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off_the_hook

[TR] Mount Ritter/Banner Peak - North Face 6/23/20

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Trip: Mount Ritter/Banner Peak - North Face

 

Date: 6/23/2007

 

Trip Report:

This renowned duo is the centerpiece of the Ansel Adams Wilderness near Yosemite National park. We set out from the Rush Creek Trailhead by Silver Lake (along the June Lake road). This approach begins 1,000 feet lower than the normal Agnew Meadows start, but gains the elevation quickly through several miles of switchbacks along the Clark Lakes trail. We departed at 5:10 am and within 2 hours we were up high along the ridge gazing at Ritter and Banner. At Clark Lakes, I began a loop that would basically take me around Banner Peak - Thousand Island Lake to Lake Catherine to Ritter/Banner Saddle to Nydiver Lakes to Garnet Lake. I was back at the car at 5:25 pm for 12 hour and 15 minute day.

 

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Reflection from Clark Lakes

 

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A long walk around Thousand Island Lake (much longer than you think initially!) brought us to the foot of Banner Peak.

 

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We continued on up to North Glacier Pass. At this point my partner felt the altitude and decided to forgo continuing the route. I set off for Ritter-Banner saddle.

 

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I was making good time until I found out I lost a water bottle and spent 30 minutes looking for it - to no avail. Once I let the water bottle go I was back on track, ascending the North Face of Ritter via the right hand chute to the summit - arriving just after 11 am.

 

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The Minarets from Mount Ritter.

 

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Banner Peak from Mount Ritter.

 

I enjoyed the glorious views and then returned to Ritter/Banner saddle to climb Banner Peak. The views from Banner were equally impressive and I spent about 30 minutes on the summit, departing at 12:45 pm.

 

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From left to right: 1000 Island Lake, Garnet Lake, Nydiver Lakes, Lake Ediza.

 

I went back to the saddle and then glissaded down from the saddle toward Lake Ediza, but turning off on the higher slopes heading for the Nydiver Lakes. I traversed just above the lakes to a pass that leads to the basin above Garnet Lakes. This section was spectacular with sweet views to the Minarets.

 

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Ritter (left) and Banner (right)

 

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Descending from the pass to Garnet Lake was easy, but the walk around Garnet's shores was long and more tedious than I had imagined with ups and downs and various obstacles (unlike Thousand Island Lake which has very flat shores). The swarming mosquitoes in this area were not pleasant either and while the DEET kept the bites at bay, I swallowed more than a couple suckers! Nonetheless, the views from Garnet were well worth the effort.

 

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From the outlet of Garnet Lake, I took the trail down to the River Trail and then headed up to Agnew Pass. Once atop the pass, gravity helped me with the remaining 5.5 miles to the trailhead, arriving at 5:25 pm.

 

Clouds Rest:

After some rest and food, we set off to hike Clouds Rest from Tenaya Lake for early morning light. Although a little chilly/windy on the summit, the gaze down toward Yosemite Valley was awe inspiring.

 

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We were back at the car by 9:30 am, just early enough to beat the Sunday afternoon traffic.

 

 

 

Gear Notes:

Ice axe needed, crampons optional

 

Approach Notes:

Mosquitoes are out!!!

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Leor,

Keep the great pics coming. Perhaps if you started getting regular exercise your legs could carry you even further :crazy: and you could send even more great pics of the High Sierra motherland?

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What kind of camera/film/digital unit are you using to make those great pics? Lots of post processing? How do you getthat deep blue sky? A filter? My pics look lame, comparably.

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I use a compact Nikon 5600 - a four year old model. It is excellent for landscape photography (as are all Nikon's in my opinion), but not great for nighttime/fast action. Very little processing (none on most photos); the deep blue sky is a function of getting the right angle in either early morning or late afternoon (the bright Sierra sunshine helps too).

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I will be up there in a few weeks. What did you need an ice axe for? Do you think I would still need one around 1st of August? Nice pics, I hope to get some similar ones.

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I needed the axe for the ascent up from Ritter-Banner Saddle to the start of the North Face route on Mount Ritter and for glissading down from the Ritter-Banner saddle toward Lake Ediza. You will probably still need the axe Aug. 1st if you are ascending to Ritter-Banner saddle, especially in the morning when the permanent snow patch will be icy.

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