Type: Trad, Mixed, Snow, Alpine, 3000 ft, 4 pitches, Grade III
FA: ????
Page Views: 9,503 total · 78/month
Shared By: J. Fox on Feb 2, 2009 with updates from Ju Short
Admins: Leo Paik, John McNamee, Frances Fierst, Monty, Monomaniac

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The direct E. Ridge of Mt. Bancroft is accessed from just above Loch Lomond. The route is a sustained class 4 ridge scramble with a 60' rappel required in the middle, and several places of low 5th class climbing, especially out of the notch you rap into.

There is a harder variation to this route which goes straight up the headwall of the NE buttress. In winter, the climbing on this variation is rather difficult, though low 5th class, due to the snow/ice on all the ledges and the lack of suitable protection. Choose your line of ascent wisely.

Winter conditions gives this route full value. It is mostly a sustained ridge climb up over gendarmes, across knife-edge snow aretes, scrambling over loose rock and a rappel. Do not underestimate the size of this climb! By adding the headwall pitches, it took us 7 hours to climb the route. We had high 40+ mph winds and negative digit wind chill, dropped/lost gloves and not much beta.

While the climbing on the headwall at the beginning wasn't very aestethic, it was challenging and I learned a lot.


This is the East ridge of Mt. Bancroft above Loch Lomond.


I used cams C4 #0.4 - #2, and nuts BD #7 - #12 but most of this gear was too big. I had one piton and used it. Small cams/nuts best, knifeblades would be helpful too.


Thanks for posting this. I have been meaning to do this route for a while now. Dave Cooper gives a great description of the route as a summer climb in his book 50 Classic Colorado Scrambles, I believe the pitch climbing out of the notch is rated 5.2 under less serious conditions (I don't know for sure as I have not actually climbed the route though). Did you guys ski in or snowshoe? I have been ski touring up there alot this winter and wondered what the route would be like in winter conditions. Thanks again for the info.
Kirk Feb 2, 2009
Paul Gagner and I did this route in early January. We did three long pitches on the northeast buttress, including the lowest rock band. We thought it was great fun, with the bonus that you can easily avoid any potential avalanche danger. It's a cold place, though! See more photos at:

themountainworld.blogspot.c… Feb 3, 2009
J. Fox
Black Hawk, CO
  5.5 M2-3 Steep Snow
J. Fox   Black Hawk, CO
  5.5 M2-3 Steep Snow
Yeah thanks for the tip Dougald, your blog is where I learned of this route. It was a big full-on day for sure. The damned wind never ceased!

Kirk, we snowshoed in and it was an easy approach. The climb outta the notch, while short, was definitely harder than 5.2 IMHO. I climbed it with hands in wet liner gloves and wet mountaineering boots so I don't know how to rate it.

I put up a TR on my blog, just click my profile, the link is in there. Feb 3, 2009
I was up there the same day. I was touring in the trees off the road at about 3-3:30. I heard some people talking on the road on my way in, I am wondering if that was you? It was a great day to be out and about. The TR was pretty cool, nice pictures!
Kirk Feb 5, 2009
J. Fox
Black Hawk, CO
  5.5 M2-3 Steep Snow
J. Fox   Black Hawk, CO
  5.5 M2-3 Steep Snow
At 3/3:30 we were just nearing the summit, so it wasn't us. Feb 9, 2009
Chris Plesko
Westminster, CO
Chris Plesko   Westminster, CO
Notes apply to headwall variation:
Head straight to the Loch then to the lake above it. If you try to cut up the hill early, you'll just have to give back the elevation you gained and might fall in some tree wells to your partner's amusement. If you wish to protect this with even sort of reasonable runouts, bring lots of small gear and some pitons. A #1 C4 was the biggest we used along with a full set of C3s (and little nuts of course). Protecting the top headwall pitch without pins is well, really really hard. It's good fun in winter with all the turf sections and scattered ice patches though. One ice tool is handy and we used crampons. We did another variation on the headwall, starting far right to get some rock pro above a suspect snow band, P2 climbed a very steep narrow gully and P3 probably joined somewhere near the drawings on the beta photos at the top out spot. Choose your own alpine adventure and have fun! Jan 16, 2010
Krister Sorensen
Centennial, CO
  5.5 M2-3 Steep Snow R
Krister Sorensen   Centennial, CO
  5.5 M2-3 Steep Snow R
Climbed the ridge with the direct start yesterday. The direct start really adds to the route and I highly recommend it. Pick your route on the face....anything goes. Climbing is no harder than 5.4 - 5.5 with very solid rock, but very run out. Only one peice of pro in each pitch. The rest of the ridge was great climing. Climb out of notch I'd say is 5.4, very positive holds and very short. Exposure might make it feel harder. Amazing route. Can't belive I just heard about this thing. Highly recommend! Apr 12, 2010
Alan Stevens
Sargents, CO
Alan Stevens   Sargents, CO
Climbed this route yesterday, Nov, 20. Snowshoes would make the approach much easier. While the road appears to be fairly clear, you'll wish you brought the snowshoes when you start post-holing for the last mile. Also, the snow on the ridge line is still soft and fairly insecure. With the early winter conditions, it took just under 10 hours car to car. I highly recommend this route as a more technical and less crowded alternative to the popular climbs in the area. Also a lot of ski potential near Loch Lomond. Nov 21, 2010
leeds, ut
fossana   leeds, ut
The road to Loch Lomond is open all the way for those fortunate to have high-clearance vehicles and despite what the sign before the second gate says. I like the route better with snow, but the views are still spectacular later in the season. Jun 3, 2012
Edgewater, CO
Ryan-T   Edgewater, CO
I have done this route twice, both times in June. It is one of my favorites and a great climb to get a little taste of everything mountaineering has to offer. The first time I climbed it, we skirted around the ridge where the climb normally starts, to the west, and climbed a couloir to a notch in the ridge before the rappel and then continued on. The second time we did the normal start. Both fun options!

I carried a 30 meter 9.2 rope and a small rack of nuts and cams, a few slings and a cord, plus ice axe, crampons and helmet.

My biggest suggestion for this route is to very carefully check and liberally replace the webbing for the rappel. After rappelling into the notch, we saw one of the obese Marmots up there proceed to chow down on the webbing for as long as we could see him. I guess I did not realize they'll eat webbing.... Sep 29, 2015
Alex Vidal
Boulder, CO
Alex Vidal   Boulder, CO
Tons of tat. If I had a knife, I would have cleaned up. Also, with skis, this appears to be pretty reasonable in sub 5 hours. The crux is super brief, but there is some other pretty cool mixed climbing on route if you seek it out. Super fun! May 17, 2016
Without a rope, the downclimb directly into the notch is perhaps 5.easy with positive holds. From the lower rap station, take either a 5.4ish dihedral slightly left or a juggy climb (5.0?) slightly right of the station and angle into the notch. It's fairly obvious once at the station. If you're comfortable soloing the headwall, you'll probably be okay soloing the downclimb with good route finding. This was in dry conditions. Jun 29, 2018
Vaughn   Colorado
A 40 meter rope was just barely long enough for the rappel into the notch. 1 hour ago