Not much to say here. We did this early-ish in the year (like June
sometime). We did the classic route on Cathedral (the one with all
the crowds). I believe that we were about the 7th party in line, with
at least 5 more below us. Perhaps climbing it at midnight under a
full moon would be better. Because of the crowds we started right of
the standard route, and encountered a few tricky slab moves (thanks,
Sven). There are at least 3 options 2/3 of the way up. The standard
route on the left (crowded), a chimney (center), a nice looking crack
around to the right (harder). We went the chimney. At some point we
reached the ledge before the headwall and a huge traffic jam -- due to
the time people were taking to rap off the back. Arguments, name
calling, bullshit. The sun was out and we napped. Total time on rock
was probably about 4 hours, around half of which we spent climbing.
* 10.5 mm rope, 60M
* Medium Rack
Wow. A really nice climb.
A use trail branches right at end of long lake. After following trail
through meadows along stream, it is better to head left up talus
in shallow gully (dry stream bed) than to go over benches. There is
a faint trail at times on right of the talus field. This deposits
you below Treasure Lakes. Head up benches on left (going to top
of plateau leads to easier travel) and head over to Dade lake. Don't
go around the talus alongside of Treasure lakes. Camp at Dade. 3 hours.
We didn't drink enough, and this would turn out to hurt us (me) big
time. The water in the lake was so damned cold though, it was hard to
get down, as we didn't bring a stove. We were up at first light
(around 6:30) and moving by 7:30. One hour up talus to base of
snowfield. It took us about an hour to cross the snowfield (the snow
was damn hard/icy this late in the season -- no crampons). The climb
goes as described in the books -- the OW section (crux) is not that
bad. We took the system furthest to the left sort of in a right
facing corner. Don't be mistaken by the systems further to the right
-- lots of bail gear here. The OW takes you into a mellow chimney.
From here mostly the climbing is easy. There is a trick to get onto
the summit which we never did figure out -- I started getting dizzy
and sick on the summit ridge and we decided to bail, from below the
summit block. It was about 3pm. (5 hours on rock)
Scramble SW down to sandy high country. Then start to head N and NW
back to ridge and you can see the descent back to the lake. By this
point, I could barely walk, and was feeling incredibly shitty. Either
dehydration or AMS. We downclimbed a bunch of 3rd classy stuff until
we encountered a nasty icy snow finger. We decided to rap across
this. Sharif set up the rap and handled the ropes expertly, while I
clipped myself in to the anchor, tried to pass out but only succeeded
in vomiting all over the rap station. I felt like absolute shit at
this point. I motivated finally to go, and rapped down. We made the
camp and Sharif forced me to hydrate. It was about 5:30. The rap and
my feeble state had made for slow going on the descent. He packed the
lion's share of the gear and we took off, racing the sunset. We hit a
decent trail right around darkness (7ish) and knew we'd make it. I
was feeling a little better, but not much. We hammered out the trail
under headlamps -- it seemed endless in the darkness. Finally we made
the car, around 9ish. By 10 we were back in Bishop and I was eating
Big Macs at McDonalds. I'm guessing I had AMS, because as soon as we
dropped elevation I felt _much_ better. Scary.
* two 9mm ropes
* Medium/Big Rack
1 set stoppers
hexes 4 - 8
Camalots to #4 (7 or 8 total) (leave the #4)
one ice tool each
Wow. Another really nice climb. Solo. I guess I felt I had to
go back after the last (nearly dangerous) experience with the spire.
Same as N. Buttress. 2 hours this time. After crossing marshy meadow,
stay left in brushy area. Good trail here. This deposits you at base
of talus field (see above). At this point, work to right side of gully
2 hours up, 2 down. From Dade lake go up talus, heading left towards the
NE ridge. Early, staying on left of ridge is much easier (dirtier too).
Ridge becomes more defined. I stopped and switched to rock shoes. It
is classic to stay on ridge crest, but many seem to stay left here too.
Eventually it meets the N. Buttress route. Classic exposure and solid
rock on these 3 or so pitches to summit block. Skipped the block again.
Similar to above, but not needing to head back towards snowfield to pick
up discarded axes, I could avoid the snowfinger and head more straight
back towards the lake. This is actually pretty fast because you're on
slabs rather than talus.
Rock shoes, trekking poles
3 hours. Follow trail to Lamark col, when you reach a flat area w/
stream (water!) at approx 12,240+ head NW to the ridge heading NE from
Lamark (head for high point on right). From here, drop down dirty-ass
gully for about 400 ft to talus. Traverse nasty talus to snow and
There are harder and noisier gullies accross the glacier on the right.
I climbed an easy, wide gully that ends 600 ft below the summit. It has
several fingers at top, I stayed right. Neve and water ice -- about
1000 feet. Huge suncups. 2 hours.
Motor down easy ridge back to the flat area (above). 2 hours.
Crampons, one ice tool
3 hours. There are some bivi sites at far end of 3rd lake. The tarns
behind 3rd lake were all dry -- got water from a feeder stream between
crag and 3rd lake.
One hour up talus. It is better to stay far left, on sandy colored
talus (w/ some veg) than going straight up talus. One hour across
(hard) snow/ice to ledges of death. We simul climbed for about 2
hours from ledge, never more than 5.4. Rock decent. As you approach
the 1st gendarme, do not be confused: continue until you are nearly on
top of it (less than 30 ft below) and then do a weird 5.6 traverse
around the right. I went right about a pitch early and ended in a
horrible, loose, dark, dank alcove below the notch. We tried to climb
directly to notch (shitloads of bail gear should have sent us
packing). Sharif made a valiant attempt to aid out of it. I
shivered, he yelled. After a while, he came down and headed back up
and left over marginal rock to get back on the ridge. Then the
traverse. The shortness of day meant that we had no room for mistakes
like this and having just reached the beginning of the "real" climbing
at about 1pm, we didn't think we'd get up and off before dark.
From the notch, we decided to bail down into the gully on the left.
It took about 10 double rope raps to reach the ground. Note: the
guidebooks sandbag the early part of this climb, calling it "several"
pitches. Getting to the first gendarme is more like 8 pitches. You
cover approximately half the altitude of the climb (guessing as much
as 800 feet of vertical). These pitches are not hard -- they are easy
to simul climb, it's just that if you're thinking "several pitches
then traverse", you're likely to traverse too early, like we did...).
The bail route is _not_ fixed, also as reported by the book. Lesson:
don't believe the book, believe your eyes. Bring lots of slings. The
rest was standard (from the lake to car).
Same as Bear Ck Spire N. Buttress
2 hours. Head towards Mono pass to (dry) lake above Ruby lake.
Drop down and climb towards prominent talus fan. Many routes seem to
lead upwards but we chose a ledge system heading left (becomes more
obvious higher up fan) which traverses left and up into shallow
gully. Class 4, wet, snow. Cross plateau.
Never got on it. We'd had a foot of snow a week earlier and it hadn't
melted much. The first part of ridge seems blocky rather than sharp
(much snow), and the notches seem to be really dirty/nasty. I don't know
if this is such a classic climb. Maybe the rock improves...
Similar, but there is an easier, class 3 system heading back into the
prominent gully. Had to do 3 very dicey raps in deep snow and ice to
get down to fan. One shitty block, one chockstone, one rounded horn.
Light rack, single 60M rope.
Never needed it except to escape...
This climb is a testament to flaring cracks. Hateful. The fact that
we could see the crack system clearly from the road (and it looked
wide from there) should have told us something.
Cross road, over brush, up talus, up class 4 ridges, leges. Better to
head up right side? We headed up left and had to do an extra class 5
pitch to get to starting ledges...
- Easy class 5
- Easy class 5 (short) to reach starting ledges
- 5.9 Flaring crack to bush belay below roof.
- Roof pitch. Two cracks reach roof; take the left one. There are
two cracks in roof; take the left one. Wow. What a grunt. 5.9?
Belay at bush off to right.
- 5.7-8 flare (harder down low) to ledge and tree belay.
- climbed flake system over around small roof trending right. Easy
and fun at start until it gets really really really wide. I backed
off over 30 feet above my last #4 camalot (the flake was becoming a 10
inch, flaring crack). Possibly could have placed a tiny horizonatal
cam here, done 15 more feet of ok climbing until the flare got out of
control with no belay in sight. Other option was to head out right
(face climbing) and try to join a bolted route. Long way, though.
I think that taking this flake was wrong from the start, heading left
up into dihedral seems better, but it was getting late, so we bailed.
6 shitty double rope raps off of creaky bushes.
1 set stoppers
double cams 1-3, 1x3.5, 1x4 (camalots)
double on sub-1 camalots too.
two ropes (one is manageable)
Here's a hazy topo for anyone who wants to try it...