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Routes in The Citadel

Edge of Time Arete T 5.10+ 6b+ 21 VII+ 20 E3 5b
Quality Time T 5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b
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Type: Trad, Alpine, 2000 ft, 14 pitches, Grade IV
FA: Dave Nettle and Jim Howle, early 1990s
Page Views: 8,392 total · 56/month
Shared By: rocky233 on Jul 19, 2006
Admins: Chris Owen, Lurker, M. Morley, Adam Stackhouse, Salamanizer suchoski, Justin Johnsen, Vicki Schwantes

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Description

Edge of Time follows the northeast arete and is long and sustained. It offers classic alpine climbing in a superb setting. A major issue in climbing this route is crossing the Kings River. If you go too early the river may not be crossable.

Find the start by looking up for the big tree at the top of pitch 3. There is a left facing dihedral at the bottom that you will have to do a few moves to get into. Start down and about 10 feet right of that dihedral depending on snow level. We had no snow.

P1 Go about 150 feet. If the climbing gets thin and hard you have gone up the dihedral too far. Belay in a small alcove about 15 feet below a small dike traverse right. The traverse is right below the flake system that you will take on pitch 2. Maybe 5.8
P2. Few moves right pro with a yellow alien or similar size. Up flakes to big ledge/gully that angles up and right. 5.8 and fun.
P3. Go right up the gully to the end, and climb the flake system above. Trend back left to the big pine tree on the ledge. Maybe 5.8
P3.5. Move belay up and left to a small tree about 60 feet away, directly under the obvious 10a roof section, which is about 120 feet below the big roof.
P4. Climb the 10a pitch. Fun and solid and sustained after the first 30 feet. Belay after you get through the thin greasy part over the small roof. This pitch is the start of the real business in this climb, and the rest of the pitches are very sustained.
P5. Nobody comments on this pitch, but it is quite sustained and a little sketchy. Boulder move off the belay with small gear, but gear is bomber after first 10 feet. Great moves. Belay about 15 feet under the big roof.
P6. The 5.8 traverse right around the arete is not hard, but there is no pro. It feels very sketchy until you can get some gear up by where the roof meets the arete. A whipper here would not be good. Continue up great crack climbing for 40 or 50 more feet, then traverse left to a sloping ledge. Anchor gear here is all small stuff in a horizontal crack, and not great. If you don't like that, then set the hanging belay at the top of the crack before you traverse left to the ledge.
P7. We went down about 10 feet and left off the ledge to get around the arete. Then up for 200 feet trending slightly left over a loose roof block section. I missed the dike/flake traverse back right that is described in other descriptions. We belayed at a big alcove at the bottom of a right facing dihedral, with the crux roof about 50 feet up and right of us. We thought this was better than the description of the standard way, which has a hanging belay around loose blocks.
P8. Up and right across an improbably looking dike. Pro in the middle with a small piece. Reach right to the 5.8 crack system, and head up through the awesome roof.
P9. 5.9 seems like a sandbag for the start of this pitch through the roof traverse. The pro is sparse and small, and it is thin and full of lichen. The actual traverse under the roof felt about 10b. The climbing up the left facing dihedral after that was great and sustained at maybe 5.8 or 5.9. Belay at the sloping ledge.
P10. Go 7 feet up to the small ledge above the sloping ledge and set pro, Then step down and right around the corner to a small alcove. Trouser wetting moves. Climb the crack on the right side of the alcove and it turns into a dihedral. Awesome pitch of sustained climbing. Could be 5.9, but felt like 10a through some of the bulges.
P11. It starts to break up here. We had a 70m rope, so we tried to make these last pitches long. Stay on the right side of the arete through some broken up climbing until you reach a notch looking down a giant face on the left.
P12. Go a little right to a green dihedral on the right side of the arete. Climb up that, and move out right at the top of it. Then left back to the arete. Continue up just on the right side of the arete through some very fun 5.7 or 5.8. Get a little taste of wide crack on the big flake. We belayed under the small roof after the wide crack flake.
P13. Short pitch. Up over the roof at maybe 5.6 or 5.7 and continue up to the top.

Scramble over to the summit about 300 feet away. Then go down past the small bivy spot, then right and down into the loose crappy gully. Trend down and left, then over a small ridge and continue down and left. Come to a rib that cliffs out.. Rap down one or two raps into the left gully and scramble down to the river below the lake.

Location

This route is on The Citadel's north face and follows the left most arete (northeast arete).

Protection

No bolts, No pitons. Trad gear from small to 3.5"

Double set from small alien to yellow camalot. Single 3 and 4 cam. Offset nuts useful. 70m rope was useful too. Dozen sling draws and a couple double length runners.
Chris Owen
Big Bear Lake
Chris Owen   Big Bear Lake  
Thanks for sharing the link - lots of great info and pictures, plus a downloadable PDF topo. Jul 28, 2006
First ascent by Dave Nettle and Jim Howle in the early 90's, impressively done in a push to and from Tahoe. May 31, 2009
fossana
leeds, ut
 
fossana   leeds, ut
 
This is not your typical High Sierra route. Many of the pitches are sustained for the grade. Given the lack of traffic the route is heavily vegetated with a large amount of lichen.

approach. We went in early Sep 2011 (a big snow year). The river crossings weren't too bad. I didn't feel like hunting for an optimal dry crossing so the best option for me was wading. We were able to access the route without crampons/ice axe by scrambling up the bergshrund.

descent. We took the gully directly from the summit that points directly toward Ladder Lake, contouring climber's right when it got difficult. With some down-climbing we only had to do one 100 ft rap.

NOTES ON THE ART MESSIER TOPO:

p4. The 10a crack marked here is harder than 10a (harder than the crux IMHO). Not sure if the original intent on the FA was to climb the thin crack in the dihedral. There's also a thin hands (for me) crack on the arete.

p5. Not really a pitch. It's ~30 ft of dihedral leading up to the roof.

p9. The pro was marginal getting up to the roof, but you can protect the thin traverse under the roof with a purple TCU.

p10. This is in the written description, but confusing from the topo. From the large sloping belay ledge step down and traverse right to reach the 5.9/9 crack.

As noted expect the rope lengths to be off. Otherwise the topo was quite helpful. Sep 5, 2011
limpingcrab
Visalia, CA
limpingcrab   Visalia, CA
I don't know if it's just my computer, but the link doesn't open anymore. It's on my to-do list for the summer so I could really use that PDF! Thanks! Mar 1, 2012
fossana
leeds, ut
 
fossana   leeds, ut
 
I can't get to it either. Let me dig around and see if I saved a copy.

update:
Sorry, I checked my old laptop and backups. I didn't save the TR or topo. Also tried pulling up a cached copy from Google with no luck.

update 2:
There is a topo in Moynier & Fiddler at least in the 1993 version. Apr 9, 2012
Very big day to do car-to-car. The climbing is good, and sustained. There is a really good variation to go left from the top of the pillar (pitch 10); we put those beta details and some others in our TR here. pullharder.org/2012/06/14/a… Jun 14, 2012
Fixius
Sherman Oaks, California
Fixius   Sherman Oaks, California
a Oct 9, 2013
I have a copy of the Art Messier trip report and topo if anyone wants it. Just send me a message.

Did this route last weekend. Found it to be very high quality, and it is very hard to compare to any other route I have done. The commitment factor seemed higher than anything else on the East Side with the overall remoteness, very sustained climbing with lots of lichen, and a somewhat sketchy descent. For example, the S. Face of Conness and Dark Star feel easier and less committing overall. It was awesome! Dave Nettle and Jim Howle are immortalized by putting up this route in the fashion they did.

Here is some additional beta that might help:
Find the start by looking up for the big tree at the top of pitch 3. There is a left facing dihedral at the bottom that you will have to do a few moves to get into. Start down and about 10 feet right of that dihedral depending on snow level. We had no snow.
P1 Go about 150 feet. If the climbing gets thin and hard you have gone up the dihedral too far. Belay in a small alcove about 15 feet below a small dike traverse right. The traverse is right below the flake system that you will take on pitch 2. Maybe 5.8
P2. Few moves right pro with a yellow alien or similar size. Up flakes to big ledge/gully that angles up and right. 5.8 and fun.
P3. Go right up the gully to the end, and climb the flake system above. Trend back left to the big pine tree on the ledge. Maybe 5.8
P3.5. Move belay up and left to a small tree about 60 feet away, directly under the obvious 10a roof section, which is about 120 feet below the big roof.
P4. Climb the 10a pitch. Fun and solid and sustained after the first 30 feet. Belay after you get through the thin greasy part over the small roof. This pitch is the start of the real business in this climb, and the rest of the pitches are very sustained.
P5. Nobody comments on this pitch, but it is quite sustained and a little sketchy. Boulder move off the belay with small gear, but gear is bomber after first 10 feet. Great moves. Belay about 15 feet under the big roof.
P6. The 5.8 traverse right around the arete is not hard, but there is no pro. It feels very sketchy until you can get some gear up by where the roof meets the arete. A whipper here would not be good. Continue up great crack climbing for 40 or 50 more feet, then traverse left to a sloping ledge. Anchor gear here is all small stuff in a horizontal crack, and not great. If you don't like that, then set the hanging belay at the top of the crack before you traverse left to the ledge.
P7. We went down about 10 feet and left off the ledge to get around the arete. Then up for 200 feet trending slightly left over a loose roof block section. I missed the dike/flake traverse back right that is described in other descriptions. We belayed at a big alcove at the bottom of a right facing dihedral, with the crux roof about 50 feet up and right of us. We thought this was better than the description of the standard way, which has a hanging belay around loose blocks.
P8. Up and right across an improbably looking dike. Pro in the middle with a small piece. Reach right to the 5.8 crack system, and head up through the awesome roof.
P9. 5.9 seems like a sandbag for the start of this pitch through the roof traverse. The pro is sparse and small, and it is thin and full of lichen. The actual traverse under the roof felt about 10b. The climbing up the left facing dihedral after that was great and sustained at maybe 5.8 or 5.9. Belay at the sloping ledge.
P10. Go 7 feet up to the small ledge above the sloping ledge and set pro, Then step down and right around the corner to a small alcove. Trouser wetting moves. Climb the crack on the right side of the alcove and it turns into a dihedral. Awesome pitch of sustained climbing. Could be 5.9, but felt like 10a through some of the bulges.
P11. It starts to break up here. We had a 70m rope, so we tried to make these last pitches long. Stay on the right side of the arete through some broken up climbing until you reach a notch looking down a giant face on the left.
P12. Go a little right to a green dihedral on the right side of the arete. Climb up that, and move out right at the top of it. Then left back to the arete. Continue up just on the right side of the arete through some very fun 5.7 or 5.8. Get a little taste of wide crack on the big flake. We belayed under the small roof after the wide crack flake.
P13. Short pitch. Up over the roof at maybe 5.6 or 5.7 and continue up to the top..
Scramble over to the summit about 300 feet away. Then go down past the small bivy spot, then right and down into the loose crappy gully. Trend down and left, then over a small ridge and continue down and left. Come to a rib that cliffs out.. Rap down one or two raps into the left gully and scramble down to the river below the lake.

Rack: Double set from small alien to yellow camalot. Single 3 and 4 cam. Offset nuts useful. 70m rope was useful too. Dozen sling draws and a couple double length runners. Sep 4, 2014
Justin Johnsen
Sacramento, CA
Justin Johnsen   Sacramento, CA  
Thanks Dusty, since Rocky hasn't been around here in years, and the original link is dead, I filled in your beta. Let me know if you want to adopt this page. Sep 9, 2014
Hey Dustysdawg, do you still have the topo for this climb? Thanks! Jul 28, 2016
I was hiking up Bishop Pass trail on Aug 10, 2018 and spoke briefly with a guy and girl (20 somethings I think) who were heading down to climb Edge of Time the next day. They seemed very competent, but next day around noon a big rain and lightning storm filled the skies in that area for several hours. Would like to know they are ok. Maybe they got their route beta from this page. Aug 15, 2018
Colin Yinzer
Los Angeles
 
Colin Yinzer   Los Angeles
 
A beautiful peak, route, and experience. Remote, long, and fairly sustained. beautiful jewel-like rock quality and lichen varieties unlike any other part of the Sierra.

Do not visit this route simply because it is 'only' rated 5.10. Although the climbing isn't always super-sustained, the runouts are fairly serious, the routefinding takes some experience, and the potential for long whippers are there. It'd be terrible to take a bad fall that deep in the woods. I wish we had brought an In-reach or similar device for this climb.

We hiked in Day 1, starting up the Bishop Pass trail around 9am, and reaching our camp/bivy at about 4:30. 7 hours. The last hour of side-hilling through bushes after you cross the Kings is a bit brutal. TIP: stay closer to the 'slabs' and the 'shorter bushes' on the schwack in. We were glad to be sleeping before attempting the route, and I think sending the day you hike-in would be a disservice, having jello-legs on the route (unless you are insanely fit)

Day 2: 60 minutes to get up the Talus / approach. All of the beta on Pitches were really on point and helpful. We brought a printed-out version of DUSTYDAWG's beta, which was great. Alex Satonik led the entire route, while I followed. Basically you scamper up to the 'bushes' / first ledge, (P1-3.5) and then dance back-and-fourth along the arete, following corners, roofs, and weaknesses (P4-p10/11) every 'traverse' matters, and some are subtle / hard to see. peek around corners and keep an open mind. We had binoculars to check the route out the day before, which was awesome & helpful.

The final pitches to the ridge were unrelenting, and we were super gassed by the time we topped out. Total time on route: 12 hrs. we did about 15-16 pitches I think. (short pitches, 70M felt nice for bail-security- though we rarely if ever used the full rope length) we had no routefinding issues, stuck ropes / cams, etc... and in general were moving well. still 12 hours.

We did have a problem finding the 'real' descent- We think maybe you want to pass the 'true' summit, and then take a gully down-- the gully we took down (before the summit) cliffed out in a big way, a few times. Its possible we missed a turn because it was dark/dusk when we started down, but we ended up doing 4 raps, two of which were free-hanging over big roofs and on marginal-ish bail gear. the last one we had to angle way west/north, to finally gain the bottom of the 'class 2' sand-gully. we hit the gully practically at the bottom. Maybe do some google-earth recon on the descent. This would have helped us.

walking back out was serious business. so much gain. I ended up walking out the night of the climb starting at 11pm, so I could be back to my wife at a decent hour Sunday. 8 hours with some naps on the ground. lots of foot blisters.

THOUGHTS:
wear shades / glacier goggles for the bushwacking, don't get dust/debris in your eyes
be mindful of the rope, & lichen on the route- again- to avoid getting lichen / dust in your eyes. the route was full-shade all day for us, so we climbed without shades. having a pair of clear-glasses might be nice. the route isnt dirty, but there is more lichen than other routes. Four stars for us, for position, remoteness, rock-quality, movement, and overall experience.

Thanks Nettle & Howle ! Sep 29, 2018

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