Northwest Ridge

Page Type Page Type: Route
Location Lat/Lon: 37.08160°N / 118.4887°W
Additional Information Route Type: Scrambling
Seasons Season: Summer, Fall
Additional Information Time Required: Most of a day
Additional Information Rock Difficulty: Class 4
Additional Information Grade: III
Sign the Climber's Log


From Elinore Lake to the north, pass the lake on its eastern shore and climb south towards the obvious ridge between the lake and Palisade Crest. Pass through a large notch at the 3650m level to the east side of the ridge and follow the ridge on this side to its junction with the Sierra crest known as Scimitar Pass.

From the south, climb from Lake 3559m NNE to the saddle between Mt. Jepson on the left, and Palisade Crest on the right. This is a seemingly endless boulder climb. The saddle can be bypassed my climbing more to the right towards Scimitar Pass which is not located at the saddle but several hundred feet higher and to the right of the saddle.

Route Description

From Scimitar Pass, follow the crest of the ridge until about 150 yards from Gandalf Peak. Drop down on the northeast side of the crest in an arc, dropping some 50-60ft and then gradually climbing back up to the notch just before the class 4 slab and Gandalf Peak. This traverse across the northeast side is quite steep and the route-finding is tricky. Look for ducks marking the easiest route. Secor rates this part class 3, but it seems more difficult and closer to class 4. You can also follow the ridge all the way to the notch, but the difficulty will increase to class 5. It is also possible to climb as far as class 3 will take you, then drop down onto the northeast side and finish the traverse to the notch.

From the notch you will be looking up at a 160-foot slab tilted at something like 35 degrees. Cracks criss-cross the slab making for good holds for both feet and hands, and it is not as difficult as it may at first appear. From the notch traverse right and climb onto the slab from the southwest side. Follow the series of cracks to the top of the slab. The exit off the top of the slab is easy, though it looks from below like you are climbing to a precipice. Move right and climb class 3 rock on the south side of Gandalf to the summit.

Essential Gear

Rock shoes are helpful for climbing the slab. For those not comfortable on class 4 rock, bring along a 60m rope and some cams (medium size) for protection. A large rock at the top of the slab can be encircled with slings for a rappel if needed. A second rappel station has been hung with slings on the southwest side of the slab about halfway down. These were removed as of Aug, 2004.

Miscellaneous Info

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