Tue. Aug 7, 2001 (6a start)
RT Distance: 10.0 miles
Elev. Gain: 3464
In terms of time, Mt. Abbot is probably the easiest of the Emblem peaks as it has the
shortest approach and involves only 10 miles distance, roundtrip. It has 6 miles of cross-country
travel, however, and the climbing above the couloir is class 3.
The trailhead for Mt. Abbot is located at Mosquito Flat, at the very end of the road going
into Little Lakes Valley. At 10,240 ft, it is the highest drive-in location in all of the
Sierras, and as such is very popular. The large parking lot closest to the trailhead is
often full, requiring hikers to park as far back as a mile from the trailhead. An early
start usually ensures a parking spot close in. There is no parking fee for day use (or for
overnight, for that matter). Camping is available at numerous spots along the road.
The North Couloir is not usually difficult to climb, although it is quite steep near the
top. Be sure not to take the couloir to the right which leads to the col between Mts.
Abbot and Mills (where there is a cool spire called the "Petite Griffon"). The rock is loose
on this peak, and you will likely see evidence of rockfall embedded in the upper portions
of the couloir. A helmet is advised if climbers are ahead of you, and you should be careful
about knocking rock down on those below. The climbing above the glacier is exciting class 3.
There are a number cairns in this section to guide you, but there are several routes one
could choose and remain in class 3. Be careful though, as many routes lead to class 4+ climbing.
There is a short knife edge on the summit plateau. If you find yourself climbing on anything
above class 3, rest assured there is an easier way you missed.
6a start at the trailhead, end of the road into Mosquito Flat.
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