Southeast Ridge

Page Type Page Type: Route
Location Lat/Lon: 38.06500°N / 119.273°W
Additional Information Route Type: Scramble
Additional Information Time Required: Half a day
Additional Information Difficulty: Class 3
Sign the Climber's Log


The obvious access to this route is via the trailhead at the end of the Virginia Lakes Road. The Virginia Lakes Road leaves Highway 395 at the crest of the pass on Conway Summit, trending westward. Continue up the road and it will turn to gravel just before the end. There is a good amount of free trailhead parking, and a pit toilet. During the spring and early to mid summer, there will be copious numbers of ravenous mosquitos. They were still following me (and still sucking blood) when I reached the summit, at over 12,000'!

Route Description

There are two branches of the trail available at the trailhead. If you are headed towards or past the Frog Lakes, take the trail adjacent to the toilet. For the SE Ridge route, backtrack to the edge of the parking area, and look for the trail leading uphill through short brush. This is the more direct route. You need use this trail only 1/4 of a mile or so, and then it is time to strike out cross-country through very low brush (6-12") that is spaced just so for walking.

This rounded portion of the lower ridge soon runs out of the brush and steepens when it reaches the talus. This is not the quality big-block talus of Sierra renown, but rather small, flat, loose volcanic rock. The footing is good if you stick to the ridge proper where the rock is anchored. This spine on the ridge is the key to an enjoyable ascent. If you stray into the gullys on either side, the rock is loose and unpleasant, and no more than 2nd class. If you maintain the ridgeline, the rock is reasonably well anchored, there are some good 3rd class moves to be had, and there are some instances of exposure to consider.

Eventually the ridge rounds out and turns into a slog leading to the saddle between the two summits. Be sure to ascend the summit on the climber's left, that is the highpoint. From the saddle, it is only 10-15 minutes to the summit. There is a Sierra Club box up there, as well as an old ammo can, and neither has a decent vestige of a summit register, so if you head up there in the near future, take a notebook or some such with on your ascent.

Essential Gear

In the summer you need no more than your favorite pair of walking shoes, some extraneous calories, and lots of water. There is no water available after you leave the lake, and there is no shade along the route.

In some winter/spring conditions an axe and/or crampons may be necessary. How generic can you get!

Miscellaneous Info

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



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