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North Face (Winter Route)
Route

North Face (Winter Route)

 

Page Type: Route

Location: California, United States, North America

Lat/Lon: 38.90045°N / 120.15112°W

Object Title: North Face (Winter Route)

Route Type: Mountaineering

Season: Winter

Time Required: One to two days

Difficulty: Easy snow climb (up to 35-40deg)

Route Quality: 
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Page By: ElGreco

Created/Edited: Feb 15, 2011 / Aug 11, 2011

Object ID: 698710

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Overview

The description here is for a winter route under snow cover. The route can be done in one long day, but there are many excellent places to camp and enjoy solitude. Dense trees in places provide good shelter from the wind.

Getting There

 
Topo showing the approach and climb
 

The approach is identical to that for the NE Ridge from Dick's Pass by Steeleman. Choose one of the two trailheads and make your way to Dick's Lake.

Route Description



Once you get to Dick's Lake, you have two options, which in the end make little difference. Pick whichever your preference and potential avalanche conditions dictate. The first involves gaining the broad shoulder starting from the north end of Dick's Lake, as described in NE Ridge via High Saddle (Winter Route). The second involves heading further west until you reach the edge of the north bowl, and then following this edge to the base of the north face.

You can climb the north face in several places, depending on your appetite. The day I went up was on the back of several days of very strong north and east winds following a winter storm, and the whole face had been severely wind scoured. This revealed a small and shallow rib of exposed rock in the middle of the face, wich provided a safe and enjoyable way up.

The climb gets steeper the more one ascends, but stays at an average of 35deg near the top section. Steeper sections can be found, but can mostly be avoided if you like, generally by heading towards east towards the ridge. We completed the ascent on a fairly hard crust by French stepping, but got on our front points for sections of the descent.

Overall, if this is your first time on crampons, conditions are hard/crusty, and you are not used to a little exposure, you might find this exciting. If you have snow climbing experience, then this should be straightforward.

Essential Gear

Snowshoes for the approach. Crampons and ice axe for the climb. Standard winter gear.

Images

Sunset near Dick\'s LakeView of the NW ridge of Dick\'s PeakView of Pyramid Peak from Dick\'s summitThe route up the North FaceNorth Face of Dick\'s PeakDick\'s Lake and Maggie\'s Peaks from Dick\'s summitNorth bowl and NE ridge
Topo showing the approach and climbVIDEO - Descending the North Face of Dick\'s Peak - Feb 2011