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 ADVANCED
Mt. Emerson
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SE Face 

SE Face 

YDS: 5.4 French: 4a Ewbanks: 12 UIAA: IV British: VD 3c

   
Type:  Trad, Alpine
Consensus:  YDS: 5.2 French: 3 Ewbanks: 8 UIAA: II British: D 2c [details]
FA: G Ledyard Stebbins, Robert Stebbins (1955)
Page Views: 5,029
Submitted By: fossana on Jun 7, 2010
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You & This Route  |  Other Opinions (23)
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Lisa on one of the many gendarmes on the Emerson r...

Description 

Short approach for a fun alpine route on solid rock. Short 5.4 crux.

Note that the chimney may be wet in early season.

Route
Climb 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 broad chute for 500 ft, then cross left across a rib into another chute. Aim for a notch in the ridge then proceed along the amazing ridgeline to the summit, passing several gendarmes to keep the grade at class 4.


Location 

Approach:
From the trailhead in the N Lake campground take the junction toward Piute Pass. Just before Loch Leven the trail will weave across a typical Sierra headwall. At the right-most part of the hairpin cross-country up the talus field to the base of the route. Emerson is distinct from the reddish, fractured (chossy) Piute Crags to its right. Aim for the left-most of two prominent cracks that split the lower face (see beta photo).

Descent:
S slope (class 3) to Loch Leven, then back down the trail to the N Lake campground.


Protection 

alpine rack, 50-60m rope (optional)
no fixed anything



Photos of SE Face Slideshow Add Photo
looking back toward N Lake
looking back toward N Lake
Self portrait at the summit. Perfect day.
Self portrait at the summit. Perfect day.
topo showing Emerson and the N Lake trailhead
BETA PHOTO: topo showing Emerson and the N Lake trailhead
the descent
the descent
route and the Piute Crags
BETA PHOTO: route and the Piute Crags
5.4 crux
BETA PHOTO: 5.4 crux
summit
summit
Jascha on the crux
Jascha on the crux
Emerson from Loch Leven
Emerson from Loch Leven
looking back down the ridgeline
looking back down the ridgeline
another overview of the route
BETA PHOTO: another overview of the route
lower crack
lower crack
early season glissade descent
early season glissade descent
the rock rib was much more pleasant to descend than the scree
BETA PHOTO: the rock rib was much more pleasant to descend tha...
less than optimal chimney conditions
less than optimal chimney conditions
Loch Leven
Loch Leven
The decent without snow. The middle is loose the whole way down. My shoes filled with sand and gravel. SUCKED!
BETA PHOTO: The decent without snow. The middle is loose the w...
A lunch with a view. <br /> <br />June 2012
A lunch with a view.

June 2012
Instead of going out on the face, we decided to follow the chimney feature to the gully.  Easy fun climbing.  This picture is looking up around pitch 3 of the chimney section.
BETA PHOTO: Instead of going out on the face, we decided to fo...
Looking up at the notch where we gained the ridge.  A little exposed climbing but rock was mostly solid and easy.
BETA PHOTO: Looking up at the notch where we gained the ridge....
Looking up at Pitch 1 of SE Face.  Rated 5.4 but seemed more like a 5.2 and very decent solo if confident.
BETA PHOTO: Looking up at Pitch 1 of SE Face. Rated 5.4 but s...
an ice axe may be helpful in early season in the gullies
BETA PHOTO: an ice axe may be helpful in early season in the g...
Looking down at Pitch 2 in the chimney section.
Looking down at Pitch 2 in the chimney section.
final ridge traverse
final ridge traverse
Looking up the rest of the ridge to the summit.  Super fun ridgeline with occasional knife edges!
BETA PHOTO: Looking up the rest of the ridge to the summit. S...
Comments on SE Face Add Comment
Show which comments
By Weston L
From: Summerlin, NV
Mar 7, 2012
rating: Easy 5th 1+ 3 I M 1c

A very fun and quick outing! Absolutely stellar, go do it.

By Aerili
From: Salt Lake City, UT
Jun 11, 2012

I think all in all, you do about 1000' of chute hiking combined. It doesn't seem to matter where you cross over, either--just pick an easy spot.

The start and finish more than make up for the less-than-stellar middle section, although I mixed in 4th and 5th class moves in the chutes to make things more interesting.

On the descent, stay as far to skier's left as possible since the ground is most stable there. From above, it often appears you will cliff out many times, but it always goes.

By spyork
From: Fremont, CA
Jul 6, 2012

Climbed on 6/30/12 - The entire chimney was dry. Crossing over the rock rib was a bit confusing. I ended up climbing more 5th class than I had to. The finish on the ridge took more time than it should, I kept trying to go around left or right, but then ended up going over the top. The beta about staying left on the descent was great, thanks Aerili!

By Some Random Guy
From: San Francisco, CA
Jul 3, 2013
rating: Easy 5th 1+ 3 I M 1c

Yeah stay left on the descent. I went straight down the gully and it sucked ass for 2500 feet of class 3 down climbing.

By Superclimber
Sep 15, 2013

To find the South Chute descent: continue heading west along the summit ridge after passing the true summit. Watch for the chute on your left (south). It's a little ways past the summit. Once in the chute follow Aerili's advice.

Also, when following the summit ridge after the summit looking for the descent, if you stay too high on the ridge you may get faced with a 20 ft 5th class down climb. Might be better to go down a little bit on the South side as you follow the ridge toward the South Chute.

By Anouk Erni
Oct 11, 2013

There was some confusion as to the start of the climb because the two large cracks aren't necessarily visible/obvious from the switchback angle. We hiked up a little further from the switchbacks where the trail was nice and flat, and then we could see the cracks. I've added a beta photo with a big arrow pointing out the start of the climb from the angle we could see from the trail. Going up the talus field was easy compared to some others I've traveled. The climb itself is very doable solo/no rope and is mostly fun scrambling. You can make it easier or more difficult as you ascend. Mostly sturdy rock but there were some loose sections in the shoots. I found some amazing short 5.7 hand cracks (that were exposed but solid) that I couldn't pass up. Did the whole thing in approach shoes - if you have shoes with sticky rubber, leave your climbing shoes at home. The ridgeline was great! Took us 8 hours car to car at an easy pace. Fun day!