Finger Rock Guard is the big lump of rock to the right of Finger Rock. Getting to the top involves some easy third class scrambling in the upper section but nothing that requires ropes.
Park in the Finger Rock trailhead parking area at the top of Alvernon Road, then hike up the Finger Rock trail for about 3 miles. After some steep hiking up narrow slabs of rock, you reach a large flat area level with Finger Rock Guard.
As you look across the canyon you will see the obvious gully leading up to a saddle to the north of Finger Rock Guard. You will be climbing up this gully. From the flat grassy area, find the obvious climbers’ trail leading down into the canyon. Follow it down then up the other side. As you climb up to the saddle, the trail can sometimes be overgrown and difficult to follow, but there are cairns all the way, although you occasionally have to look carefully to see them. (As you climb, look behind you to familiarize yourself with the way back down. It’s very easy to lose the trail on the way back, and you may find yourself going too far to the left if you are not careful.)
At the saddle there is a pile of large rocks. The trail heads up to the left. (The trail to the right goes down and round to Finger Rock itself.) At times it’s not obvious which way to go but the route is well marked with cairns. There are a few places that require some easy third class scrambling but none of them are very long.
Once on top you have clear views of the Finger itself (although it’s difficult to distinguish it against the rock wall on the other side). There are actually two different “summits”. The one nearest to Finger Rock seems higher (it’s the one in the photo) but the summit register is on the eastern one (we were unable to open the summit register).
The eastern “summit” has a final move across a rock that really makes you wonder how stable it is, but which makes for a wonderful photo 🙂
Links and Other Clicks
The Earthlink page about hiking Finger Rock Guard, which has a lot of gorgeous photos.