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Ascent of Mount Ritter on 1997-08-29

Climber: Richard Carey

Date:Friday, August 29, 1997
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
Peak:Mount Ritter
    Location:USA-California
    Elevation:13143 ft / 4005 m

Ascent Trip Report

Named in 1864 by the Whitney Survey for the German geographer Karl Ritter (1779-1859). John Muir made the first ascent climbing up the steep north side from the Ritter/Banner saddle in October 1872. (Browning, p. 183)

The peak lies on the boundaries of the Sierra and Inyo National Forests and is in the Ansel Adams Wilderness. The usual approach from the east is entirely in the Inyo National Forest. Permits are needed for overnight trips, but not for dayhikes. There is a Forest Service office in Mammoth Lakes on hwy. 203. Address is: Box 148, Mammoth Lakes, CA 93546. Phone: (760) 924-5500

Mt. Ritter can be done as a long dayhike starting from the Agnew Meadows trailhead at the bottom of the grade on highway 203 west of Minaret Summit. This road has restricted travel from 7:30AM to 4:30PM so drive into to the trailhead before or after this time period. Start the hike on the good trail going north along the meadows and valley bottom then go left at a signed junction after about 45 minutes toward Shadow Lake. Cross a bridge and go up switchbacks and pass Shadow Lake on your way toward Ediza Lake. Just before Ediza Lake stay on a use trail on the right (north) side of the stream rather than on the main trail on the south side. This avoids having to cross the stream at the lake outlet which can be difficult. Follow the use trail on the north side of the lake over boulders then climb up slopes at the west end of the lake. After about 4 hours travel reach the alpine valley below Ritter and go west across the stream at UTM: 307780E, 4173000N. Continue generally west and climb up steep grassy slopes mixed with granite slabs and streams. Reaching the main glacier in the large bowl on the south side of Ritter, go across the center of it to the first chute at the west end of a sheer cliff on the SE side of the mountain. Go up this chute which has loose talus and water flow in late season. Exit the chute onto a less steep slope that leads to the summit. One way ascent time is 6 to 8 hours depending on your speed. Allow about 5 hours for the return hike. The route is 15 miles round-trip with a gain of about 4700 ft. 9/97 RLC
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