Sunday, October 2, 2016

NE Ridge of Mt Hoffmann

I fractured my finger last weekend on Moro rock, so I am now relegated to non-technical objectives for a few weeks until my finger heals. That's maybe for the best, since it means Teresa and I can focus on getting our training plan implemented for our Christmas climb of Pico de Orizaba.

On Saturday, we did a quick 45 min jaunt up Pincushion mountain (its actually just a hill) and on Sunday we decided to climb something rather obscure, the North East Ridge of Hoffmann Peak.

Approaching Mount Hoffman from the west side of May Lake.

Mount Hoffmann is a tourist mountain, it has an easy class 1 trail to the top, but what most people don't realize is that there are more interesting ways up the mountain. One is the North East Ridge, which is a 4th class scramble gained from the col between Mount Hoffmann and Touolmne Peak.

NE Ridge - Photo SummitPost

Teresa on the approach

After slogging up 800 feet of slabs above May Lake, we found the start of the ridge. 

Looking up the ridge

A very cold wind picked up. October is here and summer is definitely ending in the High Sierra. We started up on the ridge, with some easy class 3. Soon the ridge narrowed, and the fun began!

Climbing on the ridge

We then arrived at some short 4th class sections, a super fun crack with some low 5th class moves. Hand jams, stemming, oh my.

Teresa into the crack
We decided to rope up for the short 4th class section. It was a good thing we didn't because Teresa had a dizzy spell. We sat on a ledge for a few moments while she recovered then climbed a short chimney system to top out the ridge to the summit plateau. 

Teresa comes up the chimney
We meandered over to the summit. We moved pretty quickly trying to warm up! Its time to start carrying the down coat on mountain trips.

There were terrific views of Half-Dome, Clouds rest, and Toulmne from the summit.

Clouds rest

A great little adventure. We descended the tourist trail, and were back to the car in no time. The ridge was a fun little scramble, defiantly worth doing if in the area , and you are looking for something fast and interesting to do. 


  1. Nice report, thanks!

    We were up that way earlier this year, hoping to do Tuolumne and and then Hoffman via the NE Ridge, but was tired and a little intimidated when we got to the saddle. There are only a few reports on this little ridge, and it seems like almost everyone breaks out the rope or would, if they had one. Did you place any gear, and if so, what sizes would you recommend?

    Mark Turpin

    1. Hi Mark!

      There is a short steep hand crack, maybe 10-15' tall. and a short easy chimney. A 30 meter rope and a few cams will easily cover it. I carried BD 0.5-2 and felt I could protect the two cruxes easily.