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Temple Crag. The approach for Venusian Blind and M...
Venusian Blind is another of the great, adventurous arete climbs on Temple Crag. Depending on your climbing tastes and personal experience on the route, this may be a dream climb or a nervous adventure bordering on epic. For my wife and I, it was a little of both as a 3 foot square block she was standing on ripped off the wall while leading the first roped pitch, nearly bringing a quick demise to both of us.
Venusian shares the start with Moon Goddess Arete, thus making it a good alternative if there are already parties on Moon Goddess. As seen in photos, there is one snow chute that is longer and splits the wall between Sun Ribbon Arete and Moon Goddess Arete. Climb this snowfield to a snow and rock traverse to gain the base of Venusian and Moon Goddess. The snowfield is steep enough to warrant crampons or the proper snow conditions and experience for competent parties without crampons.
Approximately 300 feet of 3rd and 4th class climbing will take you to a series of ledges where the wall steepens. It's on this terrain that Moon Goddess splits off right and Venusian goes up left. The beginning of the route is marked by a short, right facing corner where most will want to rope up.
From here the climb ascends the arete for several pitches, sometimes climbing left or right from the arete proper. Depending on rope length and how you piece pitches together, it seems you can do this route in as few as five or six pitches with some simul-climbing, or up to 11 pitches from the end of the 3rd and 4th class climbing.
There appeared to be many options and even with careful scrutiny of the topo, we found ourselves off route, but never in dangerous climbing or difficulty. There are a couple of impasses of note. First, if done pitch by pitch according to SuperTopo, you can go left or right around the arete on pitch 7. Left is reportedly the best way but we went right because it seemed more obvious and it was clean and straight forward. At the 10th pitch, you top out on a small tower and then encounter a 25 foot traverse across a notch with no protection on precariously stacked blocks. A short downclimb is required to get into the notch. On the other side of the notch is a pitch with a couple of fixed pins, thus providing assurance that you're on route. At the top of this pitch is a hidden anchor on the left side of the arete, facing the gully. You can rappel 60 feeet from here into the gully and climb 3rd and 4th class for 20 minutes to the summit plateau. Or, you can continue on the arete for a few more pitches to the top.
To descend, go east on a climbers' trail towards Contact Pass. The trail eventually turns into 3rd class above the pass and then steepens to 4th and 5th class where most climbers rappel 80 feet from slings to the pass. From here, rock slide and glissade back to the lakes.
Overall, this route seemed relatively quick and easy. Alpine rock climbing skills including route-finding ability, being comfortable on fragile rock and the ability to move fast are probably necessary. Hence, it's not the first alpine climb you would want to go on but it's a worthy outing for an experienced rock alpinist.
Venusian Blind climbs the arete left of Moon Goddess Arete, sharing the same start.
Standard alpine rack of stoppers and cams up to 2" and many slings.
The short, right-facing corner that marks the star...
The prominent notch high on Venusian Blind in whic...
The delicate block dance on Venusian Blind.
Following on Venusian Blind. This pitch ends with...
Sitting in the notch after exposed traverse
Jason Shibata on the easy 5th class simul to the b...
Exposure, baby! pitch 13 at the 4' gap. (photo: s....
Pitch 6. Look closely, you'll see me in there set...
Pitch 10-11, belay from pins. Can you see the rope...
BETA PHOTO: the route
hence the name
Miguel on easy terrain
Miguel cursing the slightly loose variation we too...
Escaping the crowded 3rd belay. Note: this was a ...
Miguel downclimbing one of the many towers
Miguel on one of the final slab pitches.
BETA PHOTO: Temple-Galey-Sill traverse & the Palisades
Descending to Contact Pass
BETA PHOTO: The final obstacle: Contact Crack downclimb (reall...
visiting climbers from Montana & SLC on one of the...
following the 5.7 pitch
looking S/SE to the Palisades
|Comments on Venusian Blind
From: Oakland CA
Jul 15, 2008
Terrific route. 90% of the climbing is 5.4 or easier, much 4th class. All the bits of .7 are short and have good pro.
We took an alpine rack of 7 cams and 7 stoppers which was totally adequate. Nothing bigger than a #2 camalot necessary.
Our time on the route, pitching it out with a 60m rope was 4.5 hours at a mellow pace.
Be sure to tag the summit once you get to the top of the route, which is about another 30 min or so of talus scrambling.
|By Pete Hickman|
From: Tacoma, WA
Aug 16, 2008
The scramble up from the snow around to the start of the route was much harder to figure than I anticipated. Not finding it, we ended up off route in gullies the whole climb on constantly loose rock. Make sure you know how to identify the start of the route. Stop at second lake and scope the route since you can't really see it from third lake. There is a rap anchor (slings) above a gully as you traverse around to the start of the route. Don't be fooled by the additional anchor (slings and nuts) at the bottom of the short rap into the gully. Keep moving to the short right facing corner and you should be on track. Great climb. We woke up at 3am at third lake and bailed off of the anchor at pitch ten at 7:30pm and didn't get back to camp until 12:30am. A route finding disaster!
Apr 15, 2009
Although the climbing on the Venusian is relatively easy, you shouldn't take the routes on Temple too lightly. An "Accidents in N American Mountaneering" a few years back described an incident where a young woman who'd been soloing routes of similar length and difficulty elsewhere in the Sierra (e.g. Cathedral Peak) fell to her death soloing this very route. The speculation was she wasn't familiar with the more fickle nature of the rock and trickier nature of the routes in this area. Temple Crag is hardly a "crag", it's a mountain for sure.
|By Bill Kelly|
From: Lake Tahoe
Aug 1, 2009
Reminder: Since opportunities abound on this route to set up belays out of the way of rockfall (e.g., from rope drag or from the leader or from rope whip in the case of leader fall), it makes sense to take advantage of them.
From: Prescott, AZ
Oct 17, 2009
Great route. Not much loose rock by alpine standards. Pitch for pitch, I prefer this route to Moon Goddess. Don't underestimate Temple Crag- the descent is not something you want to do in the dark if you haven't been there before.
|By Chris Owen|
From: La Crescenta and Big Bear Lake
Feb 8, 2010
rating: 5.7 PG13
Preferred Moon Goddess to this route. We were probably off route but..there was one steep mid class 5 pitch about halfway up the route that was an absolute house of cards, very large loose flakes everywhere just waiting to be pulled on by the inattentive leader.
From: Eldorado Springs, CO
Aug 23, 2010
Moon Goddess is a better route hands down. Unlike Mt Goode the loose rock on Temple is largely avoidable. It's an alpine route; there's going to be some loose rock.
|By Justin Tomlinson|
From: Monrovia, CA
Jan 28, 2012
An historical perspective, this route (as well as Moon Goddess) was rated III, 5.6 in Steve Roper's "Climber's Guide to the High Sierra" in 1976.
|By Justin York|
From: Phoenix, AZ
Mar 18, 2012
I was surprised how good this route was. Did it the day after Sun Ribbon, and I have to admit, I think I enjoyed it more. The rock is of amazing quality, and the climbing is really fun and casual. We did it in 3 long pitches of simulclimbing, finishing in a few hours. So much fun. Do it!
Aug 13, 2012
I soloed this; it took maybe 1.5 hours. Michael Schneiter's beta is good, but I managed either to downclimb or bypass the Ibrium Tower (no idea where that traverse is). Excellent rock; what is loose is easy to avoid. The best climbing (and rock) is almost always on the arÍte. And those scary-looking towers always have easy ways off the back-- near the top I did maybe 3 5.8 moves to get off the last tower. Ignore Supertopo-- just stick to the arÍte andnyou'll have a great time!