Mono Jim and the higher Peak 11,100ft are the two closely spaced peaks that rise in the foreground to partially block the view of Mt. Morrison on the left when seen from US395. Two men were killed in the encounter with escaped convicts in 1871 for which the lake was named. The white man who headed the posse, Robert Morrison, was given the grand peak that rises sharply to over 12,000ft. The indian guide who tracked the convicts and died in the effort was afforded the lesser talus heap in the foreground, no last name, and even the given name doesn't show up on many maps.
The peak might actually deserve its own mountain page, and I would encourage anyone who has the time to do so, and I will relinquish or transfer this page at such a time. But for now I will at least dedicate this route page to Mono Jim, and have thus coined the term "Mono Jim Ridge" because I know of no other name currently in use. If anyone has a local name or otherwise previously in use, please comment here so I can more acurately name the route.
The route is an alternative to the standard East Face, probably only of interest to skiers/snowboarders in spring and the true peakbagging enthusiast who needs no other reason to climb than it represents a named highpoint on a map.
There is almost no approach for this route. Park at the end of the road in the day use area on the south side of the lake. Head cross-country to the southwest to pick up the base of the ridge.
There are two branches of the North Ridge leading to the summit of Mono Jim. The eastern branch is closest to the parking lot. The western branch starts further to the west, near the southwest end of Convict Lake.
Because of several short descents along the route, the elevation gain is a bit more than other routes to Mt. Morrison's summit. But the scrambling is less tedious than found on Mt. Morrison's East Face as well as the east slopes of Mono Jim. As an aside, climbing the east slopes of Mono Jim in summer is an exercise in frustration with very loose sand and talus, and highly unrecommended. The Mono Jim Ridge may also seem loose and tedious, but it is about on par with that found on the NW Ridge, and far better than the East Face. The ridge route also offers far better views as one climbs along the ridge, of the White Mtns to the east, Owen's Valley to the north, and Laurel Mtn to the west. Between the summit of Mono Jim and the higher unnamed Peak 11,100ft, there is a grand view of Morrison's North Face, "the Eiger of the Sierra."
There is no difficultly in routefinding. Wading through the sagebrush between the parkinglot and the ridge is not difficult, though it may at first look imposing. Try to use the paths between the plants to save both them and your legs. Once on the ridge, follow it up, heading first southwest. Where the two branches meet the ridge then heads south to the summit of Mono Jim (10,896ft). A small cairn, but no register was found in spring 2004. Head down a few hundred feet, then up to the higher Peak 11,100ft. Here a small register dating back to the 1970s can be found in the summit cairn, with only a few entries each year.
To continue on to Mt. Morrison, drop several hundred feet to the saddle between Peak 11,100ft and Mt. Morrison. The North Face is quite imposing from this position. One can also view down the hanging valley to the northwest (an alternate route described by bearnz as the East Slope Variation
From the saddle, survey Morrison's East Face view before you. The East Face proper is mostly hidden by the ridgeline to the south. For an easier ascent you can climb up and over this ridgeline to the East Face, or you can find more direct class 3 routes visible from the saddle (see this picture
). The further right you stay, the more difficult. The last 600-700 feet to the summit is class 2 over large talus, often loose (what else would you expect from Mt. Morrison?)
None needed. Mono Jim and Peak 11,100ft make fine ski/snowboard descents in spring due to the short distance from Mono Lake and the sustained, fairly smooth slopes found on the east and northeast sides.
If you have information about this route that doesn't pertain to any of the other sections, please add it here.