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Caught Inside 

M4 Steep Snow

Type:  Trad, Mixed, Snow, Alpine, 9 pitches, 1525', Grade IV
Consensus: M4 [details]
FA: Preston Rhea, Kia Ravanfar - 4.6.14
New Route: Yes
Season: Winter, Spring
Page Views: 883
Submitted By: Preston Rhea on Jan 20, 2014

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Start of pitch 4. In the picture we are descending...


"Caught Inside" is a long gully on the northeastern shoulder of Mount Morrison. It follows a band of red rock in a gully that transverses a step of grey rock to a snow field and then moves into a deep gully up the face above.

Pitch 1 - A short easy rock step to snow leads to a much steeper rock step. A bulge near the top is passed on the right on sloping rock (M4). Pulling past the bulge offers a small snow patch and the first belay. 60m

Pitch 2 - An awkward move right off the belay quickly turns to easy rock and snow. The gully steadily narrows down into a chimney used to pass a small chockstone. Past the chimney is another short steep section of snow below a large chimney/chockstone. Belay here. 55m

Pitch 3 - Avoid the chimney/chockstone by traversing right about ten feet to a loose corner and ramp. The corner offers about twelve feet of loose M3 before easing off into an easy ramp and snowfield. Belay where practical. 50m

Pitch 4 - Taking the right side of the upper gully, follow the dihedral until it is practical to traverse left into the left hand couloir. 60m

Pitch 5 - Easy snow leads to a steep chimney (M4) followed by more snow and a large chockstone (M2). 40m

Pitch 6 - Easy snow following the couloir with an easy rock step bypassed on the left. 60m

Pitch 7 - Another pitch of easy snow with a couple easy rock steps. 40m

Pitch 8 - Follow the couloir until it looks like it gets steeper and chokes down. At this point, traverse right out of the couloir onto a buttress (M2). Here follow moderate broken terrain trending to the right side of the buttress. 60m

Pitch 9 - Here at the edge of the buttress there should another narrow gully traversing the buttress up and left slightly. Follow this to the summit ridge. 40m


The route starts on the far end of the northeastern shoulder of Mount Morrison. Once in the hanging valley below the north face, follow the valley almost to the saddle between Mount Morrison and Mini Morrison. "Caught Inside" is fairly obvious and visible throughout the valley.

The route ends on a ridge on the northeastern shoulder of Mount Morrison. From here easy snow leads to the summit. To descend, either proceed to the summit and descend via the eastern slopes or traverse south across a rock buttress with no technical difficulties before descending the eastern slope. Do not descend the obvious gully directly below the top of Caught Inside as this cliffs out.


A normal alpine rock rack with emphasis on smaller cams and with a good selection of pins (knifeblades, arrows, angles, beaks) is the best way to go. Small amounts of ice were encountered on the first ascent; in extremely good years, a couple stubby ice screws may be useful.

Photos of Caught Inside Slideshow Add Photo
The chimney on pitch 5.
The chimney on pitch 5.
Caught Inside picture topo.
BETA PHOTO: Caught Inside picture topo.
A picture showing the location of Caught Inside re...
BETA PHOTO: A picture showing the location of Caught Inside re...
The start of pitch 3.
The start of pitch 3.

Comments on Caught Inside Add Comment
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By Steve Powell
Apr 8, 2014

Thanks. So you didn't find much loose rock, I take it.
By Preston Rhea
From: Mammoth Lakes
Apr 8, 2014

On the whole, the route was fairly solid. I wouldn't want to go up there in summer, but in winter the snow covered most of the loose stuff and the walls were pretty solid. That said, it was one of the more challenging routes to protect that I have climbed in the area. Getting creative with pins in otherwise blank areas was the name of the game.
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