Named in 1873 by John Muir after the poet Ralph Waldo Emerson, Mt. Emerson is a frequently overlooked Sierra peak. RJ Secor (The High Sierra: Peaks, Passes & Trails) describes 5 routes that will satisfy both mixed route aficionados and scramblers alike. Additional information on the N Face is available from Moynier & Fiddler in California's High Sierra.
W Ridge (Class 3 from Piute Pass)
S Slope (Class 3 from 0.25 miles past Loch Leven)
SE Face (5.4 chimney, leaving the Piute Pass trail before Loch Leven)
SW Ridge (Class 3 from the couloir between Piute Crags and Emerson)
N Face (Class 4 mixed route from the cirque between Peak 1)
For all routes but the N Face: Passenger cars OK. From central Bishop head W on highway 168 (aka W Line Street) for ~18 miles, passing the S Lake turn-off. Take the right-hand turn onto N Lake Rd. In early the season the road is gated and this will add ~1.7 miles to the trailhead. Unless you are camping at the N Lake campground you will need to park at the large hiker lot and walk the ~0.4 miles to the trailhead. From the campground take the trail toward Piute Pass.
For the N Face: High clearance required, 4x4 recommended. From central Bishop head W on highway 168 (aka W Line Street) for ~10 miles to Dutch Johns Meadows Road (unmarked) behind an old wilderness kiosk on your right. Head SW the due W along the road, taking a left-hand fork at ~6.2 miles toward the McGee Creek trailhead. Cross country toward the S Fork of McGee Creek. Aim for the cirque between Checkered Demon (Peak 13,112) and Emerson.
Mountain Project's determination of some of the classic, most popular, highest rated routes for Mt. Emerson:
Short approach for a fun alpine route on solid rock. Short 5.4 crux. Note that the chimney may be wet in early season.RouteClimb the 5.4 crack. If the chimney is too wet you can climb the face to the right of a second chimney. The chimney is blocked with chockstones at which point you can easily cross and move left onto an easy ramp system that connects with the original route. Continue up class 3-4 slabs eventually leading back into the original crack for a pitch of class 4. Head up a...[more]Browse More Classics in CA