From the Carson Pass trailhead, follow the trail as you would for the West Ridge approach, but break off at Winnemucca Lake and head east around the lake to the ridge.
The entire ridge consists of talus mixed with decaying rock. The south slope is about 30 degrees and consists of talus and scree; the north side is a sheer cliff and consists of decaying rock. A true ridge traverse is easiest and most fun. However, it is rather exposed in some places, and a few of the minor peaks are quite steep (class 4). At these points, less experienced climbers might want to drop into the talus slope and try their luck on that. The ridge runs right up to the summit of Round Top, which can then be descended by the west ridge. In spring and summer the ridge is snow-free; in winter it is dusted with wind-swept snow.
A round trip from/to the north shore of Winnemucca Lake takes about 4 hours.
An straight-shaft ice axe is useful in spring for the approach and descent. In winter, if you desire to climb on slippery snow-dusted talus the route probably calls for dry-tooling equipment for a true ridge-traverse.
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