Found the SE ridge as the others did. I descended the first chute I found toward Moat/Blue lakes. Mix of scree and talus made the fun/work ratio almost even. Up and down in 3 hours with 30 mins. at summit is nice for any Sierra peak. On top by 8:30 am, beautiful morning.
The west slope is pretty much a long, evil, loose talus slog. Great weather, no skeeters, and outstanding views from the summit.
Pics are here.
Climbed this Friday evening. The scrambling was better than I'd expected on this slag pile... but still not a classic climb.
A solo climb. Got a nice route description from the woman at the Virginia Lakes store. Slogged up the slopes above Moat lake. Lots of loose talus and scree. Moved on to the ridge for some more interesting climbing. Finally reached the summit. "Scree-skied" down some slopes on the south side back to the lakes. Met back up with Jason and admired his fish.
Highlight of a college roadtrip-lots of lucky lager, long soaks in the hotsprings near Bridgeport and good friends. The view from the summit was worth the effort! Someone wrote in the summit register, "Dreaming is for sleepers, I'm awake and this is reality." So true that day.
Heh-heh, I thought the SE Ridge was a pretty forgettable route myself. ;-) But Barry's route description was dead on. The scree is pretty bad all over the mountain, but if you stick to the class 3 scrambling, you can avoid much of it.
That being said, summit views were FANtastic! We were blessed with a warm and relatively windless day. A pair of large birds of prey (falcons, golden eagles???) put on a high-speed acrobatics show around the summit.
On the way up I saw a sweet-looking scree chute, so instead of following the spine of the ridge, we did a lot of tedious traversing on the descent, looking for the elusive chute. Eventually we did find it, and used it to descend the last thousand feet or so in less than twenty minutes. We met a use trail about halfway between Moat Lake and Blue Lake, and just followed it and later an official trail back to the parking lot.
We drove in the night before and slept under the stars in the sagebrush. Mars and the Moon put on a great show. Started the climb at 7:15, took around 2 hours to ascend, spent an hour or so on the summit, and then took something like 1h30 to descend. We planned to climb Mount Dana later in the day, but after a tasty burger and shake in Lee Vining, we felt soft and instead took a swim in Tenaya Lake.
Judging from the volume and looseness of the talus, I would guess that rockfall from the towers on the south slopes could be troublesome in spring. The mosquitoes followed us, but only up to 10,500' or so. Oddly, I would see them disperse when I'd kick a loose rock. There must have been some water on or near the surface. Perhaps some springs, or residual snowmelt?
Unlike Bearbnz, it took me about ten hours from Virginia Lake to summit :-)
Skied the south couloir back down. Three hours later, a huge avalanche swept the entire chute. That's why you get up early...
Great views from the summit. bearbnz is right on about the SE Ridge. It has pretty firm rock and some very fun class 3 if you look for it. The West Ridge is a forgetable route - I took it just because it was different. Warm up for the 2003 Sierra Challenge.
1:28 from the Virginia Lakes Trailhead to the summit, went after work on a thunderstormy day. No rain, no nearby thunder made for a successful ascent.