See also 040801-cockscomb
Always nice to start your day with a soak in the hot spring, makes it easy to get up at dawn, so you can still get to the trail at a reasonable hour after the soak.
Since Budget gave me a 4WD SUV for no particular reason, I headed up a road I knew I couldn't tackle without a 4WD or at the very least, a high clearance vehicle. I'd been looking at doing Bloody Mountain from the other side, a much longer and strenuous hike, since the trailhed is 2500' lower (Convict Lake). Starting at over 10,059' made for an easier approach, or at least, if I wasn't insane, an easier ascent. From the south side, the only route is up the trail to the Laurel-Bloody Mtn saddle, then up the east ridge to the summit. From the north side, where the jeep trail ended, you either traverse west to the NW ridge, or east to the NE ridge...if you have any sense. There is, however a switchback mining road that goes to a number of adits at about 10,800' and from there there is a steep snow chute up to the summit ridge. Very dramatic and exciting, and, um...I'm not a climber, really.
Bloody Mountain is another high point on the eastern escarpment, there is nothing taller except for a pair of peaks five miles southeast (Baldwin and Red Slate) for many miles, so it has commanding views over the Mammoth Lakes area and Long Valley. Also, being on the East Side, the geology is much more colorful than the white granite further west. The use route down the east ridge to the trail was relatively easy, and I was soon jouncing my way down the Laurel Lakes Road towards US-395 and home.
Sunny and breezy, cool and pleasant at the summit.
About 5 miles, 2700 feet of ascent, 5:25 on the trail.
Area maps, route in red and blue
Bloody Mountain Loop / Robert Parks / email@example.com / revised