From the Pine Creek Trailhead, northwest of Bishop, hike up the Pine Creek Pass Trail to the Italy Pass Trail.
ROYCE PASS ROUTE: Go right, on the Italy Pass Trail, to Honeymoon Lake. Just past Honeymoon Lake, there is a flat area of slabby meadows. Go left and leave the trail, hiking through meadows and slabs up to Royce Pass. Cross into the Royce Lakes Basin and head south, passing between Lake 11,725 and Peak 12,563. Continue south along the east shore of a smaller lake, then head west, crossing the inlet of Lake 11,666.
PINE CREEK PASS ROUTE: Go left, continuing on the Pine Creek Pass Trail to the summit of Pine Creek Pass. Leave the trail and go right, hiking over a gentle rise into the lower portion of Royce Lakes Basin. Head west and cross the inlet of Lake 11,666.
Head towards the Royce-Merriam Saddle via the obvious snow chute to the southwest. Class 2 snow climbing leads to the saddle.
From the Royce-Merriam Saddle, scramble up the Northwest Ridge of Merriam Peak. Stay 50-200 feet below the ridge to keep the difficulty in the Class 2+ range. The summit is the higher but less impressive pile of rocks on the north end of the summit area. The lower southern point is an intricate and enjoyable Class 3 climb .
An ice axe is required for climbing the snow chute up to Royce-Merriam Saddle. Crampons may also be needed depending on season and time of day.
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