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Disappointment Peak
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East Ridge 

YDS: 5.6 French: 4c Ewbanks: 14 UIAA: V ZA: 12 British: S 4b

Type:  Trad, Alpine, 500'
Original:  YDS: 5.6 French: 4c Ewbanks: 14 UIAA: V ZA: 12 British: S 4b [details]
FA: Jack Durrance, George Sheldon, Percy Rideout - September 2, 1937
Page Views: 7,614
Submitted By: Ian McEleney on Jun 28, 2007

You & This Route  |  Other Opinions (38)
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Looking up at Disappointment Peak in the fog


This fun route makes a great day climb or warm up for bigger routes. There are numerous ways to climb this popular ridge. Generally, staying away from the ridge crest (or to the climber's left) will be easier. The rock quality is good.

The first pitch (or two) climbs to a large treed ledge that cuts across the east face of the peak. Getting to this ledge could be 5.4 or 4th class depending on the route taken.

From here, wander up for 3 to 5 pitches, making use of the many good belay stances. At minimum a few 5.6 moves will have to be made, though the climbing could be made more difficult. Top out near the ridge crest and hike another thousand or so feet up the boulder field to summit.


Hike from the Lupine Meadows Trailhead to Amphitheater Lake. Follow the trail northwest to the notch at the base of the ridge. Descend the Southeast Ridge.


A small rack to 3"

Photos of East Ridge Slideshow Add Photo
Rock Climbing Photo: Rappelling off of Disappointment Peak
Rappelling off of Disappointment Peak
Rock Climbing Photo: Looking down from a few pitches up.
Looking down from a few pitches up.
Rock Climbing Photo: Final pitch
Final pitch
Rock Climbing Photo: East ridge proper, seen from the forested bench at...
BETA PHOTO: East ridge proper, seen from the forested bench at...
Rock Climbing Photo: 1st pitch, climb cracks up to and right of the sma...
BETA PHOTO: 1st pitch, climb cracks up to and right of the sma...
Rock Climbing Photo: The East Ridge of Dissappointment Peak. Mount Owen...
BETA PHOTO: The East Ridge of Dissappointment Peak. Mount Owen...

Comments on East Ridge Add Comment
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By Kevin Bradford
Sep 22, 2013

This a super fun route with killer views, and it requires very little time, equipment, and overall commitment. The approach takes about 2.5 hrs, we went to the summit, which is well worth it, and it was 9 hrs car to car. You could probably bail to the left (south) at any point in case of bad weather, as there are ledges all along the ridge that lead towards the spoon couloir. The views of garnet canyon from the summit are top notch, you can see every peak along the grand traverse.

For gear i would bring a single set of cams from .5 to #3 camalot, a set of nuts, and 6-8 long runners. If you want to do the 5.7 hand crack at the top, bring two #2's. We brought a large hex instead of the #3, and it came in handy once or twice.

To descend head across the summit plateau to the se ridge. Find a gully leading through the cliff bands above amphitheater lake. The correct gully will have a view straight down to the grassy bench directly on the broad ridge line. Follow this gully until it gets steep, at which point a convenient ledge system leads right and down to the grassy bench. Find a trail from here down through the grass to the lake.
By Dapper Dan Rogers
From: Driggs, ID
Aug 21, 2014

Pay close attention to the descent description here, and in the local guides, it can be a bit deceiving, or at least I thought so! You'll head a ways past the spoon into the scrubby forest to find the gully, and the "ledge system" at the end of the gully (where it cliffs out) is perhaps best thought of as "A hidden traverse." Hope this helps! Great climb, and heartily second that going to the top is worth it.
By Luke Lindeman
From: Lancaster, PA
Feb 10, 2017
rating: 5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b

Did this route summer of 2016 and it was a blast. I think it merits a bit more than 3 stars...

Descent notes: We were able to find very obvious switchbacks once descending a bit from the summit boulders. These switchbacks led down to a gully between Amphitheater/Surprise Lake and Garnet Canyon. This brought us to a ledge system that was pretty easy to descend, but for the "4th class" move there was a cord slung around a large tree/root system with a rap ring attached to it. Instead of risking a tumble after a long day of fun, we just did a quick rap from the tree to get to some more grassy switchbacks just above Amphitheater Lake.

Great route. Recommended. Didn't see another single soul on the rock that day which added to the beauty of it
By Nick M
Jun 26, 2017

Fun route. Must enjoy lots of hiking to make it enjoyable, of course. The 1000' scramble/slog to the summit proper of Disappointment Peak is well worth it. While the peak itself is rather piddly from the east, its position affords an incredible, unique view of the surrounding peaks. And the north face below you...not piddly at all...

The crux near the top was more than (this) soloist expected on a 5.6 outing. Apparently a step left would have avoided the 5.7 hands finish, but it's the obvious, plumb, sweet line; of course you're doing it! Locker hand jams in a small corner roof/bulge over significant exposure of the north face made for a memorable experience. Will wear proper rock shoes next time.

As of late June 2017 (big snow year), lots of snow up there. Descent down the Spoon Couloir (obvious steep gully lookers left of E ridge) or the standard descent, SE Ridge, were full snow. Someone sustained serious injuries from a fall-on-snow here the week before my visit. The upper broad E facing slope of Disappointment is visible from the road. Ice axe recommended if you see any white up there. Worst case, carry it to Amphitheater lake and ditch it there if the descent is confirmed dry.

If familiar with the Irene's Arete chockstone gully (though I hear it can suck), descending that into Garnet could make a fun loop circuit of your day.
By Safty Third
From: San Diego, CA
Jul 23, 2017

Approach: Trail just continues on past Amphitheater leading up to the ridge.

Climb: Low-fifth all the way. We climbed the whole route in 45 minutes, and continued scrambling to the summit.

Descent: From summit descended the South-East Ridge. Straightforward, well traveled trail with minor route-finding on the 4th class section.

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