Upper Ritter Lake and the "Crack"

Current Stock:
August 2005
Ansel Adams Wilderness, California
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Ritter Lakes are on the hidden western side of Mt. Ritter deep in the Ansel Adams Wilderness. They are remote, cold, and inhospitable. By 2005, my 16-year-old son was ready for the hardest Sierra terrain. We selected an especially difficult access route: a col between Mt. Ritter and its remote Western Summit. Leaving Ediza around 9 a.m., this approach involved steep snow climbing using the “ten-finger” ice-ax, to a deep icy chimney followed by unroped fifth-class climbing. The route upward appeared impossible from below, and Dylan fondly named it “Pass-My-Ass” Pass. Exhausted, we collapsed a little farther along at around 4 p.m. and I went to scout. This highest of four Ritter Lakes was still mostly frozen by mid-August. Shooting time: moments after the sun had set on the lake.