North Face (Winter Route)

Page Type
California, United States, North America
Route Type:
Time Required:
One to two days
Easy snow climb (up to 35-40deg)

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Created On: Feb 15, 2011
Last Edited On: Aug 11, 2011


The description here is for a winter route under snow cover. The route can be done in one long day, but there are many excellent places to camp and enjoy solitude. Dense trees in places provide good shelter from the wind.

Getting There

Topo showing the approach and climb

The approach is identical to that for the NE Ridge from Dick's Pass by Steeleman. Choose one of the two trailheads and make your way to Dick's Lake.

Route Description

Once you get to Dick's Lake, you have two options, which in the end make little difference. Pick whichever your preference and potential avalanche conditions dictate. The first involves gaining the broad shoulder starting from the north end of Dick's Lake, as described in NE Ridge via High Saddle (Winter Route). The second involves heading further west until you reach the edge of the north bowl, and then following this edge to the base of the north face.

You can climb the north face in several places, depending on your appetite. The day I went up was on the back of several days of very strong north and east winds following a winter storm, and the whole face had been severely wind scoured. This revealed a small and shallow rib of exposed rock in the middle of the face, wich provided a safe and enjoyable way up.

The climb gets steeper the more one ascends, but stays at an average of 35deg near the top section. Steeper sections can be found, but can mostly be avoided if you like, generally by heading towards east towards the ridge. We completed the ascent on a fairly hard crust by French stepping, but got on our front points for sections of the descent.

Overall, if this is your first time on crampons, conditions are hard/crusty, and you are not used to a little exposure, you might find this exciting. If you have snow climbing experience, then this should be straightforward.

Essential Gear

Snowshoes for the approach. Crampons and ice axe for the climb. Standard winter gear.

North Face (Winter Route)

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