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Southeast Face of Clyde Minaret

Original Post
Dave Bjerk · · Claremont/Truckee CA · Joined Aug 2019 · Points: 0

I've found posts like this useful in the past, so I'm trying to upload some myself.

Headed to Mammoth area in mid-August a few years back to climb Southeast face of Clyde Minaret. Super awesome to look at from afar (though some forest fire smoke did some obscuring).

Really a cool hike in. You take the bus down then start hiking through some really awesome country. Cool little water bridge.
Hiked on a good trail to Minaret Lake, then followed a bit of a more scrappy use trail up to Cecile Lake on the bench above and made camp. Quite an awesome spot. Just great great Sierra awesomeness.
From here, route is pretty clear. Big face on the left hand side of the formation. It looks big from below (because it is).

Scrambling up to the route is mostly straightforward. Probably snow through early summer, but we were able to avoid it all in mid-August up to the base of the climb. There are a couple of different start options. We took the 5.7ish option around the left-side of the toe. I'd say it was kinda shitty. You climb up and traverse right to the main face. But lots of big loose rocks. Once on the face, the rock got better, but not the solid Sierra granite of some other classic climbs. The shot below is on one of the early pitches (maybe even pitch 2?). While the rock quality was mixed, the setting was terrific.
At some point around here, we hit a pretty awesome pretty steep splitter hand crack. Probably 5.7/5.8 range, but in the crazy high alpine setting it felt pretty cool. A couple more pitches up, we hit the traverse right. It was not clear at all. Climbing was easy, but it took a lot of looking around and moving around. I can't quite remember how I figured out I was on route for the belay before the 5.8 traverse, but I did. My memory is that you'll know it when you get to a ledge before a blankish section of wall before a big left-facing corner. Below is Justin moving from the 5.8 traverse into the corner after this belay.
After that, there is some steepish climbing up to a platform. Then, the best rock and one of the better pitches of the climb follow up the corner above. Again in the 5.8 range.
After that, my memory is that some more loose rock awaited. Indeed, at one point I remember passing a little tower of 6 inch rocks somehow standing on top of each other. I really worried that just my rope could knock them over on my partner. We eventually made it off the face, but then there was another couple hundred feet of low fifth class traversing to get up to the summit area.
Summit was cool. We hung out for a minute, had a bite to eat, and put on our regular shoes for decent.
 Like a lot of Sierra climbs, the descent sucked. Essentially we traversed north along the ridge until we got to a place that looked feasible to downclimb. It was really steep though, and really full of loose rock. Indeed, in one of my scarier mountain experiences, my partner Justin was below me when I dislodged a basketball sized rock. I yelled "rock", and Justin ducked his head. The rock appeared to hit him full on his back. Time slowed and I thought he'd just peel off the mountain and fall to his death. However, he lifted up his head and said he was okay. His helmet was ruined, but he somehow was unscathed. We tried our best to be delicate the rest of the way down, but it was messy.

At some point we were able to turn left into a nasty looking gully.
We moved down this until we got to an impassable point and found some tat to rap off into cleft in the rock. My partner went first. When I went, I asked if he was in a safe place, then proceeded down. It was a bit like a war zone. I knocked off several big rocks which exploded below me. I was worried as hell about my partner, but he was safely tucked in a little cave. Once we got off belay, we were in a pretty safe zone, but had to battle some glacier snow. Hard to say whether bringing snow gear is worth it. We were able to essentially rap over most of the snow to solid ground. It all depends on the year though and what time of year. We made it without snow gear, but it could be difficult at other times.

Once back on the rock, we stumbled back to camp pretty beat. Big climb. The next day we hiked out, and per usual, it felt way longer than the hike in. 
Allen Sanderson · · On the road to perdition · Joined Jul 2007 · Points: 1,100

The 5.9 start is quite good. Couple of pitches. The stacked stuff above the dihedral kinda freaked me out.

Mark Frumkin · · Bishop, CA · Joined Feb 2013 · Points: 52


Fat Dad · · Los Angeles, CA · Joined Nov 2007 · Points: 60

That's a great route.  I found the most devious pitch was the one just before the traverse right into the dihedral.  Inobvious, not very well protected.  We just climbed up hoping we could string features together. The pitch above the big dihedral was a vertical jigsaw. Pretty dicey but not too hard.  Having said that, I thought the traverse into the dihedral was obvious.  Like you said, there was a nice ledge at the base of a blank wall and the base of the big dihedral out right.   

Sirius · · Oakland, CA · Joined Nov 2003 · Points: 660

Thanks for posting! Love seeing TRs.

When SuperTopo froze it was the loss of regular TRs that I missed - no better place on the web I knew of that aggregated people's climbing stories + pics. It had its heyday and was dying off by the end, but there was gold coming in there.

I wish MP would allow bigger photos in TRs, as ST did - makes a huge difference.

Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

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