Left East Arete
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BETA PHOTO: note
There is quite a bit of confusion regarding routes on the Ruby Wall - hopefully this sorts things out a little bit. When looking at the Ruby Wall from Ruby Lake, the Left East Arete is the prominent, narrowing rib of rock ~100yds left of the main Ruby Wall. This same line is mislabeled as the East Arete (Rowell/Wilson 84) in many guidebooks. The East Arete blends right into the more obvious Left East Arete when viewed from the Ruby Wall area - and some photo overlays of the route (AAJ, for example) show it starting on the right/East and then finishing on the left like it's one continuous piece of rock. Summitpost has an entry named "East Arete" showing a line which matches the "Left East Arete." Very confusing.
Left of the main Ruby Wall is a deep, dark recessed alcove/roof which marks the bottom of the gully splitting the two East Aretes. Just left of this, scramble up some 3rd/4th class ledges to reach a sandy belay stance. From here, climb cracks leading up and then left into a large left-facing corner system. Climb this awkward corner (squeeze/stem) and belay at a small stance/block with bail slings, 60M. Continue up the chimney above and then step left to a big sandy belay ledge at the base of the steepening arete, 40M. Climb cracks up the prow of the arete. At this point there are multiple cracks & corners to choose from - the goal is to stay as close to the edge as possible. The rock quality quickly deteriorates if you start to wander off the north side. 5 more long pitches up the narrowing, knife-edged arete land you on the summit ridge. Lots of exposure and short cruxes. Like other parties who have repeated this line, we also found a handful of short 5.10 sections, but it's totally possible that we were offroute or picked harder variations (original grade 5.9). Expect some flaky and grainy rock with bits of vegetation. The rock quality is pretty good on the lower pitches and up on the arete proper, so if it starts to get gross, look elsewhere for the line.
To descend, there are two options.
1) Head south along the ridge to the true summit of Ruby Peak (class 5). From there, descend the 3rd class east ridge and drop into a gully leading back to the lake.
2) Head north over the ridge/summit of Ruby Wall and downclimb 4th class into a deep notch. Up to the top of the notch, then down (east) and work your way left (north) up some 3rd class terrain to land on the sandy plateau leading towards Mono Pass. At the NE corner of the plateau, a cairn marks the spot where you begin the loose class 2/3 descent down gullies/rock ribs leading into the talus which takes you back to Ruby Lake.
Save some daylight for the descent, i'ts not trivial. Took us a little over 2 hours from the top of the route back to camp.
Standard rack to 4", many long slings.
Richard Shore leading high on route (P6 or 7?). Ph...
Johnny K topping out on the route/ridge, with the ...
Johnny K on an exposed knife-edge section (P5?) of...
Johnny K following P3 of the Left East Arete.
The Left East Arete. Photo credit: Kovarpa/Summitp...