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North Ridge

 
North Ridge

Page Type: Route

Location: California, United States, North America

Lat/Lon: 38.14900°N / 119.627°W

Object Title: North Ridge

Route Type: Hike / Scramble

Time Required: One to two days

Rock Difficulty: Class 3

Route Quality: 
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Page By: Alpinist

Created/Edited: Jan 2, 2004 / Sep 6, 2012

Object ID: 159736

Hits: 1293 

Page Score: 72.08%  - 2 Votes 

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Approach

Bigelow Peak is located in a pretty remote area and can be reached from several different trailheads depending on your plans. The standard route starts at the saddle north of Bigelow Peak. Trailhead options are listed below.

1) From Kennedy Meadows Resort, follow the Huckleberry Trail past Relief Reservoir, then take the trail split to Brown Bear Pass. Continue on this trail until you reach Summit Meadow. Take the trail split south to Snow Lake. Hike past the lake on the northern show and follow the trail as it winds around the west side of the lake. The trail goes up to an unnamed pass southwest of the lake. The trail thins in places so keep a sharp eye out. If you find yourself hiking off-trail, then you've lost it and should retrace your steps until you locate the trail again. Hiking will be much more difficult if you stray off the use-trail. At the top of the pass, the trail turns abruptly the left. Look for the rock cairns and follow the main trail towards Bigelow Lake. Do NOT continue straight down the other side of the pass or you'll have to bushwhack all the way to the lake. Once you reach the north shore of Bigelow Lake, it's a short hike to the saddle north of Bigelow Peak. (20 miles total)

2) From the Leavitt Lake trailhead, follow the Leavitt Pass trail south, up and over Big Sam, for 10 miles until you near Emigrant Pass. Take the trail split to the south past Grizzly Meadow and continue to Summit Meadow. Turn southwest on the trail to Snow Lake. Hike past the lake on the northern show and follow the trail as it winds around the west side of the lake. The trail goes up to an unnamed pass southwest of the lake. The trail thins in places so keep a sharp eye out. If you find yourself hiking off-trail, then you've lost it and should retrace your steps until you locate the trail again. Hiking will be much more difficult if you stray off the use-trail. At the top of the pass, the trail turns abruptly the left. Look for the rock cairns and follow the main trail towards Bigelow Lake. Do NOT continue straight down the other side of the pass or you'll have to bushwhack all the way to the lake. Once you reach the north shore of Bigelow Lake, it's a short hike to the saddle north of Bigelow Peak.

3) From Leavitt Meadows Pack Station, follow the West Walker River trail south until you reach the Cascade Creek trail. Follow the Cascade Creek trail until it joins the PCT. Follow the PCT south over Dorothy Lake Pass to the signed junction of the Bond Pass Trail. Take the trail up to Bond Pass. At the top of the pass, turn southwest and hike up and over Quartzite Peak. Descend Quartzite Peak to the saddle north of Bigelow Peak.

* Call well in advance to reserve horse and guide if you decide to pack in with either one of the pack stations.


Route Description

From the north end of Bigelow Lake, follow the use-trail up to the obvious saddle north of the peak. The north ridge is mostly a class 2 scramble from the saddle with a few short sections of easy class 3 climbing. The terrain is a mix of granite and mostly stable talus.

There are a serious of small buttresses along the ridge that can be navigated pretty easily. To avoid more difficult climbing, stay to the left for the first 2 buttresses. You can then follow the ridgeline proper to the summit which is an easy class 2 scramble.

As you descend, be careful to finish at the right side, else you will have to downclimb some easy but exposed class 3 rock as you approach the saddle.

Start elevation: 9,300'
Summit: 10,539'
Elevation gain: 1,239'
Distance: 1 mile

Essential Gear

There is no special equipment required for this climb during the summer months except for the usual overnight backcountry camping gear.

Images

Summit block on Bigelow PeakBigelow PeakSaddle north of Bigelow PeakFrom the saddle of Bigelow PeakNorth Ridge on Bigelow Peak