This is the prominent reddish ridge line that extends around the snow field on the North West side of Vandever Mountain. High Sierra Peaks, Passes, and Trails rates this route class 3. Total elevation gain from base of ridgeline to summit is 1,947’
Ascending: From the White Chief/Eagle Lake/Mosquito Lakes trailhead located at road’s end in Mineral King hike appx. 4 miles with a gain of 2,200’ to the White Chief cirque camp area. The ridge line is very broad at the base of the mountain, so one can’t really go wrong with starting it off. Depending on the season and snow load that winter, patches of snow can remain on this ridge until late June. Crampons are HIGHLY recommended if most of your travel will be on snow. Leave the White Chief trail shortly passing “House Cave” (directly above Cirque Cave – where the creek disappears into the cave).
Ascend the ridge staying closer to the vertical ridgeline next obvious large snow couloir. The quality of rock is in better condition than further our and around the ridgeline. As you ascend the ridgeline become narrower (note: Never does the ridge become “exposed.” The left side is a cliff down to the snowfield while the right side remains a slate/scree field down to the White Chief bowl. ) With this being said, try to stay left and up as high as possible on the ridgeline to avoid exiting the ridge too low and being out on the slate/scree to low making this tedious hike just that much more. The goal of this route to exit onto the Southeast ridge of Vandever or at the HIGHER saddle between Vandever & Falcon Peak if going to Falcon peak. This is pretty obvious in descending the ridge but this is why I’m saying stay as high as you can on this ridge while going up. Route finding is pretty easy going and you can’t go too wrong here. Upon reaching the southeast ridgeline angle up and left. Class 1 to the summit over MORE tedious slate/scree (oh boy!).
If you see more snow than reddish rock – take crampons. Otherwise no essential gear required.
External LinksBob Burd's Trip Report