Okay, we have to admit it: the Wheeler Survey party of 1880 who named this peak probably had never seen the real thing. There is a slight resemblance but our Sierra version is not quite the same as the Swiss one. A good deal smaller, but with much better rock. And a fraction of the people.

The Sawtooth ridge dominates the Sierra skyline from Bridgeport and is aptly named with jagged peaks and sharp ridges. Matterhorn is the southern bastion of the ridge and is the high point of the area. At the other end is little climbed Blacksmith Peak.

The North Arete offers a great climb to the summit of this peak. This route was first ascended in 1953 by Yosemite climbers Jerry Gallwas, Don Wilson and Wally Kodis. The ascent is rated 5.6 and is less sustained than other routes of a similar grade such as the East Face on Mt. Whitney. But we think that the rock is better than on Whitney and offers sharp cracks and an exposed position right on the edge of the clean arete directly to the summit.

This is another good introduction to technical climbing in the high mountains and feels more of a wilderness adventure than the other route of a similar level, the North Ridge of Mt. Conness. For literary trivia buffs this is also the peak that defeated Jack Kerouac in his book “Dharma Bums”.


high-sierra-climbing-super-topo good-great-awesomeThe best guidebooks are Supertopo’s “High Sierra Climbing” by Chris McNamara and Peter Croft’s “The Good, The Great, and the Awesome”.

Get them from Maximus Press.

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 would do the trick or better yet, camped at an even higher trailhead, such as the Sawmill Creek Campground on the Saddlebag Lake Road or in Tuolumne, for a night just before the trip. Please refer to our Planning for Success info sheet for more info.

We have to pay the Mono Village an overnight parking fee of $5.00 per night.

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