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BETA PHOTO: The North Ridge of Mt. Conness
The North Ridge of Conness is a striking line. I would call it more of a "ridge scramble" than an actual rock climb, so if you are expecting a technical rock route, you might be a little let down. With the exception of 2 short rappels at the Second Tower (bypassed by easy 5th class downclimbing), the rest of the route is 3rd and 4th class.
Even if soloing the route, count on a full day, as you will be covering a lot of ground.
Refer to the "Location" section below for general approach information. From the initial steep headwall, scramble up (4th class) to gain the ridge. Walk the ridgeline (mostly 3rd class with occasional 4th), staying left of the first Tower. At the Second Tower, either make 2 short raps (both have fixed anchors) or scramble down easy 5th class for 40 and 60 feet, respectively. From here, a handful of 4th class "pitches" to the summit. Stay close to the edge for maximum value. From the summit, take in the spectacular views of Tuolumne and down into the Valley before descending the East Ridge.
From the trailhead at Saddlebag Lake (10,060'), hike or ferry across the lake ($7 one-way, $10 round trip). Follow a trail for a short distance, then cross-country up the Conness Lakes drainage. No need to bring excessive amounts of water, as water is readily available all the way up to the toe of the glacier. At the last tarn, you will encounter a steep headwall to gain the ridge. Pick the path of least resistance (4th class). Allow a minimum of 2 hours for the approach.
A single rope may be desired by some parties for 2 short rappels that are readily avoided by an easy downclimb. A rack is unnecessary unless you plan on leading the 4th class sections. In that case, a light alpine rack will suffice.
The start of the North Ridge route.
BETA PHOTO: The Second Tower on the North Ridge.
Unknown climber at the first short rap/downclimb f...
BETA PHOTO: The final 4th class pitches to the summit.
That's me on the N Ridge. Photo courtesy Bill McCo...
Duke on the approach from Conness lakes in June 20...
Duke on the North Ridge.
Dennis enjoying the North Ridge of Conness
Party just before the rappel, North Ridge of Conne...
North Ridge, as seen from North Peak col
Conness Lakes on the approach
J bypassing the remaining snow on the ridge proper
J on the fin
J on one of the slab moves just past the second ra...
Miguel & Deron on the start of the N Ridge
on the second tower
Deron on the first downclimb (opt rap)
the second downclimb
Miguel does Peter Croft in one of the best Sierra ...
my all-time favorite summit register entry
North Ridge of Mt Conness with the Conness Glacier...
Dan considers all that lies before him.
With Dan at Sierra cruising altitude!
If you look down you can practice your thousand-ya...
From: Oakland CA
Aug 6, 2007
Really fun route! The beta here and in the supertopo are pretty right on. We brought a rope and a very light rack and simulclimbed from the second tower to the summit. Truth is, I was glad to have a little gear in, I know I did some moves that felt 5.6ish up there (but I probably could have looked around for an easier passage.) Not a problem, but the wind was HOWLING! Nice to have that security blanket...
Took us 9.5 hours c2c. We hiked pretty well, although we did lose a little time (no big deal, weren't racing) letting a couple rap our lines. If you solo this you could definitely go much faster, don't have to rig and pull the raps, and save that weight on the hike. We moved pretty steadliy, took a couple breaks and enjoyed the summit.
Jul 2, 2008
Very fun route. The second half is like Cathedral Peak. Duke and I soloed it ctc in about 10 hours with lots of time to relax and enjoy the scenery. We also summited North Peak on the way. Highly recommend this side trip.
Trekking poles are also recommended during an early season ascent. As of July 1st, there are many snowfields to cross on both the ascent and descent.
From: ABQ, NM
Feb 8, 2010
The upper third of this route is great, you can stay pretty much right on the ridge and enjoy the views. The rock quality is quite good and it is clean.
I down climbed this route after climbing the West Ridge, Mount Conness which makes for a great day out and lots of time spent on rock along ridges. If you are going to do this I think downclimbing the North Ridge is the way to go as it means climbing up the harder sections since they are rappels.
7.5 hrs c2c, but I was wishing I had cash to take the ferry back across the lake by the end.
|By Josh Cameron|
Jul 17, 2011
3 stars for the views, but 2 stars for the climbing.
|By Richard Shore|
Jul 10, 2012
I highly recommend climbing something on North Peak first as that descent drops you right at the start of the North Ridge on Conness. I did the right-most ice couloir on North Peak, which meant having to carry my crampons, axes, and mtn boots in a pack while climbing the North Ridge. Not too bad. The downclimb after the second tower was the crux of the whole route; steep but with good secure jambs. 7.5 hours C2C for the linkup. 2 hours approach to the base of N Peak, 2 hour descent from Conness back to the car at Saddlebag Lake.