Southeast Side via Agassiz Col

Southeast Side via Agassiz Col

Page Type Page Type: Route
Location Lat/Lon: 37.11170°N / 118.53°W
Additional Information Route Type: Scramble/Bouldering
Additional Information Time Required: One to two days
Additional Information Difficulty: Class 2-3
Sign the Climber's Log


Starting from Big Pine Road End(near Glacier Lodge) hike ~6.5 miles up North Fork Trail past 1st, 2nd, and 3rd Big Pine Lakes. We camped at the junction of the main trail and the Glacier Trail(to Sam Mack Meadow) just below 4th, but to shorten the next day one could continue on the Glacier Trail and Camp at Sam Mack Meadow(higher,colder and less morning sun!) From Sam Mack Meadow ascend the North wall near the water and follow the ridge to Sam Mack Lake. From the inlet to Sam Mack Lake follow the natural drainage to the frozen lake at the base of Agassiz Glacier below the Col.

Route Description

From the frozen lake below Agassiz Col traverse around the north side of the lake gradually ascending to the col. From the col ascend towards the peak keeping well below and on the right(east) side of the ridge. When you can see the final summit pitch make for the slight saddle just below the pitch and cross the ridge to west face. From here it's an easy boulder scramble. -NOTE- From below the Col the route looks like tough Class 3 but once you get to the col it becomes apparent that it is mostly 2 with some small 3 sections.

Essential Gear

None needed for 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.

Additions and CorrectionsPost an Addition or Correction

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justinjohnsen - Oct 11, 2007 12:53 pm - Hasn't voted

Approximate mileage and gain

RJ Secor, in "The High Sierra," gives a distance of 9 1/4 miles and an elevation gain of 3,323' by trail from Big Pine Creek trailhead (7,677') parking lot to Sam Mack Meadow (11,000'). Checking out the area on Topozone, I can see the routes from the Meadow to Agassiz Col (13,100') climb 2,100' cross-country over 2 miles. The final stretch from the col to the summit (13,893') climbs 793' over 0.4 miles. Total: 6,216' net gain (with a tiny bit more gross) over 23 miles round-trip.


sierradiscgolfer - Oct 19, 2007 11:14 am - Hasn't voted

Re: Approximate mileage and gain

Hey Justin, thanks for the info. It really sounds pretty imressive the way you lay it out. I did it in two days making a base camp at the cut-off to Sam Mack (before Fourth Lake)

Sebastian - Aug 21, 2014 4:31 pm - Hasn't voted

Approaching Agassiz col from West

When approaching the col from the West, the correct chute is easy to see from the floor of Dusy basin. It is just straight up. However, when traversing from Thunderbolt pass, you will be too high to identify this chute with certainty. The main, lower chute forks and there is an alternative left (north) option, and from the Y you cannot see which one is correct. It is the right (south) one, the one having red rock on the top. The left one ends just below the summit in some class 3. Without a backpack, it might work as a summit route, but it is not the col and is much harder and higher.

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