Banner Peak East Corner

Mammoth Lakes, California

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Banner Peak is the impressive mountain lying just to the north of Mt. Ritter. The convoluted east face is a spectacular sight when viewed from Garnet and Thousand Island lakes. Comprised of a series of steep buttresses, this face culminates at Banner’s sharp summit. The route up the east corner was first climbed by Jules Eichorn and Robert Underhill in 1931 during the Sierra Club’s historic Underhill Camp. During their ascent, Underhill dislodged a large block that nearly killed Jules Eichorn. Their original Class 4 rating is a testimony to their climbing skills, as well as their rough comparative rating skills. In the ensuing years, this route has come to be respected as at least as difficult as their later route up the east face of Mt. Whitney. David Harden noted, “This old-style ‘Class 4’ in reality offers multiple pitches of fifth class with mandatory 5.7 climbing on the overhanging headwall pitch. There are lots of fixed pieces where parties have obviously backed off. It is considerably harder and longer than something like the north ridge of Lone Pine Peak or the west ridge of Mt. Conness.” Long-time Sierra guide Bela Vadasz concurred, “It is a testimony to the skill of these pioneer climbers that they could do a route like this, covering new difficult ground in tennis shoes, and using insecure belays with woven hemp ropes.”
Climbing California's High Sierra

DESCRIPTION FROM:

Climbing California's High Sierra

by John Moynier & Claude Fiddler (Falcon Guides)

Banner Peak is the impressive mountain lying just to the north of Mt. Ritter. The convoluted east face is a spectacular sight when viewed from Garnet and Thousand Island lakes. Comprised of a series of steep buttresses, this face culminates at Banner’s sharp summit. The route up the east corner was first climbed by Jules Eichorn and Robert Underhill in 1931 during the Sierra Club’s historic Underhill Camp. During their ascent, Underhill dislodged a large block that nearly killed Jules Eichorn. Their original Class 4 rating is a testimony to their climbing skills, as well as their rough comparative rating skills. In the ensuing years, this route has come to be respected as at least as difficult as their later route up the east face of Mt. Whitney. David Harden noted, “This old-style ‘Class 4’ in reality offers multiple pitches of fifth class with mandatory 5.7 climbing on the overhanging headwall pitch. There are lots of fixed pieces where parties have obviously backed off. It is considerably harder and longer than something like the north ridge of Lone Pine Peak or the west ridge of Mt. Conness.” Long-time Sierra guide Bela Vadasz concurred, “It is a testimony to the skill of these pioneer climbers that they could do a route like this, covering new difficult ground in tennis shoes, and using insecure belays with woven hemp ropes.”

©  John Moynier & Claude Fiddler/Falcon Guides. All Rights Reserved.

Activity Type: Climbing
Nearby City: Mammoth Lakes
Class: Class 5.6 - 5.8
Local Contacts: John Muir Wilderness
Local Maps: USGS Mt. Ritter, Mammoth Mountain
Grade: Grade III
Driving Directions: Directions to Banner Peak: East Corner

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May 2018