Mount Ruskin


By: David L. Underwood

During the week of July 20, through the 26th I climbed in the area west of Taboose Pass. Of the peaks that I climbed I felt that Mt. Ruskin was the most interesting and challenging.

The route that I took is fairly direct and makes the approach quick and easy. Going north on the Muir trail you come to the creek that is part of the drainage of the east side of Mt. Ruskin. This creek derives partly from the lake that is almost due south of the east ridge. Just up the trail as I was going north I found a fairly easy route through the trees. This area is easy to recognize as there has been an avalanche here and many of the trees have been knocked down. As you go up the slope from here cutting back toward the drainage the area becomes quite open and almost level. A few hundred meters up the drainage you will come to an area that has been used as a campsite before. There are a couple of sawed off logs that can be used as chairs and room for several tents in this area. Just pass this area the drainage from the previous1y mentioned lake enters the stream that you are foI1owing. The creek is small at this point and you can step across it.

Follow this creek staying to the left of it until you come to an open area below a steep granite slope. Again, take the left branch and follow it up to the lake which is just to the south of the East Buttress of Mt. Ruskin. Rather than endure the mosquitoes lower down I packed in to this lake and camped there. This was a wise decision as there were no mosquitoes and there is also room for a few tents here. There is a nice sandy beach and you are only a few minutes from the buttress itself.

Approach the buttress from the south and you will see what looks like a crack system on the left side. I left a pretty goad duck at this point so it should be easy to find. Climbing the crack puts you on the first ledge. Go right until you find a spot to climb to the next ledge, this is also easy to find and is pretty self evident. The next move is a sloping slab that takes you to the third ledge. From here go back to the left a few feet and you will see a large crack with good stepping rocks to the fourth ] edge. Then go right again and just as the ledge looks as if it is going to run out, step around the corner. Here the ledge is quite narrow, but if you look up you will see that there is a series of small ledges that can be climbed. This is the third class portion of the route but it is close to fourth class and there is good exposure at this point. You will find several ducks here so you will know that you are on route.

You should now be on the ridge and at this point crest is nice and wide and the walking is easy. A few hundred meters up this ridge and it narrows down with good exposure but footing is good and solid. There are a couple of places that require going around but they do not present any real problem until you get to within about one hundred meters from the summit. There is a rock that projects directly over the ridge at this point and the sides of the ridge are steep with very little protection. You have to go right at this point and then climb up to get above this, I would rate this move as fourth class. From here the summit is a breeze. The view is great and the log book has not been snatched by some Cretin who thinks that he is saving it for some moles in the U.C. library.

The previous1y mentioned projecting rock presents a problem on the way down also. I did not like the down climbing at this point so I went to the end of the ledge and swung over the ledge. This meant a drop of a foot or two but it seemed easier than climbing down. Those of you who have been on climbs with me know that while being a bit slow I am reasonably sure footed, however, I must say that an this particular area of the ridge I felt a bit uneasy as there is the potential for a slip. There is pretty good exposure here and concentration is a must. After passing this portion of the ridge however the rest of the descent is a breeze. This is certainly one of the fun peaks to climb. There is virtually no scree and the granite is solid. The creek is pristine and I personally did not feel the need to filter the water, however I must stress this was a personal decision, but I have not developed any ill effects from this trip. There is quite a bit of the black Lichen on the route and should not be attempted if it is raining. Rain or snow could make this climb quite dangerous as it Is steep and the exposure is high in a couple of places.

SPS Archives Index | Sierra Peaks Section