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By EricF
From San Francisco
Jul 14, 2014
Hey all, looking for peoples favorite scrambles in the high sierra 5.4 and under.

I was looking at the north Ridge of Conness, any other favorites out there?

Medium approaches are fine, long ok, nothing to deep in there, looking for things that won't take more than one night out, looks like teh company I'm working for may be going under and don't have a lot of partners out here so August could be full of peak bagging, thanks for the help!

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By Ryan Watts
From Bishop, CA
Jul 14, 2014
Flatirons
Mt Emerson - SE Face
Tenaya Peak - NW Buttess

Both totally doable in half a day even at a pretty lazy pace and both awesome IMO.

N Ridge of Conness is also cool and relatively short. For a slightly longer day maybe look at the W Ridge as well?

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By EricF
From San Francisco
Jul 14, 2014
Thanks Ryan any thoughts on the NE ridge of Bear Creek Spire?

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By Paul Zander
From Flagstaff, AZ
Jul 14, 2014
Goliath Summit Shadows
NE ridge of Bear Creek Spire would be very much in line with what you are seeking I believe. Incredibly scenic!

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By fossana
From Bishop, CA
Jul 14, 2014
West Overhang
Ryan Watts wrote:
N Ridge of Conness is also cool and relatively short. For a slightly longer day maybe look at the W Ridge as well?


These are both rated 5.6, although the cruxes on the N Ridge may be rapped.

+1 on the NE Ridge of Bear Creek Spire
The N Ridge of Lone Pine Peak is rated 5.4, but the crux is a bit stout for the rating. The E Arete on Humphreys is 5.5. For 3rd class recommendations W Chute on Cloudripper (ways to make it harder if you stay to the side of the chute) or the E Arete on Russell. Also, Agassiz is worth doing for the views alone.

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By Stevee B
From Oakland, CA
Jul 14, 2014
Abiding at the GWI.
I like Unicorn Peak, Cockscomb, Echo #4 and #6, N & S Tressider, Columbia Finger. Junction Peak. Many of the Kearsarge Pinnacles.

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By Brad in the bay
Jul 14, 2014
Good suggestions, though IMO tenaya is much much shorter and easier than the others.

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By vincent L.
From Redwood City
Jul 15, 2014
First day of school
North Ridge of North Peak to. North Ridge of Mt. Conness is a fun day .

The down climb on the North Ridge of Conness is very do able , not even 5.6 . Or just bring a 120 ft. section of rope and you're good...

The scramble up to the summit of Cathedral via the descent route is classic , and first done by John Muir back in the day . It was the hardest route in the Sierra for like 50+ years ....

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By EricF
From San Francisco
Jul 15, 2014
That rap on Conness is only a 60 ft rap? I was wondering how long of a rope was needed for it, been question in my mind if it was something I would want to down climb, really would rather not carry the rope

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By SirTobyThe3rd
Jul 15, 2014
Hello
East Ridge of Carl Heller
East Arete on Humphreys
Cockscomb/Unicorn/Echo peaks/Cathedral/Tenaya
Laurel

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By Ryan Watts
From Bishop, CA
Jul 16, 2014
Flatirons
Eric Fernandez wrote:
That rap on Conness is only a 60 ft rap? I was wondering how long of a rope was needed for it, been question in my mind if it was something I would want to down climb, really would rather not carry the rope


If in doubt bring a rope, but honestly I thought it was surprisingly easy and secure. Like someone else said I don't know if I would even call that 5.6 (although the book does).

YMMV as always.

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By kenr
Jul 16, 2014
South ridge of the Crystal Crag by Mammoth Lakes has mostly good rock, great views of pretty mountain lakes, and a non-long approach.
The Aretes of Crystal Crag direct variation substitutes low class 5 moves to get a larger amount of interesting fun climbing and stay more on the crest of the ridge. I expect I'll do it again in the next couple of weeks, and lots more times in the rest of my life.

Ken

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By kenr
Jul 16, 2014
Eric Fernandez wrote:
That rap on Conness is only a 60 ft rap? I was wondering how long of a rope was needed for it, been question in my mind if it was something I would want to down climb, really would rather not carry the rope

It helps if you spend lots of time practicing down-climbing (like as part of your single-pitch cragging) -- the "dues you pay" in order to not have to carry the weight of a rope.

Actually there are two rappels on the N ridge -- that is, two rappel anchor stations, and two rappels are described in the most recent SuperTopo guidebook (one is shorter). The navigation of the down-climbing to avoid them could be a bit tricky the first time -- so I've tried to explain some details in my Comment on the MP page for the N ridge.

I think the North Ridge of Mt Conness is more fun than many parties experience, because roped parties higher up start looking for the easiest fastest line (off the ridge) which misses lots of fun climbing sequences. When you're soloing you feel you have lots of time to seek out and play on the most fun ridge sections.

Ken

P.S. Two ways to game the "bringing a rope" thing:
1a) bring only enough rope for the actual length of the rappel (not for double to retrieve it after rappelling). If none of the climbers can work out the moves to solo (or lead) the down-climb, then tie one end of the rope to the anchor, rappel on a single rope, and just leave the rope behind.

1b) First try to work out the down-climb moves on belay. With luck, you discover you don't have to sacrifice your rope. If this doesn't work, then at least you get to finish the route without carrying the weight of your (non-doubled) rope.

2) first hike to the summit of Mt Conness, and do the N ridge in the overall downward direction, then figure out the rappel sections by climbing up them - (hopefully easier?). If you can't work it out, just climb up the N ridge back to the summit.

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By kenr
Jul 16, 2014
SirTobyThe3rd wrote:
Cockscomb/Unicorn/Echo peaks/Cathedral/Tenaya Laurel

Yes the ridge-top granite of the Cathedral range on S side of Tuolumne Meadows is great. I'm looking forward to getting on it again in the next couple of weeks.

What's your fun way of doing the Cockscomb?

SirTobyThe3rd wrote:
East Ridge of Carl Heller

Isn't it kind of a long hike into Carl Heller?
You do that as a day-trip?

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By Sirius
From Oakland, CA
Jul 16, 2014
Moving through the crux lock - now that's micro be...
Laurel is ok, it's fine for a short front country outing, but if you have limited number of days on your trip, skip it for something else. Doesn't have the spectacular elements that most Sierra scrambles have.

Tenaya is also front country and very close to your car but is many times better than Laurel.

BCS is an incredible outing. That Valley is a wonder.

N-Ridge on Conness is fantastic and I agree with others that the downclimb was tranquilo. I liked it better than the W-ridge.

If you haven't been up to Temple area of the Pallisades, I'd say the golden brick road route up there (forgetting both proper route name and peak name - Alice?) is worth it for the hike and the views and the swim in the lakes.

Carl Heller and Emerson are both high on my list. Report back if you do 'em!

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By fossana
From Bishop, CA
Jul 16, 2014
West Overhang
SirTobyThe3rd wrote:
East Ridge of Carl Heller

kenr wrote:
You do that as a day-trip?


Sir Toby does Evolution in a day.

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By SirTobyThe3rd
Jul 24, 2014
Hello
"Isn't it kind of a long hike into Carl Heller?
You do that as a day-trip?"

In summer I would, especially now that I climbed for a few years. I did it in winter less than a year after I got into mountaineering. Had a pretty epic time. Spent a night at 13K without a sleeping bag. Great trip though.

vividrea1ity.blogspot.com/2012...

"Sir Toby does Evolution in a day."
Got lucky with route finding and right level of stoke. Wouldn't do it car to car now lol.
vividrea1ity.blogspot.com/2013...

Contrast between these two trips from two different years is interesting. If someone asked me what was harder, I would probably have to say Carl Heller. I was much more scared in a few spots, traversing over a void with powder collapsing under my feet. True winter conditions make a huge difference in difficulty of climbing.

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By kenr
Jul 25, 2014
Sirius wrote:
Carl Heller and Emerson are both high on my list. Report back if you do 'em!

I did Emerson SE face a couple of days ago. The summit ridge is really great. There's an interesting sequence at the start, and some other interesting "gully" sequences along the way (but also lots of less-interesting easy scrambling and hiking on less-interesting rock between start and top of climbing section).

The disadvantage is much more work than several other routes mentioned here. Like around 4000 vertical feet from the official day-visitor Parking. And the obvious descent includes 2000 vertical feel of rather un-fun sand and scree (so be sure to check the MP beta for ideas of non-obvious descent).

Comparing:
Mt Emerson: say 1100 ft of interesting ridge climbing (including top section of descent) plus say 600ft somewhat interesting (out of 1800 vertical ft of face/gully climbing), so let's call it 1800 ft of climbing for 4000 vertical feet of total uphill work (approach and climbing).

North Ridge of Mt Conness: say about 3000 vertical feet from Sawmill Parking up to summit of Mt Conness. Say 2000-3000 feet of somewhat-interesting climbing (for parties who stay on the ridge, instead of dropping down W side for faster finish). Way better ratio of climbing to work.

Which ignores the option of also traversing North Peak before starting the North ridge of Conness - (Lots of people do this).
Also ignores another option: Down-climb the whole North ridge for another 2000-3000 ft of climbing (with little additional uphill "work") - (People report having done this, and I'd be glad to do it.)
My opinion is that Mt Emerson SE face is not much fun to down-climb. I've never heard of anyone trying it.

I bet the analysis of Aretes of Crystal Crag Direct would show a similar result of overwhelming bigger ratio of climbing to work.

West ridge of Conness is different because usually do a (non-fun) hiking descent to reach the bottom of the ridge. But if combine with first climbing up the North ridge (also North Peak?) and/or down-climbing the North ridge afterward, then I'd guess West ridge also beats Mt Emerson.

And I feel confident that a well-selected "enchainment" of Cathedral Range peaks (S side of Tuolumne Meadows) would have a much better ratio than Emerson.

Emerson is good, but there's other stuff to do first.

Ken

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By kenr
Jul 29, 2014
Little Lakes Peak above Rock Creek. Today I climbed up the NNW ridge then down the NE ridge.

I tried it because I heard LLPk had great views - Yes it did. Surprise for me was how much interesting fun climbing there was on those routes. And though the traditional rating was class 4, I had no trouble finding lots of interesting class 5 moves - by taking most of the gendarmes direct, and trying to stay on the crest of the ridge as much as possible.

Felt like quality and difficulty similar to North ridge of Mt Conness (if taking that route fairly direct and on the crest, which many parties do not). I felt LLPk had a larger amount of climbing, and more sustained. And if add down-climbing the NE ridge (again taking a fairly direct line on the crest), then substantially more climbing.

That for a bit less work than Mt Conness. Total upward around 2800 vertical feet from parking (including ups+downs). Because Mosquito Flats parking is higher than Sawmill parking for Conness (though Little Lakes Peak is slightly higher than Mt Conness summit).

I'll be doing that one again.

Liked it so much, I added a route description .

Ken

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By Sirius
From Oakland, CA
Aug 1, 2014
Moving through the crux lock - now that's micro be...
Hey kenr thanks for the awesome posts. Good info to have.

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By QITNL
Aug 3, 2014
QITNL
Yellow Brick Road is on Mt Gayley, between Temple & Sill. Good clean fun.

L to R, Temple/Gayley/Sill:


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By Viren Perumal
From Mammoth Lakes, CA
Aug 11, 2014
I just did the east arete of Carl Heller and thought it was fantastic it would be physical to do it in a day but doable if you were going super light and enjoyed a lot of elevation gain. 5-6 hrs to the base of the ridge less than 1 hr to climb the route... less than 1 hour to down climb the route and 3-4 hrs to hike back to your car. though this would be close to 7K of elevation gain. I just created my first MP pages if you want to check out some recent driving beta and info for route finding on the george creek approach here

mountainproject.com/v/mt-carl-...

Other Great scrambles not mentioned are the east ridge of mt. Muir, red and white mountain, and the east ridge of lyle, ritter and banner scramble, any kind of peak bagging in the minarets the list is endless

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By Fat Dad
From Los Angeles, CA
Aug 11, 2014
The Little Lakes Peak-Mt. Morgan traverse is terrific and, I thought, pretty soft for class 4. When I first did LLP about 15-20 years ago, the register only had a about 10 entries for the 10 yr. period preceding it. Certainly some ways to find an interesting class 5 to the summit of LLP if you want to bring a rope and rack.

The Yellow Brick Road looks interesting, though loose and kind of committing. Someone just died soloing that last week I believe.

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By SirTobyThe3rd
Aug 11, 2014
Hello
Viren, great pages for Bernard, Carl Heller and TT. Thanks for contributing. Enjoyed the story about Galen Rowell and Tim Auger doing the FA of the pillar on East Bernard.

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By Optimistic
From New Paltz
Aug 11, 2014
Fat Dad wrote:
The Little Lakes Peak-Mt. Morgan traverse is terrific and, I thought, pretty soft for class 4. When I first did LLP about 15-20 years ago, the register only had a about 10 entries for the 10 yr. period preceding it. Certainly some ways to find an interesting class 5 to the summit of LLP if you want to bring a rope and rack. The Yellow Brick Road looks interesting, though loose and kind of committing. Someone just died soloing that last week I believe.


Do you have any more information on the accident? I know someone who was going to be climbing out there at that time...

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By fossana
From Bishop, CA
Aug 11, 2014
West Overhang
Optimistic wrote:
Do you have any more information on the accident? I know someone who was going to be climbing out there at that time...


Based on what he told others about his plans he was on Venusian Blind, although he was found in gully between VBA and MGA.
mountainproject.com/v/soloist-...

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