I'm planning to climb Mt. Ritter in the second weekend of October. This will be my first time up Mt Ritter (or any other mountain in the Ansel Adams wilderness).
I was hoping I could get some tips/info on this, here.
1) What is the recommended route for a first timer, on this mountain ? Relatively, the least technical of all the routes. 2) Is there a route map/way point file, for this recommended route ? 3) Do I require any permits/advance reservations to climb the mountain, besides the permit for an overnight stay ? 4) Is there a recommended spot for camping, the previous night, to get an early start in the morning (if doing a day hike)? If doing a overnight stay, where would you recommend, I camp along the trail ? 5) Are crampons/ice-axes necessary in mid october ? (I've climbed Mt Shasta & Mt Whitney using crampons & iceaxes before, but just checking if they will be necessary, in mid october.)
Also, are there quite a bunch of hikers on this trail, usually ?
I have never climbed Mt Ritter, but did climb Banner Peak. You'll need crampons for a few sections on the glacier between Ritter and Banner. You also need a permit for camping overnight. For a nice hike in, I would recommend taking the PCT High Trail. The elevation gain is about the same but it has some realy nice views of the area. There are also nice spots for camping at Thousand Island lake. As for climbing Ritter check some of the climbing pages on this site. I saw some people climbing the North face and it looked like Third class with exposure, but ledgy.
1) Since you are going in October, the snow will be pretty hard. So its tough to say which will be the least technical route. The least technical of all the routes is probably the Clyde route. This avoids 3rd class rock from the north. If you're more comfortable on rock, then the Northeast Face is probably better. It may be possible to avoid the snow entirely by climbing around the north west glacier from lake Catherine. 2) Check out the summitpost page for the Clyde route, it has a good map. 3) No other permits required besides the overnight wilderness permit. 4) Dayhike: Agnew meadows campground, or hotel in Mammoth. Backpack: Depending on which route, there are many places to camp, too many to list. 5) In the second week of October, the snow will probably have hardened to ice, though everything will be really suncupped. So ice ax and crampons are necessary.
The crowds thin out in October. There will probably be other hikers up to the lakes along the JMT, but probably no one higher.
The least technical & best route for a first timer is the Southeast Glacier. But October will mean short hours of daylight and cold nights.
There are good places to camp around Lake Ediza and Ediza is within reasonable day-hike distance to Ritter.
In October it's likely that you'll be able to skirt around the north edge of the glacier and avoid the need for crampons & ice axe. We did it in August 2004 and we didn't need Crampons. But stay off the glacier if you don't have crampons. The temptation of the relatively low angle, smooth surface compared to the rock has lured past climbers to fatal endings.