Type: Trad, Alpine, 500 ft, 12 pitches, Grade II
FA: W.G. Yongue (Gerald Yongue) August 19, 1938. Entire East Ridge was done in 1959 and repeated in 1977 by Kennec, Rupert, & Pearson.
Page Views: 346 total · 12/month
Shared By: Bruce Morris on Aug 6, 2016
Admins: Aron Quiter, Euan Cameron, AWinters, M. Morley, Adam Stackhouse, Salamanizer suchoski, Justin Johnsen, Vicki Schwantes

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The East Ridge can be climbed from the saddle, which is easily accessed from the backside. But the entire East Ridge can be traversed, starting from the unofficial campground at the curve on US 120 along Warren Creek. This second way is a bit loose, but still only 5.7.

It is also possible to continue on past the summit of the Sphinx and down into the saddle on the backside of the formation, and then on up the orange rock ridge to the West - Northwest. Ian Ferguson has done this to the high point of that ridge.


Along the East Ridge of the Sphinx. Approach from the Warren Creek trail head.


Regular rack.


A quick, fun and exposed scramble. One should definitely do the entire ridge from the bottom - it gains about 650' and is 0.3 miles long. The best climbing on the route was along the knife-edge section before the saddle, which you would miss out on from the backside approach. 5-10 minutes from car-to-base, good exposure on the ridge, a little routefinding and choss, cool summit, whats not to like? Steve Schneider's 2016 summit entry said they roped up for the whole ridge and it was 12 pitches. Never felt the need for climbing shoes - it is mostly hiking/3rd/4th with a few short and easy 5th class bits. The single 5.7 section is a 10-foot boulder problem (or 5.8 squeeze chimney on left) over a large ledge. Also - it should probably be called the Northeast Ridge... its much closer to North than East on the map May 8, 2018
Bruce Morris
Soulsbyville, CA
Bruce Morris   Soulsbyville, CA
Richard: Any idea what the "approved" descent route from the summit of The Sphinx is like? Obvious rapping point? Thanks incidentally for all the new info about the 'Northeast' Ridge. Want to go back and correct the second edition of the Ellery Guide this summer and any more details about the Sphinx are welcome. Jun 20, 2018
Hi Bruce - I descended towards the notch from the summit and traversed off west (skiers left) on some ledges and 4th/easy 5th class downclimbing terrain to the small basin on the “backside approach” - which is quite brushy. Alternatively, my girlfriend did the ridge at a later date and descended towards Hwy 120 from the notch and said it was relatively quick and also class 4-5 downclimbing with some route finding. Easy sand skiing along the base of the cliff back to the road from there. Never saw any rap stations but ample opportunities exist to rig something up with some cord. Jun 20, 2018
Bill Lundeen
Lee Vining, CA
Bill Lundeen   Lee Vining, CA
Fun ridge scramble, with plenty of loose rock, sand, leaves and what-not to make one focus. I found the hardest parts to be what would normally be considered the easiest; lower angles provided opportunity for leaves and small rocks to collect. Did the entire North(east) Ridge from North to South, all three summits. For the descent I downclimbed the "normal" East Ridge ascent crux, which is back down from the summit (north) to the steep headwall that you encounter when ascending from N to S (then downclimbing west). Definitely 5.7--the pay attention type when on scaley, loose rock. Sep 7, 2018
Derek Field
  5.7 PG13
Derek Field   California
  5.7 PG13
We walked from Camp 9000 to the base of the ridge. More like 20 mins car to base but still super mellow. Started up an obvious dihedral - steep 5.7, loose, and honestly pretty fun. From there, mostly 3rd/4th-class scrambling along the crest to the top. Ridge gets slender and scenic in spots. At the cruxy step we took the 5.7 squeeze chimney on left instead of the boulder problem. No worries. Two single-rope raps straight down the north face off the summit, easy saunter back down to camp. Oct 22, 2018