Mt Ritter -
is the highest peak in the Ritter Range (13,143 feet), and was first climbed by John Muir in 1872. It is a volcanic ridge west of the Sierra Crest, just outside Yosemite's
southeast boundary. The Minarets, a set of more than a dozen fantastically sharp pinnacles in this range, together with Mt. Ritter and Banner Peak make for a striking skyline when viewed from the Ediza Lake area. According to Secor, "Mount Ritter is perhaps the most prominent peak in the High Sierra, and can even be seen from certain summits in the southern portion of the range."
It is easily recognizable (in conjunction with its neighbor Banner Peak) from as far north as the peaks around Sonora Pass, and far into the southern parts of the range, from the Palisades
to Mt. Goddard, and some points even further. For high point seekers, Mt. Ritter is also the high point of Madera County, one of the more arduous of the 58 county high points in California.
So before we get into the Climbing Portion
of Mt Ritter, we will give you an introduction into the area you will be hiking through in order to get to the base of the climb. As the old saying goes, "half the fun is getting there."
Having spent many years in the Sierra Nevada
, I have to say that the Mount Ritter/Banner peaks and surrounding areas, are some of the most beautiful terrain in all the range.
It is of little wonder that John Muir placed this section high on his list of places to visit. He considered Ediza Lake (image to the right) with its spectacular views of the rugged Minarets
to be the most beautiful lake in the Sierra Nevada. But Mt Ritter and Ediza Lake are just the beginning of the story, because this area of the Ansel Adams Wilderness
is chalk full of things to do, and there are many forks along the shadow lake trail that lead to all sorts of adventures for climbers, fishermen, backpackers and hikers.