Elevation: 12,999 ft
GPS: 37.11, -118.491 Google Map · Climbing Area Map
Page Views: 99,366 total · 622/month
Shared By: Chris Owen on Mar 9, 2006
Admins: Chris Owen, Lurker, M. Morley, Adam Stackhouse, Salamanizer suchoski, Justin Johnsen, Vicki Schwantes
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This huge granite cathedral, with its flying buttresses (the Celestial Aretes, Venusian, Moon Goddess, and Sun Ribbon) on the left, and the truly awesome buttress of Dark Star in the center, is the premier long rock climbing area of the Palisades.

Getting There

From Big Pine on 395 turn west up Crocker Street (to Glacier Lodge); trailhead is signed on the right (about 10 miles).

Hike up the North Fork of Big Pine Creek past Cienega Mirth, Lon Chaney's old cabin, to First Lake, then, just past the lake cut left and head towards the far (south) side of Second Lake - this is where I camp (4.3 miles, 2,300 ft elevation gain). The base of Temple Crag can be reached by hiking up a scree slope to the west of the lake. Some people hike to Third Lake and approach the climbs from there. Some people bivouac beneath the Crag (especially useful for Dark Star).

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Classic Climbing Routes at Temple Crag

Mountain Project's determination of the classic, most popular, highest rated climbing routes in this area.
5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b
Venusian Blind
Trad, Alpine 13 pitches
5.7+ 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b
Temple, Galey, Sill Traverse
Trad, Alpine
5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c
Moon Goddess Arete
Trad, Alpine 18 pitches
5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a
Sun Ribbon Arete
Trad, Alpine 22 pitches
5.10c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b
Dark Star
Trad, Alpine 16 pitches
Route Name Location Star Rating Difficulty Date
Venusian Blind
5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b Trad, Alpine 13 pitches
Temple, Galey, Sill Traverse
5.7+ 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b Trad, Alpine
Moon Goddess Arete
5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c Trad, Alpine 18 pitches
Sun Ribbon Arete
5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a Trad, Alpine 22 pitches
Dark Star
5.10c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b Trad, Alpine 16 pitches
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Temple-Gayley-Sill traverse, c2c
trip report with photos here:
pullharder.org/2012/03/02/t… Mar 3, 2012
Chris Owen
Big Bear Lake
Chris Owen   Big Bear Lake  
Gil, dead link. Nov 8, 2012
Note on driving directions: turn onto crocker st in the town of big pine (crocker street turns into glacier lodge road, which you then follow to the end). Aug 10, 2015
Descent ...
A typical climber's descent from the summit (or its SE or E side where Venusian + Moon Goddess + Sun Ribbon reach) is ESE down talus 1200 vertical feet to Contact Pass (perhaps only 600-900 feet if skip going to the summit). Then N and NNW down more talus (with some scree and sand) toward Third Lake or Second Lake. The steepest section has a rappel not more than 26 meters just above Contact Pass. We had a 50 meter rope, so I did not have to try the other options ...

I've heard that as a climb the difficulty of this rappel line is around 5.6. I've heard of people doing the rappel with a rope less than 50 meters and down-climbing the lowest section. The topo photo on the MountainProject for Sun Ribbon says there's a class 4 way nearby. An older guidebooks says there is a 5.2 line nearby, and two class 3 ways which reach the talus about 300 feet or more south of the top of Contact Pass.

The rappel anchor (or other options) might not be easy to find in the dark. Aug 20, 2015
Chris Owen
Big Bear Lake
Chris Owen   Big Bear Lake  
I must confess I have only done the descent three times - I have never rappelled and can't remember it being hard - just needing some route-finding. Aug 20, 2015
Colin Szehner
Oakland, Ca
Colin Szehner   Oakland, Ca
Descent is relatively straight forward once you find the faint climbers trail leading down to the rappel. Keep on down climbing the talus, you will eventually come to a ledge with a fixed nut and piton that you can rappel off of. Jul 5, 2016
Brice Pollock
Oakland, CA
Brice Pollock   Oakland, CA  
Some comments on typical conditions in early July 2018 (below avg snow year) to be used as a reference:
* Mosquitos are intense anywhere in the shade / dusk starting after 2nd lake
* Boot pack was doable both on ascent and descent with crampons not necessary and ice axe as nice
* Rock fall is very common (once every three hours) in everything from head-sized stuff to a car sized chunk I saw come down the descent gulley at 8pm. Be careful if you bivy close to the wall.
* The gulley between Venusian Blind and Moon Goddess Arete has (bailing) rappel stations for a single rope all the way to the start of the climb (where the two split off from another). Rap stations typically have multiple slings but often slings show a lot of sun fading. Jul 4, 2018