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Mt Ritter as a JMT Side Trek

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Mt Ritter as a JMT Side Trek

Postby mitchellisdumb » Tue Apr 22, 2014 8:36 pm

Hey everybody,

First post here, looks like a great community!

My dad and I are planning our JMT hike, starting August 5th this summer. I was looking as side treks and Ritter looks really promising, but we don't have (or want to bring) any mountaineering gear. Is it safely climbable that time of year without any gear? How hairy does it really get? I'm just trying to get a feel for how realistic it would be.

If anybody has input on how long the detour would take too, that would be helpful. Thanks!

- Mitch



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Re: Mt Ritter as a JMT Side Trek

Postby AlmostThere » Tue Apr 22, 2014 8:57 pm

Mt Ritter is not a walk-able peak - it is a climber's peak. I say this because three of the four routes require crampons/ice axe, and the west slope requires that you are good at route finding to get the class 2 route *or* you get into trouble/onto class 3-4 or worse without intending to. If you are not mountaineers, not recommended. There is no trail.
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Re: Mt Ritter as a JMT Side Trek

Postby mitchellisdumb » Tue Apr 22, 2014 9:23 pm

Understood. I definitely wasn't looking at it as a hike-able mountain—that's actually part of what attracted me to it, breaking the monotony of trail walking. We're both quite comfortable with class 3 climbing, and have done 4 and 5 but would rather avoid it in this situation.

I guess the big question for me right now is whether we'd be able to stay on route.
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Re: Mt Ritter as a JMT Side Trek

Postby maverick » Wed Apr 23, 2014 9:58 am

Hi Mitchell,

Welcome to HST! Your easiest, non-technical route is the west-slope route. I have
done this once in Aug years ago, and it was quite easy. The best description of the
route is here: http://www.summitpost.org/west-slope/438342
Have a great JMT hike, please write up a TR when you get back.
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Re: Mt Ritter as a JMT Side Trek

Postby orbitor » Mon Apr 28, 2014 4:01 pm

Though I haven't done the west slope, I'm sure Maverick is right in terms of technical difficulty. The problem with it is the approach, which can get to be quite tedious once over North Glacier Pass and to Ritter Lakes. Navigation also seems to be challenging. Depending on how much time you would devote to the side trip, this route could work, but with JMT as the main objective I don't think it's worth the effort.

The SE Glacier route from Ediza Lake, which I did do last year, is mostly class 2, but crampons are needed. The most technical part is Owens Chute - class 3 on rock that is not always as stable as it looks. Bottom line: there is no easy way up Ritter. You could try for Banner instead.
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Re: Mt Ritter as a JMT Side Trek

Postby mitchellisdumb » Mon Apr 28, 2014 6:21 pm

Thanks for the input all! I'll talk it over with my dad and see what we're up for. We might just keep Ritter in our pockets and see how we're feeling on the trail.

By the way, Orbitor, we only have 12 days on the trail, which isn't enough to do the whole JMT (not for us, anyways), but it's only 8.5 miles per day if we stop at VVR like we planned. So adding Ritter and Cloud's Rest should make it a more interesting and slightly more challenging trip. If it was our objective to do the whole JMT, then as you say we'd be better off sticking to that.
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