North Ridge via Christmas Meadows

North Ridge via Christmas Meadows

Page Type Page Type: Route
Location Lat/Lon: 40.74670°N / 110.7681°W
Additional Information Route Type: Hike/Scramble
Additional Information Time Required: One to two days
Additional Information Difficulty: Class 3
Sign the Climber's Log


This route to the summit of Ostler Peak begins at the Christmas Meadows trailhead. Refer to the 'Getting There' section of the main page for directions on accessing this trailhead.


Round Trip Hiking Distance: 12.5 miles
Elevation Gain: 3,923 ft.

Trailhead Elevation: 8,795 ft.
Summit Elevation: 12,718 ft.

Route Description

The Ostler Fork trail from the Christmas Meadows trailhead is well maintained and easy to follow.

The first 2.5 miles of trail south from Christmas Meadows includes a few minor ups and downs, but the trail gains little elevation. There are frequent wet and muddy spots, but primitive log walkways help avoid the majority of these sloppy sections.

At approximately 2.5 miles the trail splits. The right branch heads south-west along Stillwater Fork, and provides access to Kermsuh, Ryder, and McPheters Lakes. Take the left branch which follows Ostler Fork to Ostler and Amethyst Lakes.

Soon after the branch the trail begins gaining elevation. There are a few rocky sections but the trail remains generally easy to follow.

The trail will continue all the way to Amethyst Lake, but for an ascent of Ostler Peak some routefinding will be required. Probably the most practical route is to first find your way to Ostler Lake, which is located approximately 5.0 miles from the trailhead. This lake is also a scenic and well situated camping location for a multi-day trip.

Ostler Lake is situated approximately 0.3 miles to the west (right) of the main trail. The lake is not visible, nor are there any signs or trails leading to the lake. A map/compass or GPS are strongly recommended to assist in locating the lake.

From Ostler Lake proceed south towards Ostler Peak, which dominates the view to the south. The first 0.5 miles from the lake is relatively level until the beginning of the north ridge which leads to the summit. The east face of this ridge becomes a near-vertical wall of broken cliffs.

Begin ascending steeply up the ridge, staying near the crest or slightly below on the west (right) side. Follow this ridge as it climbs nearly 2000 vertical feet to reach the final summit ridge. The approximate route I followed up the ridge is shown on this photo, but a number of other possibilities undoubtedly exist.

There are numerous cliff bands and rock pillars along the ridge, but careful routefinding will keep the climbing mostly at class 2, with only occasional spots of class 3 scrambling.

Boulder hop the final few hundred feet to the summit ridge, being very cautious as there are many loose rocks. Upon reaching the summit ridge the view will open up to the south, but the true summit will remain hidden until the final 100 yards of scrambling.

Essential Gear

No special equipment is required for an ascent of Ostler Peak.

Insect repellent is a must until late summer.

Water is plentiful throughout the area - bring a suitable purification method.



Parents refers to a larger category under which an object falls. For example, theAconcagua mountain page has the 'Aconcagua Group' and the 'Seven Summits' asparents and is a parent itself to many routes, photos, and Trip Reports.