Type: Trad, Alpine, Grade III
FA: Norman Clyde, June 1935
Page Views: 12,191 total · 110/month
Shared By: J Smith on Apr 19, 2010
Admins: Chris Owen, Lurker, M. Morley, Adam Stackhouse, Salamanizer suchoski, Justin Johnsen, Vicki Schwantes

You & This Route

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This is a nice ridge with a ton of 3rd/4th class climbing and a few short 5th class sections mixed in.

Follow the ridge towards Peak 13,151’ staying on the ridge as it tries to spit you off to the left (South). Climb fun 3rd and 4th class and walk the cool knife edge ridge as pictured in Croft’s guide. As you near Peak 13,151 you are forced off the ridge to the South and must make a few 5th class moves and meander back and forth to reach the summit of Peak 13,151’. From here you descend the ridge and encounter a short steep notch – 10’ 5.7 downclimb or rappel. Continue down the ridge and up the next sub-peak and on the other side another 10’ 5.6 downclimb or rappel. You are now at the main notch where many people begin the climb via hiking up the scree gully to the South.

Gain the ridge again as soon as you can via a 4th class trough. Continue on the 3rd/4th class ridge to a headwall. Go around the corner to the left and up 5.2 cracks. 3rd class leads to easier ground and eventually a flat plateau. Turn right (North) towards the summit staying low to the left of the ridge to reach a notch – Married Men’s Point. Pick out the easiest line and climb 100’ or so of low 5th class and then 3rd class to the summit.

Descent: Downclimb the route rappelling where necessary. From the notch take the scree gullies to the South and then head East over talus. In early season the scree gullies can be full of snow which can’t be seen from the approach.


West on Hwy 168 (W. Line St.) from Bishop for 7.5 miles and turn right onto Buttermilk Rd. There are many side roads off of this road, always take the most traveled road. Around 6 miles turn left at a fork to go towards McGee Creek. After crossing the creek turn right at a fork and at the next few junctions stay right until you come to a dead end. The last few miles of the road are very rough and require high-clearance and possibly 4WD.

Start hiking on a trail and then break left heading cross-country to the West. Stay left of the cliff bands and head up one of the sandy loose gullies sometimes on use trails. Before reaching the lake at 10,990’ (a few bivy sites here) head Northwest to the saddle between Peak 13,151’ and Peak 12,241’. The route begins here.


Singles to 2", slings to reinforce rappel stations


Kind of a blue collar classic - long with lots of fourth class, some good rock and some choss, an amazing summit, and a scary descent. Not too bad ropeless as most of the fifth class sections aren't really a death fall scenario, but you do have to do some 5.6/5.7 downclimbing as was previously mentioned. At the crux you can opt for a more difficult but safer line above the ledge rather than traversing out left onto the exposed face. Descent gully was nasty scree, better and faster would be to reverse back over the sub peak. Aug 14, 2013
Fantastic routes. However, if you plan on climbing the technical routes on the east side of Humphrey then ignore the posted directions on this site. The best approach is via Buttermilk rd. off of 168. Turn right on to Buttermilk road which is a dirt road. This road leads to the buttermilk bouldering area and is drivable in most vehicles. However, once you reach the Buttermilks which is obvious due to the masses of crash pads and the field of giant boulders the road quickly deteriorates past this point. You will drive over a cattle guard, there will be a left and right turn but head straight. Now the fun begins. Good clearance is highly recommended but I have seen a Subaru outback make the trek with patient driving and navigation. Essentially you want to stay on the main road till its end which seems like eternity. There will be turns and roads that branch off and it wont always be obvious which way stays on the main road. I can tell you at 2.3 miles from that cattle guard at the Bouldering area the road starts to curve significantly to your left. At 3.5 miles you reach a fork , go right. Drive through an aspen grove past some campsites drive over a small creek where the rd turns hard left and heads up a hill. This hill can hold snow depending on time of year. At about 4 miles the rd forks, go right, and then very quickly the rd forks again, go right again. At 4.4 miles stay right, shortly after you see a turn to the right stay straight and then shortly after a left turn, stay straight again. Continue on and at about 5.5 mile you head up a steep windy section. Follow the rd to its end in a small parking area at about 6 miles. If climbing the East arete continue reading. From the parking area follow the trail up the shallow wash for about a 1/4 mile. At this point the trail fades away and flattens out. Begin heading leftish through sage brush. You will see a shallow ridgeline in front of you that meets up with a small outcropping of granite. This is what you want to aim for. ***Do not go over that ridge and down*** Instead head around the rock outcropping to its left or right. Either way you have some steep loose terrain to hike for about a 1/4 mile but it will feel much longer than that. Head more or less straight up this hill till it flattens out a bit and the vegetation clears up. When you top out this small hill you will see a small lake and a drainage coming off of it. It will appear more or less to your left as you look up at humphrey. Laying just behind that will also be a chossy looking ridge line which is not the East arete. Instead head rightish and above that lake towards a notch. You will be traveling in some very sandy terrain on a gradual slope. When you reach that notch you are at the base of the East arete. Head left, staying higher on the ridge holds better rock and more exposure. Follow the ridge to the summit. Plan on a really full day to complete this route. Mar 29, 2014
Peter Lewis
Bridgton, ME
Peter Lewis   Bridgton, ME
Is it possible to do that last few miles of the approach road after the Buttermilk boulders on Mt. Bikes? (The assumption here is that we have a cheap rental car with lousy clearance.) Apr 2, 2014
Chris Owen
Big Bear Lake
Chris Owen   Big Bear Lake  
Good directions John.

Took my Subaru Outback up this road once to the trailhead, got a few bangs on the bottom, came down a lot better because I could crawl with the brakes on, whereas I had to rev the poor sucker to get it up the steep windy section and didn't have a lot of precision - didn't hit bottom once on the way back. Noticed a few rocker and exhaust dings at the trailhead. On the way home I thought the hood was open but alas it wasn't; I had twisted the front subframe by about 1/2".

Maybe the road is better now, or perhaps some people are better drivers, but be warned that sometimes there's no substitute for a high clearance truck with low range. Apr 14, 2014
bumbum   Velveta
Chris D
the couch
Chris D   the couch
Has anyone traversed the ridge from Humphreys to Emerson? Looks amazing. Sep 1, 2016
Derek Field
Derek Field   California
Chris D: I've done it. Dropped off the true crest once to bypass one of the final towers coming off Emerson. It is indeed amazing! Jan 7, 2019