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Caught Inside

M4 Steep Snow, Trad, Mixed, Snow, Alpine, 1525 ft, 9 pitches, Grade IV,  Avg: 2 from 3 votes
FA: Preston Rhea, Kia Ravanfar - 4.6.14
California > High Sierra > 05 - Convict La… > Mt Morrison > N Face


Caught Inside is a long gully on the northeastern shoulder of Mount Morrison that parallels and crosses Psychopomp. It follows a band of red rock in a gully that transverses a step of grey rock to a snow field and then moves into a deep gully up the face above. Caught Inside offers a great introduction to the harder winter climbing on Morrison. The climbing is typically snow climbing punctuated by the occasional short mixed crux which by in large are well protected. It also features the ability to drastically shorten the technical climbing or to escape after the first couple pitches relatively easily.

Pitch 1 - A short easy rock step to snow leads to a section of much steeper rock. Pass a bulge near the top on the right on sloping rock. Pulling past the bulge offers a small snow patch and the first belay. This pitch is comparable in difficulty to the crux of the upper pitches, but way different in style. 60m

Pitch 2 - An awkward move right off the belay quickly turns to easy rock and snow. The gully steadily narrows down into a chimney used to pass a small chockstone. Past the chimney is another short steep section of snow below a large chimney/chockstone. Belay here. 55m

Pitch 3 - Avoid the chimney/chockstone by traversing right about ten feet to a loose corner and ramp. The corner offers about twelve feet of loose moderate drytooling before easing off into an easy ramp and snowfield. Belay where practical. 50m The Access Ramp joins the route here.

Pitch 4 - Taking the right side of the upper gully, follow the dihedral until it is practical to traverse left into the left hand couloir. 60m

Pitch 5 - This is the technical crux of the upper part of the route. Easy snow leads to a steep chimney stuffed with near vertical unconsolidated snow. It is a short bout followed by more snow and an easy large chockstone. 40m

Pitch 6 - Easy snow following the couloir with an easy rock step bypassed on the left. 60m

Pitch 7 - Another pitch of easy snow with a couple easy rock steps. 40m

Pitch 8 - Follow the couloir until it looks like it gets steeper and chokes down. At this point, traverse right out of the couloir onto a buttress. Here follow moderate broken terrain trending to the right side of the buttress. 60m

Pitch 9 - Here at the edge of the buttress there should another narrow gully traversing the buttress up and left slightly. Follow this to where the route ends on the east ridge. 40m

From here follow an easy snow gully to the summit or start descending. If continuing on to the summit, there is still around 800' to go.


The route starts on the far end of the northeastern shoulder of Mount Morrison. Once in the hanging valley below the north face, follow the valley almost to the saddle between Mount Morrison and Mini Morrison. Caught Inside is fairly obvious and visible throughout the valley.

The route ends on a ridge on the northeastern shoulder of Mount Morrison. From here easy snow leads to the summit. To descend, either proceed to the summit and descend via the eastern slopes or traverse south across a rock buttress with no technical difficulties before descending the eastern slope. Do not descend the obvious gully directly below the top of Caught Inside as this cliffs out.


The rack should consist of double in cams from .3-#2, a single #3, and a good selection of pins (knifeblades, arrows, and beaks). Small amounts of ice were encountered on the first ascent; in extremely good years, a couple stubby ice screws may be useful. Although not necessary, a screamer or two may come in handy as not all the placements are fantastic.

Photos [Hide ALL Photos]

Caught Inside
[Hide Photo] Caught Inside
Caught Inside and Pyschopomp
[Hide Photo] Caught Inside and Pyschopomp
Start of pitch 4. In the picture we are descending due to massive spindrift avalanches funneling down the route.
[Hide Photo] Start of pitch 4. In the picture we are descending due to massive spindrift avalanches funneling down the route.
Caught Inside picture topo.
[Hide Photo] Caught Inside picture topo.
A picture showing the location of Caught Inside relative to the rest of the north face of Morrison.
[Hide Photo] A picture showing the location of Caught Inside relative to the rest of the north face of Morrison.
The chimney on pitch 5.
[Hide Photo] The chimney on pitch 5.
The start of pitch 3.
[Hide Photo] The start of pitch 3.

Comments [Hide ALL Comments]

[Hide Comment] Thanks. So you didn't find much loose rock, I take it. Apr 8, 2014
Preston Rhea
Mammoth Lakes
  M4 Steep Snow
[Hide Comment] On the whole, the route was fairly solid. I wouldn't want to go up there in summer, but in winter the snow covered most of the loose stuff and the walls were pretty solid. That said, it was one of the more challenging routes to protect that I have climbed in the area. Getting creative with pins in otherwise blank areas was the name of the game. Apr 8, 2014
Ian McEleney
Mammoth Lakes, CA
[Hide Comment] Climbed this route yesterday. We combined pitches 1 and 2 in one long (maybe 65m) pitch to a good anchor with finger-sized pieces under a roof (the roof and crack just left of the climber in Preston's photo of pitch 3). The start of pitch 3 felt like the crux, at least on lead, and seemed harder than pitch 5. The above rack beta is good. For pins we used a #5 KB, #2 and #3 LA, and a small and medium Tomahawk. Feb 1, 2018