3 years before this trip, I had tried to climb Mt. Ritter and failed. Now I was back with better gear and a better idea of the route.

I got up at around midnight, grabbed my stuff and headed out. I went around Lake Catherine on the north side and then up past the Ritter lakes. I found this Lyell salamander, just hanging out on top of the snow, which I found interesting since it was well below freezing.

Lyell Salamander

I passed my previous campsite, the snow appeared to be 10 to 15 feet deep based on my remembrance of how it looked without the snow. I made it past the lakes and then started up the west side of Mt. Ritter.

I passed the spot where I had turned around on my previous attempt and continued up a small snow-filled couloir. It was steep enough to require front pointing with my crampons.

Looking to the west from the couloir

After ascending to the top of the couloir, I had to take my crampons off and go up a boulder field and then traverse back to the left to get over the top of the ridge.

The traverse to the left after the couloir.

Once over the top of the ridge I was back on snow and headed up to the peak. I had to again remove my crampons just before the summit and scramble up boulder to the top where I found the register.

Looking south from Mt. Ritter
Looking north from Mt. Ritter, Mt Dana is the sharp peak in the very far distance.
Looking towards Electra, Rodgers, and Davis, Half Dome can be seen on the far left.
Looking to the west from Mt. Ritter, Madera Peak is on the far left horizon and Mt. Clark is on the far right.

I headed back down to the saddle and then made the traverse across the boulder field again.  However, this time instead of going down couloir  at the top of the bowl as I had on my way up, I traversed farther climber's right and then headed down.

Eventually the snow narrowed to about 6-8 feet wide and zigged zagged between the rocks. At this point I turned around and backed down the snow, just as I had done when descending Gannet Peak in Wyoming the summer before.

I made it down to the Ritter lakes and then back around  Lake Catherine to my camp at around where I crawled underneath my tarp and took a nap. It threatened to storm but never actually did.

Sunset on Banner Peak and Mt. Ritter from camp