South Ridge

Page Type: Route
Lat/Lon: 37.59100°N / 119.013°W
Route Type: Scramble
Time Required: Half a day
Difficulty: Class 3


From Lake George in the Mammoth Lakes, take the Crystal Lake trail. This trail switchbacks steeply out of the Mammoth Lakes basin with nice views over the lakes and out to the Mammoth Crest. up to a cirque in between the Mammoth Crest and Crystal Crag. In this cirque lies lovely Crystal Lake. The trail ends at the lake, but a use trail continues to its southern end. Crystal Crag will be pretty obvious on your left side. Above you is the west face, which Secor says has a class 3 route up some ledges (we didn't see it). From the far end of Crystal Lake, head SE towards the saddle that forms the terminus of the obvious south ridge of the crag. This saddle separates the Crystal Lake drainages from that of neighboring TJ Lake.

Route Description

From the saddle, you have two choices. The first is to hug the south ridge the entire way. This ridge is, in spots, a super exposed knife-edge. I haven't found much information on this route, but at least one guide outfit rates it a 5.4 rockclimb. The more pedestrian route, yet still quite thrilling, is to follow the ridge as much as possible, but dropping below the ridge to climber's right (the east side) whenever the going on the ridge gets too gnarly. This route is a middle of the road class 3, with some nice exposure towards the top.

The actual summit is a diamond shaped block requiring some delicate balancing to get to. However, there are about 5 "sit-able" rocks about 2 feet lower than the main summit and only about 4 feet away.

Essential Gear

No essential gear required. If travelling in May or early June, bring skis or snowshoes for the approach.

Miscellaneous Info

If you have information about this route that doesn't pertain to any of the other sections, please add it here.