“Because it is there.”
Taking advantage of the current warm winter weather , we headed out to climb a fun, challenging peak in the Southern Sierra Nevada. Five Fingers Peak on the edge of Owens Peak Wilderness has an easy dirt road access right off of the State Highway 14. This climb is described in Exploring the Southern Sierra East Side by J.C. Jenkins and Ruby Jenkins, Trip # T48. This guide is one of my favorites and is a great resource for hiking, backpacking, climbing, biking, and road trips.
Five Fingers Peak
LENGTH 2.2 miles round trip
ELEVATION GAIN 1725 feet
TRAIL HEAD Head to Indian Wells Canyon off of State Highway 14 in the eastern southern Sierra Nevada, turn left going north just after passing Indian Wells Restaurant, travel about 2.6 miles on a dirt road to the trail head
DIFFICULTY Strenuous climbing on steep scree-covered slopes, with some Class 3 climbing (steep terrain where handholds and footholds are used, usually no rope)
BEST TIME TO HIKE Fall, winter, spring (can be very hot during the middle of summer) and a great climb while the High Sierras are under snow
ROUTE Head north from the Powers Well (3450’), head straight up the hill toward the small notch to the right of the highest crag or finger. Climb up the notch, descend and contour left around the back of the highest spire looking for the second chute, climb this southwest passage, turn left and up to the summit. We took an alternate route down, climbing down the long chute on the southwest side of the finger that was climbed. This worked perfectly, but would have been very difficult to locate and find for the ascent, but great for the descent.
- The China Lake Mountain Rescue Group has pioneered routes up all these crags
- This peak is sometimes called “Aguila,” Latin for eagle
- The thumb is a Class 3 ascent, the index finger Class 4, the middle one Class 5, and the ring finger – the next one southeast of the summit is also Class 5
To view the complete trip photo album and a topographical map with interactive photos click the links below:
- Photo album on Flickr
- Topographical map with route and photos using EveryTrail and my GPS enabled I Phone
Climbing the Summit Block
This climb proved to be a calf burner with a steep ascent and fun, intense Class 3 climbing. FYI: The granite rock on this peak is rough, loose, and hard on the hands. I loved this peak and of course the stunning views from the top were just an added bonus.
For the virtual panoramic view from the summit of Five Fingers Peak view the video below.
Note: Video shot with i Phone 4