The steep north face of Mt. Mendel, visible from Lamarck Col, hosts two High Sierra ice climbing testpieces: Right Mendel Couloir (AI5) and Left Mendel Couloir, aka Ice 9, (AI5+).
Getting to Lamarck Col with heavy packs is a whole day event. This is a 6 mile hike with 2,600' elevation gain. Obtain wilderness permits at the ranger station in Bishop (get there early, it's a popular trail and only few passes are given on a walk in basis). Take route 168 to North Lake. Car may be parked at an overnight parking lot 0.5 miles from the trailhead. Begin with 2 miles on well-marked Lamarck Lakes Trail until Upper Lamarck Lake. Continue on X-country trail on the south side of the lake (the lake should be on your right as you pass it). The trail starts with the slight descent into a 100 yard rocky groove, climbs up its southern end, winds and goes up and down for a while until climbing steep slopes towards the plateau before Lamarck Cole. Most bivy sites are located on the western slopes of Lamarck Cole but convenient and less populated bivy sites are also located at the lake just below the Lamarck Col on its eastern side.
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Mountain Project's determination of some of the classic, most popular, highest rated routes for Mt. Mendel:
Right Mendel Couloir 5.7 5a 15 V+ MVS 4b WI3 Steep Snow Ice, Snow, Alpine, 9 pitches, 1000'
Featured Route For Mt. Mendel
Right Mendel Couloir 5.7 5a 15 V+ MVS 4b WI3 Steep Snow CA : High Sierra : Mt. Mendel
The north face of Mt. Mendel is cut by two twin gullies (see photo). The one to the right is the route. The gully to the left is the harder Ice Nine. Cross the chossy bergshrund and ascend 400' of steep snow to the bottom of the ice section. Continue past an ice bulge into the couloir. Follow the 60 degree ice for about 4 pitches. Another 2 pitches in the mixed terrain lead to the notch below the summit, on the western side of the mountain. From there, a short 10 feet rap from a bolt to the ledg...[more] Browse More Classics in CA
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