I was fortunate enough to undergo my first true mountaineering experience with two weekends left in summer internship at Pacific Gas & Electric. It was a weekend trip to Ansel Adams wilderness, with epitomic views of the High Sierras and idyllic lakeside camping. We hiked in 6 miles to camp at Ediza Lake and the next day undertook the class 3 climb to the top of Mount Ritter (3,700ft elevation change over 3 miles, 13,143 ft summit). The access to wilderness in California is unprecedented, and if you’re willing to drive 4.5 hours after work on a Friday, you’ll be rewarded with weekend memories that last a lifetime. (shoutout to Ryan and Aaron for letting my pass out in the back of the car as they drove both ways).

You can see the route below, starting at the Agnew Meadows trailhead near the Devils Postpile National Monument, our campsite at Ediza Lake, and the class 3 route to the top of Ritter.

Mt. Ritter sits on the edge of Ansel Adams wilderness, the historic photographer that was famous for his black and white prints.

Ryan's BW photo of the lake

Ryan woke up early and took some Ansel-inspired pictures of Ediza lake and the Minarets.

Ryan BW Minarets

Then we set off for a big day – three miles to the summit, then 9 more back down all the way to the trailhead.

The first few miles were meandering up the meadows towards the base of the mountain.


Then there are some waterfall scrambles on tight precipices, but it is only class 2 or 3. Soon you start to feel very high.

Looking back at the moraines below.

There is mention of a frog looking structure. Once you go around that you should see the scree-filled gully that shoots up to the peak. It’s steep, and the rock is crumbly, but it’s maybe 4th class at most.

The scree field heads around the corner up and to the right.

scree 2

There was still some snow left, albeit rotten.


At the top, it is hard not to feel like you’re on top of the world.


From the summit, looking out at the whole of Ansel Adams Wilderness