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Ritter Pass - current conditions: snow?

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Ritter Pass - current conditions: snow?

Postby giulia » Tue Sep 05, 2017 6:07 pm

Hi!

I'll be heading to Ritter pass (not the saddle between Ritter and Banner) on 9/14 and I'm wondering if I need crampons. I was in the Muir Pass and Italy Pass this past weekend noticing that there is still snow around.

Does anybody have any data on the current conditions in that area?

Thanks!



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Re: Ritter Pass - current conditions: snow?

Postby cgundersen » Wed Sep 06, 2017 1:48 pm

giulia,
First, I'd recommend tracking down the Mammoth summit webcam (https://www.mammothmountain.com/winter/ ... summit-cam) and focus on the area around Ritter Pass which should at least tell you how things look on the Ediza side. That said, the Ediza side is the easier, and just as a word of caution, Ritter Pass has one of the most unstable stretches of loose rock and crappy footing that I've ever encountered. To make that route even less appealing, the lakes on the other side are not great, Slide Creek is not terribly memorable and even the Minarets do not look as spectacular on the other side. What can I say? If it were me, I'd spend the time going up to North Glacier pass (and Lake Catherine). In my book, even Clinch Pass or Rodgers Pass are preferable to Ritter (and, yes, for the life of me, I have no idea why it's listed on the map), because they deposit you in really terrific terrain. Cameron
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Re: Ritter Pass - current conditions: snow?

Postby ibapahpeak » Fri Sep 08, 2017 7:53 am

What a great idea cgundersen, using the Mammoth web cam. I'm on the trip with Giulia and our main concern is whether there is a long steep snow climb on the west side. We're prepared to do it, but want to know how much equipment to bring, given this is a two day trans-sierra. We are going West to East and planning to ascend Dike creek all the way from the trail. Do you have any idea if that's doable? It's always hard to tell from the topo lines whether you might be cliffed out at some point.

Thanks for your help,

Kirk
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Re: Ritter Pass - current conditions: snow?

Postby cgundersen » Fri Sep 08, 2017 8:56 am

Hi Kirk,
For how snow seems to be lingering EVERYWHERE, and especially up in the Minaret area, I'm guessing there will be plenty of remnant snow up there. In the case of Ritter Pass, I think the presence of snow will probably be an improvement. My recollection is that the slope of the Ritter ridge is no worse than the slope going up Granite-Bear Pass from the Granite Park (west side), and the reason this is relevant is that there was just a trip report showing folks descending Granite Bear with no special equipment. Thus, I think if you wait for the sun to warm things up, it'll probably be OK, then again, I'm pretty comfortable on snow, so if you're not, maybe bring microspikes? Oh, and I apologize, I had meant Dike Creek: my wife and I were coming down the trail and to reach Dike creek, we began contouring to reach the "hump" (2543 on the HST map) right after we crossed Slide creek. Once we hit Dike creek, I do recall having to climb up and around the knob labeled 2723, but otherwise the bushwhacking was pretty painless (with the caveats I already outlined). Somewhat tedious, not the greatest scenery, but certainly doable. It gets WAY better on the Ediza side! Cameron
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Re: Ritter Pass - current conditions: snow?

Postby ibapahpeak » Fri Sep 08, 2017 7:59 pm

excellent intell cameron, thanks so much! im feeling much more comfortable now.

Kirk
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Re: Ritter Pass - current conditions: snow?

Postby giulia » Fri Sep 08, 2017 8:19 pm

Cameron, many thanks for all the detailed information!
Giulia
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Re: Ritter Pass - current conditions: snow?

Postby cgundersen » Sat Sep 09, 2017 9:54 am

Kirk/Giulia,
I hope the weather cooperates for you guys! Also, two last noteworthy comments re: the Dike creek canyon are that we ran into some of the best displays of bright red (I think mountain ash) berries we've ever seen in the Sierra, and also, as the sun was setting, it illuminated a bronze plaque on one of the Minarets which subsequent investigation revealed had been installed as a memorial to an individual who had fallen during a climb. So, if you see something brightly glinting on the ridge in the evening sun, that's probably the plaque! Cameron
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Re: Ritter Pass - current conditions: snow?

Postby ibapahpeak » Mon Sep 18, 2017 1:03 pm

Thanks Cameron. Just wanted to report that we had a great trip and that we got up and over the pass with no difficulties at all. The only snow we had to deal with is the low angle slope on the East side and for that you didn't even really need micro-spikes. Our only incident was a little difficulty getting through the cliff band above Lake Ediza. Thanks in no small part to my creative route-finding, we ended up descending a crack in the middle rather than the easy Talus slopes on the North. We also managed to miss the team going from East to West, although they must have been very close to us. The weather was perfect and I have to say that in this wet year Dike Creek Canyon was gorgeous: full of burbling streams, green meadows, beautiful flowers, and not a single mosquito.

Thanks again for all your help,

Kirk.
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Re: Ritter Pass - current conditions: snow?

Postby cgundersen » Mon Sep 18, 2017 1:27 pm

Hi Kirk,
Great to hear! I think we were a bit biased, because we hit Dike Creek at the end of a loop in which we went from Marie over Rodgers Pass and spent several days in the upper reaches of the Lyell Fork of the Merced, which was gorgeous. And, we then continued around to Blue Lakes, which have a terrific head-on view of Ritter-Banner and the Minaret chain. So, Dike was a bit anticlimactic followed by what for us was a pretty dicey experience on Ritter Pass. I'm in no hurry to tackle it again, but am glad it went smoothly for you. Cameron
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