Trip Report
Mt. Ritter
Monday August 12, 2013 8:27pm
[/url]

I have always been drawn to the dark, ominous, and prominent mountain that rises above all that surrounds it. I learned in geography that it is an ancient, metavolcanic, rock that is older than the Sierra ganite and is much like a thick cap to the range of the Sierra. Wherever I am in the Sierra I always look for the old rock and am always relieved to see it. It's been a goal of mine for many years and when we reached the summit it's hard to describe in words the feeling, much like a hard climb, or a FA, but this one I wanted for so long.

[/url]
Ritter from Mile High

[/url]
Ritter from Shuteye Pass

[/url]
Ritter from Kaiser Peak

[/url]
Ritter from Little Shuteye

[/url]
Ritter from Twin Lakes

[/url]
Ritter and Banner from Recess Peak

[/url]
Ritter and Banner from Clark Lakes

[/url]
Ritter and Banner from Mt. Hooper

Like I said I always have my eyes peeled for it, wherever I am. I live in North Fork, CA and Ritter is the highest peak in Madera County at 13,143'. It was first climbed by John Muir in 1872 and is named after Karl Ritter who was Whitney's mentor and geography teacher. However, the route we chose was the Class 2 (easily Class2d+ the way we went) Western Slope that Theodore S. Solomons is credited with the FA in 1892. We also wanted to hike in from our backyard and chose the less traveled westside approach leaving out of Isberg Trailhead. The party included one of my grade school friends Eric and his wife Joni with their dog Ember and my girlfriend Mindy and my dog Adu. Hiking with great friends and Mindy the love of my life makes any trip that much better. We planned this trip since last October and scheduled vacation for August 5-9. Well a little over a week before the trip and I look up the canyon that leads to Ritter and see this.
[/url]
The Aspen Fire
Top this off with an MRI on the Friday before the trip and my girlfriend's kids coughing every thirty seconds, the doubts began. The Palmer's were not having any second thoughts and am happy they wanted it as much as Mindy and I. We left North Fork super early at like 8:30;-) We were hiking by 10:30 and our goal for the day was to set up basecamp past Stevenson's Meadow on the North Fork of The mighty San Joaquin River. 12 miles later and we were at our goal.
[/url]
Stevenson Meadow
[/url]
[/url]
[/url]

August 7th, 2013
We decided an alpine start was a must for the long day ahead, so we got a superer early start at 10:30am. Each of us was at least smart enough to bring headlamps.
[/url]
Myself and Mindy with one of the dozens of waterfalls from Hemlock Crossing to Ritter Lakes behind us.
[/url]
I've been many places in the Sierra Nevada and this valley was by far the coolest hiking I've done.
[/url]
[/url]
The flowers and smells just added to the euphoric scenery.
[/url]
Since we somehow forgot a group photo on top, this will do. Ritter looms in the background.
[/url]
Being able to read topography and terrain is a key to backcountry success. We thought this ridge would lead us to Upper Ritter Lake and it did.
[/url]
Waterfall from Lake Catherine drainage.
[/url]
Atop the ridge and our first view of the Ritter Lakes.
[/url]
[/url]
[/url]
The West Slope and thankful for the clouds that make the best pictures.
[/url]
Changing of shadows
[/url]
[/url]
At 3:30 pm we started our final ascent.
[/url]
[/url]
Reaching the upper bowl.
[/url]
[url=[/url" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">http://s1358.photobucket.com/user/jross181/media/Mt%20Ritter/IMG_2364_zps38b94830.jpg.html][/url]
Movable handholds
[/url]
[/url]
Eric pointing out the final approach
[/url]
[/url]
5:30pm, 7hrs later and 5600' climbed for the day.
[/url]
Adu was pretty much like,"Sh#t this is what we came up for? There isn't even any squirrels."
[/url]
YAINT!
[/url]
[/url]
Lake Catherine and the start of Ritter Lakes
[/url]
Banner Peak
[/url]
[/url]
For the ST Birders
[/url]
[/url]
Ritter Banner in the summit box
[/url]
[/url]
Summit Register, no sh#t right?
[/url]
Final Banner shot
[/url]
5'600 ft down...the hard part.
[/url]
[/url]
[/url]
[/url]
[/url]
The headlamps came out shortly after and we reached our camp at 11:00pm exhausted, hungry, but overjoyed.

August 8th, 2013
A much needed rest day after a 13 mile and 10,600ft day. We caught a ton of fish and most of them were Goldens.
[/url]
Golden Trout
[/url]
North Fork of the San Joaquin
[/url]
[/url]
Brought to you by Mountain House. Overall we did 40 miles in four days and each of us experienced our best peak to date. I am grateful for the people, this place, and being able to finally complete this goal of Mt. Ritter.
Cheers,
Justin

  Trip Report Views: 1,924
this just in
About the Author
this just in is a climber from north fork.

Comments
Did you like this Trip Report? Got something to say? Don't hold back...
Comment on this Trip Report
T H

Boulder climber
extraordinaire
  Aug 12, 2013 - 10:30pm PT
Supreme.
10b4me

climber
  Aug 12, 2013 - 10:40pm PT
Very nice. The scenic route, eh.
Fletcher

Gym climber
A very quiet place
  Aug 12, 2013 - 11:01pm PT
Now ain't that nice! Great report, easily digested, high marks for inspiration toward complete strangers. TPFU!

Does Mindy have a sister/relative named Marnie by chance? She has a the same last name of an old yoga teacher of mine. A long shot but can't hurt to ask.

Eric
Fluoride

Trad climber
West Los Angeles, CA/Joshua Tree
  Aug 12, 2013 - 11:12pm PT
Really nice TR! Thanks for sharing.
Wade Icey

Trad climber
www.alohashirtrescue.com
  Aug 12, 2013 - 11:28pm PT
thanks. beautiful.
mouse from merced

Trad climber
The finger of fate, my friends, is fickle.
  Aug 13, 2013 - 03:07am PT
Not one, but two canine ascensionists!

WOOF!
survival

Big Wall climber
Terrapin Station
  Aug 13, 2013 - 03:32am PT
Yeah, ok, but where's the proof?!

HA!!!!

Holy sweet buckets of awesomeness, well done gang. That looks like it took a motivated and fit team.

Congratulations and thanks for all the sweet pictures!
Charlie D.

Trad climber
Western Slope, Tahoe Sierra
  Aug 13, 2013 - 05:21am PT
Awesome, west side approach to boot!!! A path less traveled I'm sure. TFPU.
Ezra Ellis

Trad climber
North wet, and Da souf
  Aug 13, 2013 - 05:59am PT
Thanks Justin, loved the flower and lake pics!!!!!!!
tom woods

Gym climber
Bishop, CA
  Aug 13, 2013 - 07:26am PT
Cool. Thanks for posting the seldom traveled side.
T Hocking

Trad climber
Redding, Ca
  Aug 13, 2013 - 07:40am PT
Sweet!
TFPU
Tad
this just in

climber
north fork
Author's Reply  Aug 13, 2013 - 08:16am PT
Thanks everyone, I appreciate the comments.

Sorry Fletcher, she said she has no knowledge of any yoga masters named Marnie in her family.

Bruce, you want proof? Guess you'll just have to get your desert rat ass up there and check the register:-)

I'm hoping to do Banner this year also, but from the east side this time.
lars johansen

Trad climber
West Marin, CA
  Aug 13, 2013 - 08:33am PT
Looks like you had a beautiful summit day.

Thanks

lars
RyanD

climber
Squamish
  Aug 13, 2013 - 08:45am PT
Awesome! Good job, so sweet to peak bag with the pooch!
phylp

Trad climber
Millbrae, CA
  Aug 13, 2013 - 08:52am PT
Wow, Justin, what a fantastic TR! I have to live vicariously through some of these backcountry TRs - that kind of physical effort is unimaginable to me at this point. But I LOVE to see them!

The views that enticed you there, from many seasons, would be even more informative if you edited to show the date (or month) that you took those photos - some were more obviously winter or post winter.

One funny thing - your bird photo for the ST bird people. That looks a lot like the bird Daphne and I saw at Crystal Crag - which the ST birders identified for us as a Clark's nutcracker. I'm going to pretend it was the same bird, flying around and keeping a watchful eye on the Forum members.

Again, great job with the TR. Phyl
Slater

Trad climber
Central Coast
  Aug 13, 2013 - 09:32am PT
Well done homie.


Dang your dogs go to some cool places.
Darn, no squirrels on top! Doh!

but you did see a CLARK'S NUTCRACKER so that is cool.

It's weird seeing you with a woman after so many years of seeing you just around mtn. dudes. Glad to see it ;) She's a catch.

bird on...er I mean... climb on!
tiki-jer

Trad climber
fresno/clovis
  Aug 13, 2013 - 09:51am PT
Alright JR
survival

Big Wall climber
Terrapin Station
  Aug 13, 2013 - 11:46am PT
Bruce, you want proof? Guess you'll just have to get your desert rat ass up there and check the register:-)

Ummm, well, kinda busy right now, ummm, ahem, well....how far is the SHORT approach? :o)

Anyway, you deserve breasts!

( * )( * )
mucci

Trad climber
The pitch of Bagalaar above you
  Aug 13, 2013 - 11:59am PT
Sweet!
doughnutnational

Gym climber
its nice here in the spring
  Aug 13, 2013 - 05:11pm PT
Thanks, looking at that made my day. You guys are good climbers, but your dogs are actual climbing bad asses.
this just in

climber
north fork
Author's Reply  Aug 13, 2013 - 05:52pm PT
Glad you liked it Ludwig. Yeah those dogs are definitely badass.

Slater don't worry you still got a purdy mouth.
Grahm Doe

Sport climber
Just South Of Heaven
  Aug 13, 2013 - 06:27pm PT
Perfection! Awesome TR with killer shots. Great to see the fishing as well. Now I want to go do it too!!! :)

edit: oh ya, YAAAAIIINNNTTTT!!!!
SCseagoat

Trad climber
Santa Cruz
  Aug 13, 2013 - 06:16pm PT
What a fabulous read and beautiful pictures.
Very very nice!

Susan
S.Leeper

Social climber
somewhere that doesnt have anything over 90'
  Aug 13, 2013 - 06:23pm PT
beautiful scenery!
this just in

climber
north fork
Author's Reply  Aug 13, 2013 - 07:46pm PT
Thanks guys.

Yaint! Grahm you gotta check it out. I'm thinking your jeep would cruise right up there:-)
Mungeclimber

Trad climber
Nothing creative to say
  Aug 13, 2013 - 08:03pm PT
Stoke
crazy horse

Trad climber
fresno, ca
  Aug 13, 2013 - 08:26pm PT
Great TR Justin!! you had me gripped the whole time and I'm so glad for you!! So stoked!!! great job!!
this just in

climber
north fork
Author's Reply  Aug 13, 2013 - 09:00pm PT
Thanks a lot Matt.
Here's our route from Eric.

Jeremy Ross

Gym climber
  Aug 14, 2013 - 11:27am PT
Nice, looks like a great hike and fishing. Yaaaiiinnnnttt!


-JR
abrams

Sport climber
  Aug 14, 2013 - 11:40am PT
Thanks for the pictures! Fun!

Have not been to the north fork for years but I still remember that
pond near Stevenson meadow. It caught my attention also. Was fast
walking to get to the Hemlock crossing before dark and suddenly I see
this isolated pond and wonder how large trout could be swimming around
in it! Any still in it?

Could not tell from your pictures.



this just in

climber
north fork
Author's Reply  Aug 14, 2013 - 12:04pm PT
Yeah that pond had some nice fish in it. I was surprised to see them in there as well.
JEleazarian

Trad climber
Fresno CA
  Aug 14, 2013 - 12:09pm PT
Beautiful pictures, and great job. Thanks for reminding me how satisfying "non-technical" mountaineering can be. This was a wonderful TR.

John
Studly

Trad climber
WA
  Aug 14, 2013 - 12:19pm PT
Tex Ritter would be proud.
micronut

Trad climber
Fresno/Clovis, ca
  Aug 15, 2013 - 02:05pm PT
Nice send. Yall are cardio machines! Thanks for sharing your journey. Way fun to see that thing close up.

Scott
Radish

Trad climber
SeKi, California
  Aug 15, 2013 - 02:26pm PT
Nice pics and TR! I did it in 74 and it was a full plate for us!! Some guys died of exposure, hypothermia the week before we went, a freak storm I think....Fortunatly we found this out later.
HighTraverse

Trad climber
Bay Area
  Aug 20, 2013 - 10:10am PT
Bump for a great TR. men, ladies and dogs. Talk about companionship!!
And you did it from the wrong direction! A fine outing indeed.
tuolumne_tradster

Trad climber
Leading Edge of North American Plate
  Aug 20, 2013 - 01:14pm PT
Beautiful TR Justin. Thanks for sharing.
Did you like this Trip Report? Got something to say? Don't hold back...
Comment on this Trip Report
Go