Failed attempt on Ritter (lost)

Failed attempt on Ritter (lost)

Page Type Page Type: Trip Report
Date Date Climbed/Hiked: Aug 2, 2013
Activities Activities: Mountaineering

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We attempted to summit Mt. Ritter via the "Southeast Glacier Route," but followed the wrong stream to begin the initial gulley, then connected to the wrong talus slope, about 1km southeast of the summit.  This got us onto some very steep and loose rock.  It only took us about 2 hours to get to this point, so once we realized we were off course, we might have been able to continue along the ridge to the Ritter Summit.  My guess is that we were at about 11,800 ft on Ritter Pass about halfway between the minarets and Mt. Ritter summit.  My boyfriend thought we were at the base of the southeast pinnacle and could have just gone around it, which I assume would have been the "Clyde Variation" route.  Since I'm worse at descending than ascending, I demanded that we be cautious and turn back instead. 

We actually got back before noon (I think we started around 7:30am), so I guess we could have continued the attempt.  But safety first, right?

Anyway, later that day, we met up with a party of 3 who had attempted it the same day.  One of them had summited successfully, and he told us we would have needed ice axes and crampons even if we hadn't been lost.  We had decided not to buy them since we had heard of others climbing Ritter this year without needing them.  According to him, the glaciers, although smaller this year, were actually more crusty than expected.  We also noted these conditions on the glaciers at nearby Iceberg Lake.

So anyway, we were bummed but are pretty excited about learning ice skills and trying again at Ritter and/or Whitney next time we make it to California.  Hopefully we pick up some orienteering skills in the meantime also. 

Has anyone taken this route up Ritter, and if so do you think we were on the Clyde Variation? 


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