Ritter, and Banner Too

9 Aug 1998 - by Ron Karpel

We started out from Agnew Meadow at 9 AM on Saturday and headed to Ediza Lake. Camp was setup on the eastern slop of the gentle valley west of Mount Ritter near the unnamed lake at 10,100 ft (about 3070 meter on the USGS map). The lake was still frozen. Above us to the west were Ritter and Banner, standing like 2 sentinels guarding their summits. But as the weekend unfolded, both mountains were conquered by our fearless mountaineers.

First to go down was Banner. Ahmad, Doug, Greg, and I headed for the Ritter Banner Saddle. The upper portions of the saddle, which supposed to be a class 3 rock climb, were easily taken through the chute at it's northern end. The chute was still paved with 10-15 ft. of hard snow. From there, the mountain was protected with only scree and loose rock on its south west slop. And even the gusty 30-40 MPH wind didn't deter us from reaching the summit. At first we had some problem determining where the true summit was, so we climbed all 3 obvious high points. Later Ahmad and Greg found the register on the middle point and signed it for the rest of us.

We only stayed long enough to snap some pictures, and we headed down. We got back to camp at 8 PM, with barely enough light to cook supper and go to bed.

The attack on Ritter started 6:15 AM on Sunday. Here we used the excellent route description by Jim Ramaker in his Dayhiking Ritter report. The route up to the glacier was almost completely on snow. The 45 degree slop was at the beginning was not enough to stop us, and it got significantly more gentle in the bowl below the glacier. We had only one short section of rock, which we didn't bother to remove our crampons for. Once on the glacier, we could easily see the 2 gullies that Jim describes. We attacked the easier one on the right, which was still half full with snow. Once in the upper bowl we took off our crampons and finished the job by climbing the rock slopes on the right. The snow in the center of the bowl was soft at this point and would have required kicking steps. Everybody summited. We basked in the sun, signed the register and had our victory chocolate provided by our wonderful co-leader Nancy, and then it was time to go down. By now the snow had soften considerably and allowed us to glissade most of the way back to base.

Participants: Ahmad Zandi, Greg Johnson, Dot Reilly, Doug Ross, Nancy Fitzsimmons (co-leader), Rick & Helena Verrow, and Ron Karpel (leader and scribe.)

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