Much higher quality rock, and a much better experience than next-door Ritter, which we climbed earlier in the day. See the trip report for all of the sordid details.
September 19, 2007 Climbed the East Corner route, III 5.7, long day. Here's the trip report.
After descending Ritter's N Face, Barry Beck & I took a quick trip up Banner. Easy climb, and very stable. A nice summit, with great views! Very low snow allowed us to traverse down some ledges to the glacier, missing the steep couloir in favor of wet class 3 rock in the center of the saddle. From the end of the glacier, the descent sucked until the use trail from Ediza was met. Tennis-type approach shoes don't do well on unfriendly talus! Round-trip from Agnew Meadow was something like sunrise to sunset....
Hiked in and camped above Lake Ediza the day before. I left camp at 4:10, took an easy pace and reached the saddle by 6am, and the summit shortly after 6:40. I couldn't find the summit register, nor could I easily tell what lump of rocks was the high point, so I traversed the summit ridge before descending to the saddle to continue on to Mt Ritter.
Day hiked from Agnew Meadow. Climbed to Ritter-Banner Saddle, did Banner first then Ritter. Descended south east slopes of Ritter.
Did a solo ascent. Left Ediza lake around 7am and started the slow tedious ascent of the talus slopes. I didn't like the look of the runneled coulour so found a traverse on the south side of the "Glacier" that headed up the side of Ritter to the saddle. Traversed the saddle and headed up to reach the summit around noon. On the way down ran into "John from Lafayette" and "Frank from England" who just finished climbing the coulour.
A fun climb, but mostly consisted of non-stop talus slopes.
After summiting Ritter at 2:33pm, I descended Ritter's North Face via the Classic Chute. Rested a few minutes at the saddle and started up the western slope at 3:23pm. I reached the summit of Banner at 4:00pm. Remained there 'til 4:15pm. Put crampons back on at the saddle and headed down the runnelled, icy chute by 5:00pm. I pulled into camp (Ediza Lake) at 6:20pm. Broke camp and hiked out. Back at the Agnew Meadows trailhead at 9:40pm.
Hangdog Ted, Summit Block and I did this fun route in the fall just to get out and bag some peaks
First time in the area, enjoyed the beautiful scenery, but didn't have much fun going up the two talus fields. The short couloir, leading to the saddle, was quite enjoyable. I would suggeust this route in the late spring or early summer for the most favorable conditions.
My first day on the Sierra Challenge, and my first time up this peak--the climb to the saddle (and subsequent descent) was a bit imposing for my first 'real' use of crampons. I never found the register, although I wasn't really in the mood to search too much for it either--I ended up climbing four distinct high points up there to make sure I at least tagged the real summit. It's kind of a slog from the saddle.
I'd hoped to climb Ritter afterwards, but I was feeling dizzy and light-headed from not much sleep the night before. Ritter would have to wait for another day.
Came back in June 2004, intending to do a Clyde Minaret-Banner-Ritter dayhike out of Agnew Meadows. Unfortunately, once I made it to Cecile Lake I could see there was still too much snow on Clyde Minaret to safely solo the Rock Route. So I headed off to Banner (snow conditions made this much easier than last August), but lightning kept me from Ritter for a second time. Drats. Next time I'll just head up Ritter's SE Slopes!
Day 2 of the 2003 Sierra Challenge. 5.5hr from Agnew Meadows, then on to climb Mt. Ritter next door. Trip Report
Banner was a bit of a slog after the fun scrambling on Ritter. We got to the summit of Banner just under 2 hours from when we left the summit of Ritter. It wasn't so stressful, and the talus slog wasn't as awful as we thought it would be. In some ways the view was better from Ritter, with the lakes and Owens valley in view. To climb Ritter and not go bag Banner as well would be a real shame.
There were 5 of us that started out at 9:41am on a sunny day. Got to snow field before the saddle and trucked up. We used ice axes and dug steps to get up the chute that is right below the saddle.( about a 70-80 degree angle) When we were in the saddle clouds started to roll over and rain soon followed. Clouds were preventing a view of the top of Ritter, which was included in our original destination. We were forced to take shelter under a rock overhang for 30 min. before the storm blew over. We then boulder hopped up the side of Banner and enjoyed our 360 view of the truely beautiful Ansel Adams Wilderness and beyond. ( Even the clouds couldn't ruin this view) We summited around 1pm. - email me if you are interested in the rest of our trek after the summit.
On a rest day at Thousand Island Lake on a boy scout 50 miler we hiked over North Glacier Pass to Lake Catherine hoping to ascend the glacier to the saddle. When we saw the icy glacier starting at the waters of the lake we knew we would need crampons which we didn't have. We went up the rock to the left of the glacier and found a difficult class 2/easy class 3 route. It dropped us near the saddle where we kicked steps up the glacier and climbed the rocks to the saddle. When we looked over the other side we saw thick dark clouds with rain pouring down. We didn't wait long to abort the summit attempt and started racing back down as the rain started and clouds poured over the saddle. We just escaped the clouds and distant lightning and made it back down. My scariest mountaineering experience so far. Trip Report
What a terrific mountain! It will probably be on my top 3 list for a while. Had a great pleasure to climb this beautiful peak with another SP-er davidkiene, Sam and my girlfriend Etsuko. We hit the snow pretty early, aced the saddle chute and scrambled Class 3 rocks (on the right side of the usual Class 2 route) to the summit. It was interesting to descend 45 degree snow chute on the way back when snow got mushy and wet. Weather and views were PERFECT!
I climbed this with my friends Sam, Misha and Etsuko. There was snow cover for nearly the entire route. The weather, company, views and of course, the mountain, made this a great climb!
A fun side trip along the Muir trail.
Nice challenging day hike. As 'snwburd' said, the snow was not the best (slush and ice). Kinda sketchy downclimbing 40 degree incline on an instep. As for the guys from Bridgeport that signed the register in August 2000....you guys are turds!! Airwing Marines Rule!!
Dayhiked from Agnews Meadow with Dave Daly. The snow up to the saddle was heavily runnelled and moderately steep - not in very good condition at all. Between us we had a pair of 10-pointers and a pair of instep crampons. Splitting them up gave us each one solid foot and one weak one - made for the highlight of the climb. 13hr30m CTC - Trip Report
A very enjoyable climb with magnificant views!
This was my first climb using crampons and axe, and the toughest I had done up to that time. I was hooked! Trip Report