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.
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.
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.
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.
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.