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Bear Creek Spire
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East Arete T 
North Arete T 
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East Arete 

YDS: 5.8 French: 5b Ewbanks: 16 UIAA: VI- ZA: 15 British: HVS 4c

   
Type:  Trad, Alpine, 22 pitches, Grade IV
Consensus:  YDS: 5.8 French: 5b Ewbanks: 16 UIAA: VI- ZA: 15 British: HVS 4c [details]
FA: Sheari Taylor and John Vawter, 1977
Page Views: 1,759
Submitted By: fossana on May 5, 2010

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Reflection of BCS, Abbot and Dade on Long Lake

Description 

History
It is possible that an indirect ascent was first made in the 1920s by Norman Clyde, Hervey Voge and David Brower, but according to Secor, the first known direct ascent was on Aug 23, 1977 by Sheari Taylor and John Vawter.

Overview and Editorial Commentary
The route is asthetic, long, and climbed infrequently. On my first attempt I found the rock to be more grainy and crumbly than the rock that is found on more popular BCS routes like the N and NE Aretes. Our nerves were rattled after having soloed half the ridge, so we rapped off early (trip report here). Four years later I returned to complete the route alone.

Route Details
Gain the ridge at one of the notches between Peppermint Peak and BCS. There are several from which to choose of varying rock quality and difficulty. Depending on your downclimbing ability and preferences you may rap some of the notches. None of the downclimbs felt harder than ~5.5. There are many ways to go, but overall the routefinding was not difficult.

Climb the narrow arete to the top of a prominent square tower (5.8). Pass a number of gendarmes on mostly class 4 rock. Above another small notch climb a steep headwall (5.8). Secor grades this section as A0. Having stared at this section I wouldn't completely disagree. It is also possible to climb the face on the right side of the tower. The rest of the ridge is picket fence type climbing. Expect a few class 5 moves but it is mostly 4th. Follow it to the summit boulder.


Location 

Approach
From Mosquito Flat trailhead take the Morgan Pass Trail at the Mono Pass junction. After Long Lake several options exist:
1) Head S x SW on the slabs E of Treasure Lakes, aiming directly for Dade Lake or
2a) Continue on Morgan Pass Trail. At ~0.25 miles from the pass take the right-hand trail toward Gem Lakes. Go right and skirt the edge of the lake and the headwall to the reach easier terrain. Hike up the slabs and talus to reach Dade Lake.
2b) My favored approach. Continue on Morgan Pass Trail. At ~0.25 miles from the pass take the right-hand trail toward Gem Lakes. Head up the talus slopes on the left edge of lake and headwall. Staying in the gullies keeps the grade modest.

Skirt the eastern shores of Dade Lake heading for the long ridge between Bear Creek Spire and Peppermint Peak. You'll pass below the start of the NE Ridge, which is a possible descent option.

Aim for a notch between BCS and Peppermint Peak. Note that there are varying options for gaining the ridge, varying in rock quality. Choose wisely.

Distance: ~6.5 miles (with ~half of it off-trail)
Estimated approach time: 2.5 to 4 hours

Descent
From the summit head back north along the ridge for less than a hundred feet, then drop down to the west for another hundred feet (class 4). Head SW down sandy slopes. Alternatively, take the NE Ridge to the base (mostly class 3-4 although you main encounter a low class 5 move or two). Aim for Dade Lake then reverse your approach to the trailhead.


Protection 

- alpine rack
- 50m or 60m single rope

note: no fixed gear or anchors (a few rap slings of varying age)



Photos of East Arete Slideshow Add Photo
notch at the top of the chimney
notch at the top of the chimney
another notch
another notch
N, NE and E Aretes
BETA PHOTO: N, NE and E Aretes
looking back on the route
looking back on the route
I aimed for the ramp system high and center.
BETA PHOTO: I aimed for the ramp system high and center.
Notch where we gained the ridge on attempt 1 (easier options exist)
BETA PHOTO: Notch where we gained the ridge on attempt 1 (easi...
crux headwall
BETA PHOTO: crux headwall
Scary, dirty, loose chimney I stupidly ascended. Stepped across to large ledge part way up.
BETA PHOTO: Scary, dirty, loose chimney I stupidly ascended. S...
looking toward Dade from the summit
looking toward Dade from the summit
Starting up the (not recommended) chimney (photo by Jascha)
Starting up the (not recommended) chimney (photo b...
looking east
looking east
Climbing out of the first notch (photo by Jascha)
Climbing out of the first notch (photo by Jascha)
one of the many spires
one of the many spires
On the ridge proper
On the ridge proper
looking east
looking east
The exposure starts
The exposure starts
one of the final towers
one of the final towers
Jascha heading up the ramp on the other side of the first major notch.
Jascha heading up the ramp on the other side of th...
descent via the NE Ridge (Dade, Treasure and Gem Lakes below)
descent via the NE Ridge (Dade, Treasure and Gem L...
The real exposure starts.
The real exposure starts.
the route
BETA PHOTO: the route
Scary slab moves on knobs (one of which broke off when I went up).
Scary slab moves on knobs (one of which broke off ...
south side of the arete
south side of the arete
Icy section (early Sep)
Icy section (early Sep)
tunnel
tunnel
Back onto the ridge
BETA PHOTO: Back onto the ridge
looking down the ramp
looking down the ramp
More towers
More towers
one of the talusy sections
one of the talusy sections
Gaining the ridge just before we bailed.
Gaining the ridge just before we bailed.
I traversed around this tower as the rock didn't look so great.
I traversed around this tower as the rock didn't l...
ice on Long Lake
ice on Long Lake
progress so far
progress so far
Spire Lake and Peppermint Peak
Spire Lake and Peppermint Peak
starting the picket fence
starting the picket fence
first portion of the E Arete
first portion of the E Arete
Sierra "class 4"
Sierra "class 4"
second portion of the E Arete
second portion of the E Arete
picket fence
picket fence
the route starts near where the dark and light rocks meet
the route starts near where the dark and light roc...
looking down the route from the summit
looking down the route from the summit
better starting option (from attempt 2)
BETA PHOTO: better starting option (from attempt 2)
E Arete from the NE Ridge
E Arete from the NE Ridge
Comments on East Arete Add Comment
Show which comments
By Chris Owen
Administrator
From: La Crescenta and Big Bear Lake
Jun 21, 2012

Thanks Michelle and congrats on soloing this route - a very impressive achievement.

By J. Albers
From: Colorado
Jun 22, 2012

Nice job with this route page, great addition to MP. Thanks.

By fossana
From: Bishop, CA
Jun 29, 2012

Thanks, Chris and J!

By Preston Rhea
From: Mammoth Lakes
Oct 25, 2013

Soloed this climb with a partner. We intended on roping up when the climbing got hard, but it never did. We avoided most difficulties to climber's right and never found the climbing harder than 5.6-5.7ish. Great long climb and a refreshing break from the line that can be the North Arete.