The official starting point of this climb begins at the saddle between Peak 3969m and Mt Mary Austin, the time to climb is gauged from the Trailhead. The saddle can be approached from Parker Lakes on the South(reached from Onion Valley), from the Baxter Pass Trail, or from the summit of Mt Mary Austin.
The first approach starts out of Onion Valley just below the 8000ft mark on the road to Kearsarge Pass. It traverses across Sardine Canyon into Little Onion Valley, then climbs strait up the valley. Most of this route is cross country(no further beta unfortunately).
The second and third approach are most comonly reached from the Baxter Pass Trailhead. From the trailhead hike up the canyon following the well worn use trail, that slowly deteriorates as you get higher. Oak Creek and its tributaries are crossed three times, the second and third being the harder crossings(trekking poles help). The Northeast ridge is most easily accessed by leaving the trail at around 3350m and traversing South across the moraine and into the canyon that separates Mt Mary Austin and Peak 3969m. The Northeast ridge can also be accesed by climbing many other variations from the bowl between Diamond Peak and Black Mountain, though these will not be discussed.
From the saddle(main route) you have several choices. If the snow has melted back a bit the direct ridgeline may be climbed as class 2/2+ scramble. In heavier snow conditions the coulier just south of the ridgeline makes for a nice snow climb, moderately steep at times. At approximately 3900m start traversing west along the side of Peak 3969m if one wants to avoid climbing this summit. From the saddle at 3920m between Peak 3969m and Black Mountain the ridge is very obvious. There are no route finding issues until the final 100ft or so. A false summit just short of the main summit provides for some interesting class 3, just stay directly along the ridgeline. If the snow has melted away the final class 3 sections can be bypassed by traversing around to the North/Northwest side of the peak.
Crampons and Ice Axes are needed for most of the legal climbing season. Trekking poles(for creek crossings) and pants(to keep the brush at bay) are also recommended for the approach up the Baxter Pass Trail. While it is called a trail, it is more of a use path, much much brush that will happily scratch one to bits. Snowshoes may be desired during times of heavy snow. Otherwise no other technical needed.
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