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Aretes of Crystal Crag direct T 
East Face, Central Gully T 
South Ridge T 
West Face T 

East Face, Central Gully 

YDS: 5.7 French: 5a Ewbanks: 15 UIAA: V+ ZA: 13 British: MVS 4b

   
Type:  Trad, Alpine, 3 pitches, 300', Grade II
Original:  YDS: 5.7 French: 5a Ewbanks: 15 UIAA: V+ ZA: 13 British: MVS 4b Mod. Snow [details]
FA: Preston Rhea - 4.10.12
Season: Winter
Page Views: 1,081
Submitted By: Preston Rhea on Dec 25, 2013

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Jared cruising up our second pitch. Our tracks up ...

Description 

The route name accurately describes the route in full: climb the central gully on the east face of Crystal Crag. Beyond the boring name and description, it is a fine winter route on a fun and easily accessible peak. The first known ascent was done in winter conditions so the route description will reflect that.

The route starts immediately with a short step of steep though blocky and moderate rock climbing (5.7). The step gives way to lower angle slabs with more of a "mixed" quality. Above the slabs the upper snowfield can be readily seen. Take a more or less straight line to the summit avoiding rock bands where needed to the south (climber's left).

Location 

The route starts in the gully immediately south (looker's left) of the Schoolboy Buttress. On the right side of the gully is the sport climb Bagpipe, an 8 bolt, 11a that follows a prominent blunt arete left of an overhanging face.

To descend, use the West Face or South Arete routes on Crystal Crag, both in the summer are rated 3rd class.

Protection 

A standard alpine rock rack should suffice. Pickets or stakes for snow protection may or may not be usable on the upper snowfield.


Photos of East Face, Central Gully Slideshow Add Photo
Rock Climbing Photo: A close-up of the start of the central gully on Cr...
A close-up of the start of the central gully on Cr...
Rock Climbing Photo: A view of the east face of Crystal Crag from a bit...
A view of the east face of Crystal Crag from a bit...
Rock Climbing Photo: A view of the east face of Crystal Crag. The route...
A view of the east face of Crystal Crag. The route...
Rock Climbing Photo: The rough line with approximate pitches marked of ...
BETA PHOTO: The rough line with approximate pitches marked of ...
Rock Climbing Photo: Crystal Crag in winter conditions.
Crystal Crag in winter conditions.

Comments on East Face, Central Gully Add Comment
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By Preston Rhea
From: Mammoth Lakes
Dec 25, 2013

I soloed this route in a fairly low snow year (Mammoth Mountain Ski Area reported 263 inches of snow for the 11/12 season). The upper snowfield was fully "in" however. It is unknown to me if I actually did the first ascent since Crystal Crag is such a close and popular summit in an area with a long history of climbing. There are two routes, mentioned in Mammoth Area Rock Climbs by Marty Lewis and John Moynier, that are close to the route I took, but distinctly different. In the summer, the climb would be ugly, as the upper snowfield would be replaced by loose moderate slabs. From asking around, as much as I can tell the line had not yet been climbed, at least in winter conditions. If anyone here knows more than I, I'd love to hear about it and will gladly change the FA information.
By Ian McEleney
From: Mammoth Lakes, CA
Dec 3, 2015

Climbed this 5 days ago. It was cold (7F at Twin Lakes at 8am) and there was snow on the route. The route gets pretty much no sun at this time of year. We started the same but dealt with the snowfield differently than Preston's description.

We climbed the first step in about 30m to a ledge. From here we climbed another maybe 30m pitch left and up. These two pitches were fairly easy, we felt like they clocked in at maybe M3. From here we climbed easier terrain for 50m+ following the lower left edge of the snowfield in Preston's beta photo. Finally another long pitch directly to the summit up a low angle slab covered in snow. The rock quality on this last pitch was good but because it was less featured and covered in snow it was an interesting lead.

We brought a single rack from .3 - 3 BD and a few small pins.