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Routes in Temple Crag

Barefoot Bynum T 5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b
Dark Star T 5.10c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b
Eclipsed Arete T 5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b R
Mendenhall Couloir T 4th 1 2 I 2 M 1b
Moon Goddess Arete T 5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c
Planaria T 5.10 6b 20 VII- 19 E2 5b R
Sun Ribbon Arete T 5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a
Temple, Galey, Sill Traverse T 5.7+ 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b
Venusian Blind T 5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b
Type: Trad, Alpine, 2000 ft, 18 pitches, Grade IV
FA: Carl Dreisbach, Pat Armstrong - Sept 1969
Page Views: 20,262 total · 140/month
Shared By: Chris Owen on Mar 9, 2006
Admins: Chris Owen, M. Morley, Adam Stackhouse, Salamanizer suchoski, Justin Johnsen, Vicki Schwantes

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Climbs the middle of the Celestial Aretes.

Gain the start of the climb by traversing a ledge leftwards which leads to the buttress. Scramble up for a few hundred feet to where the rock gets steeper; rope up here. Several moderate pitches lead to the first impasse, a gendarme which is bypassed on the right with a super-exposed traverse (5.7). Climb down to the base of the Ibrium Tower. A cracks lead to a platform and the second impasse below the flawless section of the Tower (5.8). Pass around to the right, very exposed, and continue to traverse (loose in parts) until cracks lead back to the top of the Tower (5.8). Continue to follow the crest of the ridge, tackling impasses (5.7 or so) until the easy back slopes of Temple Crag are reached. Hike to the summit if there's time - it's worth the view.


Descend down the back slopes of Temple Crag to steep rocks which (rappel) lead down to Contact Pass, snow or scree down from here.


Full alpine rack.


Joe Crawford
June Lake, California
Joe Crawford   June Lake, California
No where near as good as its neighbors. The climbing is only fun in short sections and the rock is much looser than anywhere on Venusian, SR or Dark Star. Aug 10, 2017
Chris Owen
Big Bear Lake
Chris Owen   Big Bear Lake  
That's the route description I used to climb the route in the 80's. Feb 2, 2013
Justin Tomlinson
Monrovia, CA
Justin Tomlinson   Monrovia, CA
An historical perspective, this route (as well as Venitian Blind) was rated III, 5.6 in Steve Roper's "Climber's Guide to the High Sierra" in 1976. Jan 28, 2012
leeds, ut
fossana   leeds, ut
Onsight soloed this last summer. Some exposure, but as with many High Sierra routes it is not sustained. Added a photo with the route annotated on Ibrium Tower. Some loose rock, but I did not find it to be particularly sketchy.

Bring a topo if it's your first time to avoid unnecessary epics. Apr 30, 2010
Chris M
Seattle, WA
Chris M   Seattle, WA
Agree with Jake here; Ibirium Tower direct cracks are the best climbing and rock on the route and make the route 5.9. This route has more loose rock than the Venusian Blind. Oct 17, 2009
When you are getting ready to traverse right around the Iberium tower, instead of traversing you can punch right up to the center of the tower. If you do these two alternative pitches you will be super stoked. They both go at 5.9 and are incredible, the first one is some kind of funky (but super fun) finger crack action, and the second is a "splitter" hand crack. This variation made the route for me, it was probably the best quality rock on the whole climb. Oct 6, 2008
Tyler Logan
Mammoth Lakes, CA
Tyler Logan   Mammoth Lakes, CA
Route-finding on the Ibrium Tower traverse is slightly tricky. Keep looking for the best place to move right, and don't go too high (although if you do, the climbing actually looks pretty good, just harder). The traverse itself is really class 4 if you take it right. The pitch leading back up to the top of the tower has some of the worst rock on the climb and there are many ways to go, some more solid than others. There is another alarmingly loose pitch leading up to the gendarme (I believe). Other than those two pitches, the rest of the climb is pretty solid. Mar 27, 2008
You are correct in your pro assessment. I usually carry double yellow and orange TCU's on these routes. Many seam type features do not hold nuts well on Temple Crag.

The double rap was down and to the right of the "best" rappel. It is extremely exposed to get to the "best" rappel but it lies right at the top of Contact Pass. I have done both ways and your way is a bit safer due to the scrambling you have to do to the "best" and also "shortest" (1 60m gets you down) rap. Mar 6, 2007
Oakland Park, Florida
Floridaputz   Oakland Park, Florida
This was a long day for a 46 year old man. Not really hard, but long. I went up the day before and cut steps with a rock on the approach snow field. The first half of the climb goes pretty quick until the first tower. This is really the first exciting pitch. The ibrium tower has a nice 5.8 crack and traverse to belay. Be careful down climbing after this to long traverse to a gully. You regain the ridge and think your almost done but you're not. One thing that stood out to me was the protection was difficult. Stoppers did not place well. I think cams are preferable. I'm saying that and I'm old school. The way this rock has faulted seems to be more of a blocky thing with parallel sided cracks. . The route ends below the summit and it's recommended to go to the top for great views. We wanted to find the Rap to contact pass before it got really dark and skipped the summit. We did a double rappel off some really manky anchors in the dark and ended up about 100ft below the pass. I believe you can get off on 1 rappel if you get to the correct spot at the pass itself. it's a tough decent in the dark. (don't forget your headlamp on this one) Aug 21, 2006