ApproachFrom the Green Lakes Trailhead... Follow the trail to Green Lake itself. From here, follow a well-beaten use-trail around the shore of Green Lake. After traversing some thick brush, you approach the inlet stream of Green Lake. The use trail turns west to parallel the stream. From here, the trail climbs steadily to the high cirque above Virginia Pass. Do a bit of class 2/3 scrambling over rocks/snow to reach the lowpoint of the pass at 10,500'. Secor's book recommends contouring to the north of Virginia Pass, though I found the crossing of the upper portion of Virginia Canyon to be irritatingly muddy in late June, and the traverse a bit hairy in spots. Instead, I would follow the use trail down the other side of the pass, descending until you hit Return Creek. Follow Return Creek upstream and then find the outlet of Return Lake and ascend to the lake.
From Return Lake, ascend the hanging valley which is south of Return Lake and east of Stanton Peak, to the 11,000-foot level. Ascend the granite blocks to the saddle on Stanton Peak's south ridge, at roughly 11,300 feet.
Note from User "A Bit" Posted Aug 13, 2009 1:45 pm:
Use trail to Virginia Pass
As you approach Green Lake take the trail signed for West Lake. After about 100 yards you come across another trail intersection. The sign reads West Lake and Green Lake. Take the Green Lake trail which leads down to the lake. This use trail was in excellent shape Aug 09 and you can follow it all the way to Virginia Pass.
Route DescriptionFrom the saddle at 11,300 feet, simply ascend Stanton Peak's south ridge. This is a textbook class 2 scramble over large, but solid granite blocks, and with exciting, but not scary exposure. You may elect to retrace your route on the return, but we made a direct descent of the steeper east slope, back to Return Lake. This route was a bit too tedious, due to a loose mixture of scree and larger (50 lb.) rocks. One may also elect the north ridge, starting from "Stanton Pass" (between Stanton and Virginia Peaks). Secor's book describes the north ridge route as class 2. It looked a bit hairier around the summit block, but I couldn't tell for sure.
Essential GearHiking boots, water, sunscreen, and of course, a camera! No technical climbing gear necessary.
Miscellaneous InfoIf you have information about this route that doesn't pertain to any of the other sections, please add it here.
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