding inane comments to this summit register, that's for sure! ;-) May 15, 2013
Chris Owen
Big Bear Lake
Chris Owen   Big Bear Lake  
This is one of the more difficult "main" peaks of the High Sierra and it's visible from many parts of the mountain range. Sep 13, 2010

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