You have to imagine this route in the days when the snow was plowed to its lower ramparts in the Old Ski Bowl. Now, in early season you’ll need to skin/trek the three miles of unplowed road from Bunny Flat to the Old Ski Bowl (OSB) or perhaps you may get lucky and be able to hitch a ride with a kind snowmobiler.
There are several options to gain the ridge top from OSB. One may climb the spur ridge that leads up from the lower portion of Old Ski Bowl. Alternately one may climb up below Shastarama to gain the ridge top. Shastarama is a worthy climb and ski descent in its own right. The crux will come from just beyond the narrow ridge above Shastarama along the “saw tooth” portion of Sargents Ridge. Here the climber is pushed out onto the SW aspect above Avalanche Gulch to weave their way through cliff bands regaining the ridge top just down ridge from the Thumb. Nothing technical will be encountered, but the exposure and sloping basalt will challenge you. A picket or two, and a light rope may offer solace. There are no bivy sites above Shastarama, so plan accordingly. There are a number of variations to this route that traverse climber’s right below Thumb Rock toward the toe of the Konwonkiton Glacier. These can be wonderful options giving the experienced mountaineer mixed terrain and little company. Keep in mind the hazards of rock fall and an extremely unstable Konwonkiton glacier mid to late season.
Mid to late season this route loses its snow cover and is not recommended. The views and exposure make this worth two days.
Sargents Ridge is in great shape right now with ample snow and ice coverage. Rangers have been on portions of this route recently. Some post-holing was encountered so best to climb early! Rock formations along the ridge are completely plastered in rime ice. Falling rime ice was a serious concern in some areas. Rangers had to scamper out of the way a few times. This route crosses many avalanche starting zones. Wind slabs and loose wet avalanches can be a concern, pending the weather. Winter and early Spring are the best times of year for this route. It is not for the faint of heart and is best for more experienced mountaineers. To climb this route, the approach is close to four miles from Bunny Flat parking lot to the bottom of the ridge via the snow covered Everitt Memorial Hwy. Most climbers do not choose to climb the ridge in total and most often choose the Green Butte ridge link-up to Sargents Ridge. A climb of Sargents Ridge in total will require at least two to three days to complete the whole climb. Elevation, current weather and time of day will determine the snow conditions. Prior winter camping, winter mountaineering, and winter survival skills are mandatory. Carry a map and compass and know how to use them. Check the current avalanche advisory and mountain weather forecast before attempting a climb making sure you have a solid multi-day good weather window. The crux lies in on the upper portion of the ridge just before The Thumb. This "sawtooth" portion of the ridgeline has most folks route finding through rock bands on the west side of the ridge, but a few bold mountaineers might be able to make a traverse on the east side of the ridge through this section. A horrible looking fall down the east side into the Mud Creek canyon will keep you on your toes.