Type: Trad, Alpine, 1100 ft, 7 pitches, Grade IV
FA: Vitaliy Musiyenko and Caitlin Taylor (July 19th, 2014)
Page Views: 3,328 total · 61/month
Shared By: SirTobyThe3rd on Jul 24, 2014
Admins: Chris Owen, Lurker, M. Morley, Adam Stackhouse, Salamanizer suchoski, Justin Johnsen, Vicki Schwantes

You & This Route

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Approach: It would be very difficult to get lost on this approach, since it follows the well marked and maintained Rae Lakes Loop trail for 90% of the way. Other 10% of it is very straight forward cross country towards the obvious Arête. Start from the Road’s End parking area and follow a well maintained trail towards Bubbs Creek/Paradise Valley. After about two miles, take a left turn and hike North towards Paradise Valley. If you find yourself on steep switchbacks going towards Bubbs Creek, you went too far. Continue up the valley for several miles and make a right (East) turn towards Woods Creek. You will cross a bridge there and have another 3.5 miles till you reach the Castle Valley – one of the most beautiful spots in Sierra Nevada. From there, we went up to the base of the long wall that led to Castle Dome and traversed below it. Another mile of hiking and a short scramble (few class 3-4 moves) will get you to the base of the route.

Pitch 1: Start just right of the arête and traverse left under the big roof. Make a few committing stem moves on the edge of the arête and climb into the major dihedral system. Stem, jam, lay-back and face climb up the fun dihedral. Pass a bulge and continue to the top of the dihedral on easy face. Gear belay just below the tower. Good stance. 55 M 5.10a PG13

Pitch 2: Climb straight up the face and pass a fun bulge with a BD #3 cam protecting the move. Awesome face climbing here! Move a little left, place gear and traverse a bit right and up to an easier left leaning ramp. It will take you to below a massive roof. Climb over on the left side of the roof and step left around the arête. Great stance right on the edge of the arête. 40 meters - 5.7-5.8

Pitch 3: Step right from the belay and do a few mantles till you are in a right facing corner – left and right below the roof. Offset mastercam (orange/red) is nice to have before making the traverse. Traverse right under the roof, place some small gear and turn the lip. Looks intimidating but there are amazing jugs waiting. Climb straight up on fun jugs and cool face features. Pass another small bulge and belay below double cracks on the edge of the arête – another great stance with a view of your previous belay. 55 M 5.10a/b.

Pitch 4: Climb straight up the cracks and continue up and right to the big roof. I took the fun fist/hand crack variation to pass the big roof. Seems like you can go straight up or take another variation. After passing the roof I went left, to a prominent crack system. Belay on small cams. 40 M. 5.9.

Pitch 5: After all the face climbing prepare to do a few cracks! Move left from the belay and continue up in a slightly right leaning crack/dihedral system. Good stems and crack climbing in a prominent corner take you into a short chimney. BD#3 cam in the back of the chimney protects it very well. Than you get some hand jamming over a bulge and more jamming till you climb to the top of a big block. From there pass another roof. Good thin pro in the corner. Belay above the bulge, on top of a small bush from good medium cams. 55-60 M 5.9

Pitch 6: Continue up the crack, go slightly right on the easy ramp and cut left around the bulge. Take the left crack system close to the edge of the arête. Rock seemed the most solid near crystallized crack system. Go up to another overhang and crank left at the undercling. Climb left to the edge of the arête and climb up on it (fun, exposed and straight forward) till it turns into ledgy 3rd class. Alternative way is avoid traversing to the edge and climb up and over a short bulge with a dirty (but fun) fist jam. Belay when you find good gear and run out of rope. BIG ledges. 55-60 M. 5.9+

Pitch 7: Continue up on 3-4th class, move to the edge of the arête and climb up till you run out of rope. You can bypass 5th class climbing by scrambling to the right of the arête. Belay near the summit. 60M, low 5th class.


SE Arete is a very prominent feature which is easy to locate. It is basically in your face as you stare at the highest dome in the area. The feature goes from the bottom to the proper summit. Hard to miss.


Perfect rack would be a double set of cams from green alien/blue mastercam to BD#2, with a single purple mastercam, single BD#3 and a set of nuts (no need for big ones). If you have a few small to medium offset cams, take them and take out some of the pieces of similar size. They are not required, but at times nice to have.
  5.10 PG13
  5.10 PG13
Excellent route – one of the most aesthetic lines in one of the most beautiful settings in California. I think it's going to be a new moderate Sierra classic! First pitch was a little thin although pro can be found. Roof on pitch 3 is the first roof that one sees directly up and right of the belay.
Go check it out and enjoy! Sep 23, 2014
Brian Prince
morro bay, ca
  5.10c PG13
Brian Prince   morro bay, ca
  5.10c PG13
unique route and formation for sure. lots of steep hollow face climbing though. quite the bolt-free line. that said, a bolt would for sure be nice on the first pitch. I'm sure vitaliy would not mind if you wanted to add one.. pretty dicey the way it is.

pitch descriptions seem convoluted but really help if you can actually memorize them to the t before heading up each pitch. definitely not always obvious where to go. Impressive FA route finding. If I had to add one detail, it would be to just head straight up on pitch 3 and not mess with that traverse and roof.

DESCENT (since it is not mentioned): the steep gulley immediately east (right) of the route is a very straightforward, quick, and scenic descent that doesn't require any rapping. Even though it's further from a camp in Castle Meadow, I'd also recommend approaching this way.

It's possible to approach this area from the east, although i'm not sure I'd recommend it.

The route actually starts in a notch halfway up the southeast arete. A direct line could be added and there were some nice looking cracks there. See photo in main page. Dec 10, 2017