While all routes to the summit of 13,986 foot Mt. Humphreys are difficult, the most challenging ascent is surely the wonderful East Ridge. The first ascent by this route in 1935 was by the legendary Norman Clyde, who considered the route a classic mountaineering challenge. There are a number of route options: our favorite is to basecamp at a small tarn and then to gain the East Ridge. Blocks, towers, and exposed traverses characterize this route, which has been referred to as the “Exum Ridge” of the Sierra. This is a great one for a winter ascent (four days, two on the route).
The best guidebooks are Supertopo’s “High Sierra Climbing” by Chris McNamara. and Peter Croft’s “The Good, The Great, and the Awesome”.
We highly recommend that you spend at least one night at moderate altitude (higher than 8,000′) just prior to the trip. Spending a night in Mammoth or camped at the trailhead campground in Rock Creek Canyon would do the trick. You could also stay at Rock Creek Lodge. Please refer to our Planning for Success info sheet for more info.