Elevation: 7,300 ft
GPS: 37.813, -119.108 Google Map · Climbing Area Map
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Shared By: kenr on Aug 8, 2016
Admins: Aron Quiter, Euan Cameron, AWinters, M. Morley, Adam Stackhouse, Salamanizer suchoski, Justin Johnsen, Vicki Schwantes
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Variety of routes on interesting featured granite, most in the 70-130 ft range.
Some multi-pitch possibilities, but the bigger "adventure" routes usually include sections of non-difficulty scrambling.

This crag is big: almost 1000 feet wide.
Most sectors are WSW-facing, but the (farther) Grimsel sectors are more NW-facing.

As of August 2016, several sectors are fully open for development, with no routes known so far. Pretty much all the sectors have parts open for more more routes at a variety of difficulty grades.

Top-Roping? Several opportunities to reach the top of the first pitches with easier climbing or scrambling.

warning: The rock in this area has not been climbed much yet, and much of the rock is still breakable and loose -- so the belayer and other people should stand far away from underneath the climber.

"Rush" name is for Rush Creek, which must be crossed to reach the rock, which is critical for the history of the climbing, and which is the special view from getting up on the cliff.

Names of sectors: The sectors of the main face are named for Californians who made contributions to climbing and backcountry skiing on the Eastside Sierra or for the world. For the North end, the June Lake Loop is sometimes thought of as a little visit to Switzerland, so those sectors are named after granite areas in Switzerland.

Getting There

. . (note that this section of the June Lake Loop road / SR 158 is often closed during winter and early spring. So if you're not sure, check before you drive).

Driving from South: rt 395 North 14.7 miles from Mammoth Lakes exit (or 54 miles N from Bishop). At June Lake junction (gas / convenience store), turn Left (SW) onto rt 158 June Lake Loop and go 9.4 miles (later curving NW then NNE). Along the way pass by June Lake (swimming beach) and through village above Gull Lake with shops, then many curves downhill, then past Silver Lake and Aerie Crag.
. . (to avoid village traffic and see more climbing opps, after 1 mile turn R for Oh Ridge and swimming onto North Shore Rd).
Parking find pull-outs on right in wooded section on slight uphill (2nd pull-out smaller N gives shorter hike). If you reach the Grant Lake Overlook you went too far.
Time driving about half hour 27 miles from Mammoth town main traffic light (or a bit more than an hour 63 miles from Bishop).

Driving from North: rt 396 South 4.3 miles from rt 120 Tioga junction by Lee Vining and Mono Lake. At sign for June Lake loop, turn Right (SW) onto rt 158 and go 6.75 miles, passing by Grant Lake.
Parking find pull-outs just past Grant Lake Overlook on left side in wooded section on slight downhill (1st pull-out smaller N gives shorter hike). If you reach Aerie Crag you went too far.
Time driving about 14 minutes for 11 miles from Tioga junction.

Parking (GPS approx latitude longitude N37.8110 W119.1100) is two pull-outs on East side of wooded section of June Lake Loop road, about 2.3 miles North from the store and bridge at the N end of Silver Lake. Or about 0.15 mile / 250 yards South from the Grant Lake overlook. Smaller pull-out north gives shorter hike.

Hiking approach (8-15 minutes) : see Map | see overview Photo :
From the smaller north pull-out for Parking ... Drop down short steep, then East about 60 feet to a vague unmarked trail. Turn Right (S) onto this about 20 feet over a log. Next turn Left off that trail, and walk 120 feet E to another unmarked trail. Straight across that and immediately diagonal left to reach a "bridge" of four large fallen trees across Rush Creek -- GPS approx latitude longitude (N37.8108 W119.1093). Cross this log bridge.
careful after a cold night: Some of the logs might have patches of invisible ice on them from sprayed creek water freezing. Might want to use micro-spikes (or crampons) -- or try the other approach below instead.

Next from the E side of the log bridge, at first go NE 15-25 feet, then walk E about 65 feet through forest, then up a short steep embankment, and start going Left in the upper half of the steep, emerge onto flat. (Note carefully the appearance of the trees and other features here, so you can find it again on return).

Next walk NNE about 500 feet on trail across sagebrush (passing a few feet W of chopped-off power pole at N37.8115 W119.1085) until reach point (N37.8120 W119.1080). Then turn Right on trail and soon leave the sagebrush and enter forest -- about 150 feet East meet the base of the rock wall of sector 7 Hill (N37.8120 W119.1074). For sectors 1-6 and Grimsel turn left and hike N parallel to the base of the cliffs. For sectors 8-9 turn right and hike up steep on dirt and grass and rocks.

. . Total hiking +135 vertical feet over 0.21 mile distance. Typical range of times 7-14 minutes to sector 7 Hill, then more to reach desired sector.

. . (alt start from Southern pull-out (N37.8095 W119.1098): From the larger Parking, walk N on trail and Left at first fork, after 325 feet turn off R onto vague track and ENE 100 feet to log bridge. Or simpler is to go right at first fork, soon need to clamber over large tree trunk, then continue N along creek to reach the log bridge).

Sectors 8-9 alternate (9-18 minutes): For a shorter way (with a little scrambling) to reach these higher south sectors, see the description page for sector 8 Dostie. (Key point: When go up short steep embankment, in its upper section continue trending Right up to flat).

Wading / hiking approach (8-14 minutes) : see Map | see overview Photo :
At times of low water flow in Rush Creek, it is often possible to hike to the crag starting from parking near the Grant Lake Overlook. Offers a faster way to reach sector 1 Farquhar or the north-side Grimsel sectors.

This requires immersing feet into flowing water and/or mud (or ice?). Rubber-soled sandals and hiking poles recommended. If any doubt about the security of the flow and wading, it's not worth injury or drowning or wrecking phones by immersion - (can use the log bridge instead, though there are water flow or icing conditions where that way might be unsafe also).

The shortest distance is by crossing near some obvious rocks (N37.8150 W119.1107), but the creek is narrower + deeper here, so need to step on the tops of some of the rocks -- some of which are often under water or have slippery moss - (why hiking poles + rubber soles are recommmended).
If the water flows

GPS tracks for hiking/scrambling approaches -- view (or download) on
- - > this Map of the Rush crag

66 Total Climbs

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Classic Climbing Routes at Rush

Mountain Project's determination of the classic, most popular, highest rated climbing routes in this area.
5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c
Southeast Crack
5.10c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b
Good Vibes
5.10d 6b+ 21 VII+ 21 E3 5b
Head Rush
Route Name Location Star Rating Difficulty Date
Southeast Crack 9-Chouinard
5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c Trad
Good Vibes 9-Chouinard
5.10c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b Trad
Head Rush 7-Hill
5.10d 6b+ 21 VII+ 21 E3 5b Sport
More Classic Climbs in Rush »

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Mammoth Lakes, CA
davefaus   Mammoth Lakes, CA
Many eastside rock climbers believe in order to claim FA of a route it must be climbed on lead. Thanks for exploring this area and providing beta for everyone. Have fun out there! Nov 6, 2016
First Ascent: Where I have put a route description page on MP and given credit for a Top-Rope FA ...
As soon as someone Leads the route and notifies me by sending a message to my MP account -- or by posting a Comment on the MP description page for that route -- I will gladly give them credit on that MP description page for the Lead First Ascent.
. . Even better if include what the Protection was like, and what Name should be given to the route.

. . (What other people do who put up route pages on MP with a Top-Rope ascent claim will do with their page when notified that someone led their route -- that's their problem).

Ken Nov 6, 2016
Thanks for raising this. It stimulates thought ...

a) Difficulty rating: When I give a Top-Rope FA on one of my route decription pages, it means that somebody successfully climbed all the sequences on that route, and told me what they felt the level of difficulty was.

If I post a route description to MP showing no TR FA, that indicates that the Difficulty rating is an "estimate". For me that means that ...
Either I got each individual move, but was not strong enough to fully link one of the crux sequences: but I feel confident that a stronger climber than me (there are many such around Mammoth Bishop June) likely could.
Or I got all the moves on the climb but one: but I feel confident that a stronger climber could get that move.

Once I get a report from a climber who succeeds on every move and sequence in the route, then I will eliminate my own initial difficulty estimate.

b) Style/Ethics of route: When I give a Top-Rope FA, I am avoiding giving any presumption about what the long-term Leading style of that route should be: "tight" bolting versus "sporty" bolting versus Trad versus "mixed bolts and Trad" - (versus pure Top-Rope?).
My feeling is the long-term leading style is something for the local community to decide.

c) Currently for Rush on MP, I have one route description showing a TR FA .. where I have a suspicion that the local community might feel that it should remain unbolted for Trad leading (though of course anyone would still be free to lead with placing Trad protection if that line had bolts installed).
I set up and did the TR ascent just before Sharon and I hiked out in the dark. I haven't had time to get back again to give Sharon a chance to try it and feel what difficulty, or to decide how I might ever want to lead it.
So the future style of that route is open for others to steer.

d) Also I have three route descriptions on MP for Rush showing a TR FA ... where I with a local partner have carefully worked out and marked all the protection points, but then it was getting dark and we didn't have time left to drill the holes and place the bolts.
It's likely that I will be alone on the day that I return to install the bolts. So then we might have the amusing situation where Rush has three bolted Sport routes which are lacking a Lead first ascent.

Ken Nov 7, 2016
Russ Walling
Russ Walling   www.FishProducts.com
Holy shit Ken... Nov 7, 2016
Come on Ken. Lead these suckas. You can do it.

Thx for developing these crags and posting them here.

edit: now not so sure now about this^^^ Nov 9, 2016
Thanks for your encouragement for me to lead, but my time is limited so my priority is on just finding what's worth leading, or worth bolting, or where we could use a rappel anchor.
So just now there are some nice routes open for you to grab the FA Lead credit -- and tell the rest of us what the Protection was like -- and what Name you want to give it. Or why it should get bolts. Or how you already added bolts - (no need to wait for my approval: I'm just a Top-Roper).

Possibilities to consider for FA Trad lead ...
. . . (of course it's up to you to assess the quality of protection before going for it).
  • fun 5.6 way around north end in sector Handegg
  • interesting fun 5.7+ in sector 6 Lachenal (just added on MP yesterday)
  • interesting 5.10c in sector 4 Capucin (just added on MP yesterday after I did it TR rope-solo).
  • short sweet 5.10c/d in sector 8 Cosmiques
  • 40 meters tall 5.11c Methusaleh in sector 7 Midi (I didn't climb it, but Luke who did the TR FA said it was quality 11b, and he thought it might work as a Trad lead).

Another reason I'm short on time is that there's more new on the June Loop than just Rush.
You're too late for the lead FA of the arete in sector 2 Gimmelwald at the Silver Lake area.
. . (? E-facing morning warmup while waiting for sun to hit Rush rock?)

Since then I've soloed it -- pretty fun -- an "alpine" ridge just 10 minute hike up from the road, goes up to a marvelous view.
. . (Really I'd rather solo than lead).

Open now for your FA lead, after I did it rope-solo TR just this afternoon:
  • big dihedral 5.7+ in Silver Lake sector 4 Bramois.

Quartzite: hard metamorphic rock with abundant holds.
From the road those cliffs west above Silver Lake look like slabs (and most are), but this open book is sustained full vertical.
Hint: might want to first do more cleaning of the moss on rappel before attempting the Lead. So far I cleaned off (at least) enough to expose the holds I needed for my climbing pattern.

Have fun leading, and send me message thru MP to get public credit for your FA -- or just post a Comment on the MP description page for that route.

Ken Nov 9, 2016
Milestone for Rush on MP:
We now have at least one route public on MP for each sector of the crag.

There are still several routes both Sport + Trad visible on the crag, "secret" from before Rush was made public on MP, which are shown in the MP sector photos -- but have no route description page public on MP because:
a) the FA party has not yet taken credit publicly for it.
b) nobody else who knows enough about the route has taken the time to post an MP page for it.
c) I do not know at least the Difficulty of the route (either because I have not yet tried to climb it, or because no one else who tried to climb it has told me). Since if I did have a decent clue about the Difficulty of a line shown on a photo (or whose location and length is otherwise known), then I would create an MP description page for it.

So how about let's now start getting out some helpful public info (and public credit) for those "secret" routes.

Ken Nov 9, 2016