Route of the Week: Southeast Face of Emerson
Route Type: Alpine Rock
Pitches: A Lot (2,200ft of climbing)
Gear: 0.2 – 2.5,”
Formation: Mt. Emerson
For anyone looking to get into alpine rock climbing or any old pro who is just looking for a good day out the SE Face of Emerson is a great objective.
Find It: From the town of Bishop California take CA – 168 (W. Line St.) East for 17.8 miles towards Sabrina Lake. Turn right on North Lake Rd. Drive for 1.9 miles to the North Lake Pack Station (day use parking)
Take the Piute Pass Trail from the campground for 1.7 miles towards Lach Leaven. The turn off for the climb will be the last set of switch backs before Lach Leaven around 10,500ft. Break up and right along a drainage. The route climbs the obvious crack gully system starting at 11,000ft.
This route can’t be broken up into traditional pitches as it is a mixture of scrambling, short-pitching with sections of traditional climbing.
The start of the route is the 5.4 crux up a crack and chimney system into a gully feature. Climb the gully feature if it’s dry or many good climbing options are available if there is water present.
Continue up the gully feature for about 1,700ft. The route will occasionally be broken by sections of steeper rock. This provides many route options up to moderate fifth class climbing if the party so chooses.
The route finishes on a spectacular knife edge rock ridge that can present difficulty protecting for more novice climbers.
Descent: From the summit block the easiest way down is to continue West along the summit ridge and descend to the left down the South slopes. There are multiple rappel and down climb options from the ridge. Be mindful of loose scree and talus on the descent.
The High Sierra: Peaks, Passes, and Trails, by RJ Secor