This is the big peak just north of Mount Ritter. It's the northernmost of a group of peaks, including the Minarets, that draw the eye of climbers and non-climbers alike driving past Mammoth Lakes on 395. It was first climbed by John Miller and Willard D. Johnson in August of 1883.
Climbers should not be expecting the granite found in other parts of The Sierra. The rock is volcanic and tends to be more fractured and loose than the granite. Nevertheless, this peak sports a number of good routes that can be steeper and have more face climbing than elsewhere in the range.
Descent is through the Ritter-Banner saddle. Both sides of this pass hold snow. Climbers should take this into account when planning their equipment.
For more information check out RJ Secor's The High Sierra 3rd ed., p.392 - 393 or Moynier and Fiddler's Climbing California's High Sierra 2nd ed., p.337 - 341.
If climbing the peak from the Ritter-Banner Saddle, or via the Southeast Face or East Corner the best approach is from the Agnew Meadows Trailhead. Camping can be found at the popular but easy to reach Lake Ediza, or at the much quieter Nydiver Lakes.
For other routes some climbers may prefer to approach from Silver Lake on The June Lake Loop.
The Agnew Meadows Trailhead is on the Minaret Road, which is closed from Minaret Summit on in the summer from 7am to 7pm. During these hours a shuttle bus leaves from Mammoth Mountain Ski area at least every half hour. Tickets are $7.
This route climbs what is essentially the east ridge of Banner Peak. Good ledges can be found for almost all belays.Gain the ridge by climbing a 4th class chute on the south side a little ways uphill from the toe of the ridge. Follow the chute through a narrow bit (this can be avoided by climbing some low 5th class rock on the right wall) and up some reddish orange rock to the ridge.Climb the ridge for 3 - 4 pitches of easy 5th class to a steep headwall. There seem to be several ways to go here,...[more]Browse More Classics in CA