South Ridge

Page Type: Route
Lat/Lon: 38.12940°N / 119.5583°W
Route Type: Hike / Scramble / Technical Rock Climb
Time Required: A few days
Difficulty: Mostly Class 2 with a short Class 4 move


The closest trailheads to Craig Peak are located at Leavitt Meadows from the north, or Hetch Hetchy Reservoir from the south.

1) From Leavitt Meadows Pack Station follow the West Walker River trail south all the way to Tower Lake. Continue south over a low use trail over the saddle to Mary Lake. Follow the use trail along the eastern shore past Mary Lake until you reach Craig Peak to the east. (18.5 miles total)

(2) From Hetch Hetchy, take the trail north to Jack Main Canyon until you reach the PCT. Continue north until you reach the trail for Tilden Lake. Follow the trail on the western shore past the lake until you reach Craig Peak to the east. (22 miles total)

Route Description

I actually climbed Craig Peak from Snow Peak. You can read about the descent from Snow Peak to the saddle here if that is also in your plans.

If you are climbing Craig Peak by itself, then ascend the low point of the saddle between Craig Peak and Snow Peak to gain the south ridge of Craig Peak. The west slope of the ridge rising from Tilden Creek is comprised of mostly loose rock, scree, sand and dirt, with some boulders along the way to help your progress. Pick your way up the slope as best you can.

Once on the ridge, it is a pretty easy hike until the ridge starts to steepen. Hug the western ridgeline (left side) for better rock and some fun boulder hopping, or climb the eastern part of the ridge for an ascent over slightly more sandy terrain. Either way there are patches of Scrub pine that need to be navigated. I could not avoid stepping through some of them. Fortunately, they aren't very tall.

Continue to make your way up the ridge. The higher you go, the more boulder hopping you'll have to do. Some of this is Class 3 but easy. The actual summit block requires a short Class 4 move to reach. Climb the boulders on the south end and work your way over the slight overhang. It's only about about 5 feet above the boulders, but it is exposed on the west side. The overall exposure is minimal.

Enjoy the terrific view of Tower Peak just to the north, and Hawksbeak Peak behind it to the northeast!

Start elevation: 9,200'
Summit: 11,090'
Elevation gain: 1,890'
Distance: ~ 2 miles

Essential Gear

There is no special equipment required for this climb during the summer months.

Miscellaneous Info

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