Most climbers will access Patterson from Fourth of July Lake, but if you find yourself in the very scenic Four Lakes Basin area, you should consider climbing Patterson’s East face. There a couple ways that Four Lakes Basin is generally accessed:
- The first is via a trail-less class 2 scramble from pristine Quiet Lake to the East (just follow Quiet’s inlet through the rocks up to the North side of Cornice Lake.
- The second is another class 2 scramble route via the 10200’ wide saddle between the basin and Born Lakes. From the upper Born Lake at 9555’, go East until you see an obvious draw to the North. Here you’ll find a sketchy trail leading up to the saddle. The trickier part is finding a way down to Four Lakes Basin. Head generally Southwest until you find a route you’re comfortable going down.
From Glacier Lake (the highest lake in the basin at just under 10000’) your goal is a notch in Patterson’s Northeast ridge about 50’ below the summit. There is no obvious trail, just choose a course you are most comfortable with. The terrain is pretty loose, a bit sandy with a good mixture of breadbox-sized rocks thrown in (some stable, others not so much), so avoid being directly above or below others in your party. There is some light vegetation in a few places that may indicate stable ground. Once you reach the ridge, it’s a fun little scramble to the top. Overall, about 900’ gain in 0.5 miles.
It may also be possible to gain the Southeast ridge from the basin, but that direction appeared steeper than the one we chose, and just as loose. Another possibility may be reach Patterson’s summit by following the ridge all the way over from the 10200’ wide saddle without dropping into Four Lakes Basin (rating unknown).
Dress for the weather, no technical gear required.