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Routes in Merriam Peak

Direct North Buttress T 5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b PG13
Dr. Bear Love Project T 5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c C1
Flying Buttress, The T 5.11 6c+ 23 VIII- 23 E4 5c
Foundation Crack, The T 5.11 6c+ 23 VIII- 23 E4 5c
Gargoyle T 5.11b 6c 23 VIII- 23 E3 5c PG13
Triple Cracks Project T 5.11 6c+ 23 VIII- 23 E4 5c C1

Description

The southernmost of a trio of peaks (Merriam, Royce, Feather) which enclose the west side of the Royce Lakes Cwm - or Hall of the Mountain Gods as I call it. As such the area is unique in the High Sierra, as the peaks immediately west of the official crest are higher than the crest peaks.

Not only is there a classic IV 5.10 on the north buttress of this peak, but there has also been significant new route development there in the last few years, by Peter Croft, Lisa Rands and others.

Getting There

Take the Pine Creek Road off Highway 395 to the Pine Creek trailhead, by the Tungsten Mill. Hike up an old road switchbacking its way monotonously up to the forest, then round the corner and into the much better scenery at Pine Lake. Head around the north side of the lake and take the trail, past Upper Pine Lake, to Honeymoon Lake, continue to follow the trail to Granite Park – but cut south west when above the lake and head cross-country up and over Royce Pass (11,680ft). Head straight west to a wonderful gravel spot just north of the middle (largest) of Royce Lakes. A spectacular place.

Alternate route recommended by Squiddo and more than likely easier:

On the way back we took the alternate approach that heads West from the Southern end of the Royce Lakes Basin and travels across some very pleasant terrain to meet the Pine Creek Pass trail right below French lake above Pine Creek pass itself. The second part of this trail was very well cairned out and obviously used/loved/maintained.

Perhaps 1 hour max from the end of Royce Lakes to the Pine Lake Pass trail.

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Classic Climbing Routes at Merriam Peak

Mountain Project's determination of the classic, most popular, highest rated climbing routes in this area.
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J F M A M J J A S O N D
J F M A M J J A S O N D
Chris D
the couch
Chris D   the couch
We climbed the northeast ridge route described in Secor as 5.7 a couple of days ago. Didn't find the route to be as described, but whatever. That's Secor for you.

The walk from honeymoon lake to royce lakes is a piece of cake. Not sure how you'd find yourself climbing over boulders or any other obstacles, really. You can see the pass from honeymoon lake. Walk toward it, making decisions about your route as you go and you'll be at royce lakes in no time with nothing harder than stepping up a foot or so here and there with lots of slab walking in between. It's so straightforward that you should never even lose any of your gains on the way. However, from the pass, you're still a mile from Merriam. The walk from the pass to Merriam is along the south side of a couple of lakes. Beautiful, and there are some easy paths a little above the shorelines. Sep 4, 2017
Chris Owen
Big Bear Lake
Chris Owen   Big Bear Lake  
Thank you, it has been corrected. Oct 21, 2013
Rude Boy
San Francisco, CA
Rude Boy   San Francisco, CA
The middle of a trio of peaks (Royce, Merriam, Feather) which enclose the west side of the Royce Lakes Cwm

No, it's the southern most peak. Royce is in the middle. Feather is on the northern edge. May 21, 2013
Chris Owen
Big Bear Lake
Chris Owen   Big Bear Lake  
Thanks Squiddo, I've posted it in the main description. Jan 12, 2013
squiddo Siddens
Mountain View, CA
squiddo Siddens   Mountain View, CA
Climbed this route last weekend and we had the place to ourselves. Overall a fun route in an incredible area. I do take issue with the description on the approach. We hiked in following the Honeymoon Lake towards Italy pass to the cross country area. Frankly from the moment you step off the trail its a rugged with many rocks/boulders to avoid.

ON the way back we took the alternate approach that heads West from the Southern end of the Royce Lakes Basin and travels across some very pleasant terrain to meet the Pine Creek Pass trail right below French lake above Pine Creek pass itself. The second part of this trail was very well cairned out and obviously used/loved/maintained.

Perhaps 1 hour max from the end of Royce Lakes to the Pine Lake Pass trail.

Of the two approaches, the latter was WAY better and easier. It might be a tad longer but the trail and terrain MORE than makes up for it. Sep 7, 2012
Chris Owen
Big Bear Lake
Chris Owen   Big Bear Lake  
Great to see so much route activity - well deserved. Aug 2, 2012

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