We had intended to do the SE Glacier route, and carried crampons & axes, but the glacier looked way too icy. So we took a rock route, which worked out just as well, only class 2 with a few class easy 3 moves. Incredible views. Travel on the glacier at this time is not recommended.
Climbed Ritter right after doing Banner Pk. I ascended the N face via the Classic variation, but ducked into the 2nd class chute on the west rather than taking the ledges, since the traverse looked shaky and I was racing against some incoming storm clouds.
With snow, the entire route was very steep, with some fun intermixed class 3. The snow was shallow (perhaps 1/2 inch) before hardening to an ice-like consistency, which made for good cramponing.
I descended by glissading down the Clyde variation to my camp above Lake Ediza.
Despite previous reports of routefinding difficulties, we found this to be a straightforward class 2 climb. Had to hussle off of summit to avoid approaching T-storm
Climbed this after Banner from the saddle as a day hike from Agnew Meadows.
I backpacked in Saturday morning with SP members mdostby and agorokhov. We were to meet SP member kdonaldson at Ediza Lake later that morning. We left Agnew Meadows at 6:00am. We arrived at Ediza Lake at 9:37am where we met up with kdonaldson and began to set the tent up. Alex (a.k.a. agorokhov) drove his car this week since last week I drove mine to Saddlebag Lake where we climbed the right NE Couloir. Anyway, in the transfer of my gear to his trunk I left out my mountaineering boots. So here I was Saturday morning with just my New Balance 803AT running shoes. Luckly for me, kdonaldson had strap-on crampons and I borrowed his while he borrowed my step-ins. We started hiking towards the Ritter/Banner saddle at 10:46am from Ediza Lake. I went at my own pace and by 1:30pm I reached the R/B saddle. Ascending the hard-snow chute was a bit painful with crampons strapped onto my running shoes. I waited 'til 1:47pm for the group but I did not see them at the bottom of the chute. So, I decided I would just go for the North Face of Ritter while they're coming up. Now, I meant to take the Classic Chute up the North Face of Ritter; however, I realized I was off-route when I encountered low 5th class moves and plenty of class 4. I later climbed that day Banner and noticed that I actually climbed the chute immediately left of the Classic Chute. I made the summit of Ritter at 2:33pm (46 minutes from the R/B saddle to summit). I was only on top for a few minutes. I descended via the North Face via the Classic Chute back to the R/B saddle. At the saddle, the group left me a note on my pack (I left my pack at the saddle while I was climbing Ritter) saying that they decided to turn back and return to camp. I rested for a few short minutes at the R/B saddle and then I headed up the Western Slope of Banner at 3:23pm. I made the summit of Banner Peak at 4:00pm. Stayed there 'til 4:15pm and headed back down to the saddle. I put on the strap-on crampons and with ice axe in hand I descended the snow chute, which was a bit icy by now (it was 5:00pm and the chute was totally shadowed). I walked into camp at 6:20pm and Alex was the only one there. mdostby and kdonaldson had left 20 minutes earlier back to Agnew Meadows trailhead. I packed up my things and then Alex and I hiked out from Ediza Lake around 7:00pm. We met up with kdonaldson and mdostby at 9:40pm at the trailhead. We later had a late night dinner (~ 11pm) at the Denny's in Bishop. The group decided to turn back because of the late hour if they had gone for Banner Peak and concerns over the icy chute. All in all, another very long day!
Climbing up to the saddle was exciting with just light hiking boots and ice axes. But thankfully the final chute to the saddle wasn't as steep as it looked on the approach.
Climbing the right hand chute above the saddle was a breeze, the higher wider chute closer to the top was more consistent third class.
We were so hungry on the summit that we ate a pound of Velveeta cheese with a box of Triscuits. This equals about 6 times the recommended sodium intake, so our climb of Banner afterwards was a thirsty one, but we refuse to eat anything that has the letters BAR on its label.
Thankfully, no one was above us, as there's a fair amount of loose rock. All the ledges are solid though, so it's pretty doable for non-technical hikers.
Day 2 of the 2003 Sierra Challenge. With Michael Graupe and Dan Siebert, reached the summit 2hr after leaving the summit of Banner Peak, 7.5hr after leaving Agnew Meadows. What a fun day. Trip Report
I climbed this with my good friend Samantha. It's a wonderful climb.
My fiance Mary Alice Tackett and I climbed a variation between the SE Glacier route and the Clyde variation. A great view from the summit, and I even called my mom from the top! Then back to Lake Ediza for a day of drinking champagne!
My 2 good friends summited Banner while I was on Ritter. I could see them as tiny specks on top of Banner and heard my name shouted across a 1000 meter abyss between us. What a treat for a solo climber high in the Sierra!
Second time on Mt. Ritter this year. A very fun climb for non-technical climbers.
See trip report by clicking here.
This mountain is a real alpine experience...in California. As this was a light snow year, the ice was pretty hard, bergschrund open and amazing. Smoke from a forest fire killed some views to the south and of the Clark Range.
trip report is here.
Image gallery is here.
This was a weather-perfect dayhike from Agnew Meadow in a time of 9h40m. Trip Report