Recommendations: Some Cool Sierra Routes
1]Snake Dike, in Yosemite- The most coreographed route in the world. The line was drawn,
"thou shalt climb here."
2]Southeast Face of Mount Emmerson - grade III, 5.4. A prominent crack system to a cool
summit ridge, reasonable rock and a short approach make this one to check out!
3]The Gendarmes, Rock Creek Cirque- A wildly tilted picket fence extending nearly a mile between
Ruby peak and Mount Mills.
4] Traverse of the Crest of Paiute Crags #11 and #10- There are terrifying sections of stacked
footballs lower down, but the crest is improbably purple and solid. Really Cool, a 20 minute approach, and I probably
got about the third ascent ever! Use Roper's guide!
5]Cathedral Range Traverse, Toulumne- Great rock and lots of nice strolling between the cruxy
bits. User friendly, not too commiting.
Moderate Low Elevation Fun Mini-Peaks:
|A fun 2 pitch 5.2 climbs the sunlit face.
The Fang- Look south from the cattleguard
at the buttermilks, the obvious sharp pinnacle on the skyline in front of grouse montain. The NW face has a way cool
2or 3 pitch 5.1. The approach takes about 30 minutes, and you can sand surf most of the way back down.
South butress of Buttermilk Dome- Right behind the Iron Man Traverse is a grainy slab leading to
toilet sized cat-litter huecoes. Negotiate a balancy 5.4 lieback to gain the crest, some more moonscoops and a final
lieback lead to the summit in about two pitches or so. This is one of my favorites!
Tungsten Hills Dome/Alabama Getaway- On the way to the tungsten hills circuit, you drive past this cute little dome.
Park at the sewage pond for the youth corectional facility and hike up the wash to the south to the face of the obvious dome.
We tried an X rated direct route and bailed. It can be done w/o bolts, but only by a superman. So we started off
a ledge to the left and followed the big ledge accross the N face, and then some slabby stuff. We did the FA on my Ex's
32 birthday, hence the name[ferdeadheads] Two pitches, 5.3, med. stoppers. Since then, I occasionally
do it as a quick solo.
Possum Pinnacle in Pine Creek Canyon. -Park at the little creek crossing 1/2 mile before Pratt's Crack Canyon, and hike
10 minutes North to a collection of low angle, old-timy routes. Also in the area is Elderberry Butress and Possum Ridge-
A personal standing project of mine. Harder than it appears, and very, very long. Unkown if there has been a complete
ascent. Behind the pack station at the Pine Creek trailhead is a little red-lookin'
peak with a subsidary peak on it's NE flank. The Country Glass Arete is a fun, slightly trecherous route up the NE arete
of this subsidary peak[see photo].
Boyscout Buttress, 2 miles north of Lone Pine.- A couple miles north of town
on the old highway, you pass this side canyon, left turn, "NoDumping" There is an interesting giant boulder with
a S. facing steep finger crack in the north fork of the side canyon. Boy Scout Buttress is in the S. fork,
facing north, and is visible from US 395. It is the right hand of 2 buttresses. 2 pitches of granite patina, very
little cracks for gear, but a great mini-solo [5.3], if you happen to be in Big Pine.
|Country Glass Arete [III 5.4]
|The Country Glass Arete climbs the right hand skyline of this peak above the Pine Creek trailhead.
|Possum Ridge is the tower left of center
|South Ridge of Buttermilk Dome [5.4]
Alpine Ridges and Aretes
[also, check out my Summer Trips page]
Mount Humpfrys was a lot of fun, mostly class 4 untill the last 300'. Oh yeah, there is
one little notch about a third of the way, a really insignificant notch, where if you don't find the hidden sidepull off left,
you will be sorry! Married Men's Point is only the notch before the final steep pitches. There was some kitty
litter farms up high on the route, but overall it reminds me of the ultimate Buttermilk crag, which it is. Definately
start the arete at the notch below the peaklet, and stay on the crest the whole way unless you chicken out. On these
type of routes, it doesn't help to try too hard to match up your topo to reality. Almost always, even the most
improbable sections of an arete will go if you cling to the very crest. This is a great long route, almost a mile of
climbing, and not too hard.
The Mathess Crest in Toulmne is a must do if you like ridge traverses. The rock is excellent
, but be aware that if you stay on the crest and traverse the entire formation, it is really a bit more of a project than
reported in the guide book. Probably about 5.7, III+.
A traverse of the entire Crystal Crag ridge, from north to south, is actually pretty long, with all
of the hard climbing in the first bit. The white towers are sorta cool. Of course, it is easy to bail down the
west face after you summit. 5.6 or 5.7, [III if you do the whole thing.]
The crest of Wheeler Peak is easily accessible, yet wild. Traversing the entire crest is never
more than 4th class and never very scary.
The Paiutes were traversed somehow in 1975 by Beech and King. Those dudes were Bad A@@!
|Alpine Rock Ridges
|East Arete of Mount Humphrys [III 5.4]
Rock Creek cirque is silvery granite.
Ruby Peak's east ridge is a great class 3-4 with a short approach; the best start for the Gendarme Ridge. The traverse
from Mono Pass to Ruby Peak is good, but suffers from a boring sandy plateau section, and some grainy rock. But
the last little bit before Ruby is "bigger the Furthur you go". All routes on Bear Creek Spire are worthy,
if you know what to expect. When I ran into Jason, we were both just happened to be soloing Royal Arches, and he thought
that the last peaks in the Rock Creek chain [Rosy Finch and that other one] were way better than people were saying [choss
heaps!]. Last year, he soloed the Rock Creek Traverse, or at least tagged all the main summits, in 21 hours.
There are some long ridges that start really close to the road
in Pine Creek Canyon. People have climbed here for years, but I doubt that some of these long aretes have been followed
to their terminus. Possum Ridge and the Country Glass Arete are two of my standing projects- Endless, free soloable
ridges with short approaches. With no simple way down [the catch]. There are also unreporeted trad and bolted
routes, as well as bouldering, in the Canyoun.
Beware that none of my climbs have a very impressive grade. I don't want to sandbag anyone. Some of the trickiest
stuff in the mountains is class 4. Route finding and loose rock tremendously complcate the difficulty of a route.
Speed is essential, but speed without expert routefinding is suicide in the peaks. Don't just jump on a big peak and
expect a crag route. -On
ridge climbs, you must always decide if the best line lies to either side of the crest. 99% of the time, the shortest
and best line is to exactly follow the exposed crest. There will probably be easier ledges and gullies, there always
are, but they will require additional downclimbing and weaving around the fat sides of gendarmes, instead of quickly
swinging from summit to pointy summit. It is just simple geometry; A straight line along the top of the
crest is a shorter line than any line that winds around the sides of features. The difficulty right out on the edge
may or may not be harder than taking less direct routes, but it is always shorter, and it about always will go, no matter
how improbable it looks. The exposure can be horrendous, but that's why you do it, right? The rock quality is
almost always better right on the crest; it's the crest because all the softer choss has fallen away. Get it?
-Go forth and Rideth thine Ridge!