ApproachThe North Ridge of Independence Peak is easily discernable on the drive from the town of Independence up to Onion Valley as the right-hand ridge running down from the prominent peak.
From Onion Valley, the approach is very short. Take the Robinson Lake Trail (this in itself is hard to find - a small sign at the easternmost end of the loop road running through the campground is the only indicator of where to find the trail) for about half a mile until it turns to head southwest towards the lake. Head east across a shallow drainage and up talus slopes for about 500ft to the ridge.
Route DescriptionSecor describes the ridge as class 4 only at the top, and this avoidable by traversing right across the West Face to the South Ridge. This wasn't our experience, however.
The lower quarter of the route is easy class 2-3 with enjoyable views on three sides, a real delight on a cool summer morning. One soon comes upon a number of small gendarmes that can be bypassed on either the left (more aesthetic, more class 3), or on the right (more talus). At about the halfway point the route staying on the ridge becomes more than class 3, more like class 5. The right side (leading to the West Face) has a number of cliffs and many ribs to bypass if using this side to avoid difficulties. The left side can be used to bypass all difficulties, and in fact offers a fairly sustained amount of class 3-4 climbing if one sticks to that side. Near the summit, I could not find the Secor bypass to the right side, but found what seemed a more viable route by angling around to the east and then southeast side of the summit before making my way to the top.