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North Arete

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North Arete (dihedral variation) T 
North Arête T 

North Arete Rock Climbing 

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Elevation: 9,819'
Location: 37.5926, -119.0145 View Map  Incorrect?
Page Views: 13,160
Administrators: Aron Quiter, Euan Cameron, AWinters, M. Morley, Adam Stackhouse, Salamanizer suchoski, Justin Johnsen, Vicki Schwantes, Kristine Hoffman (sitewide)
Submitted By: littlemike on Jun 26, 2008

52° | 33°

59° | 35°

62° | 37°

65° | 38°

62° | 32°

57° | 31°
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The North Arête Route starts in a small chimney in the back of a corner and is not the prominent dihedral which will be to the left. For the first pitch, head up the small chimney (5.6) and then up a broken face (fourth class). The second pitch appears to have choice of two chimney systems. We headed up the left side and stayed closer to the edge of the arête. It looks like there is a second chimney to the right. In either case this ends below a huge section of white quartz, hence the name Crystal Crag.. A short half pitch of this put us on the ridge. A couple hundred feet of mixed third and fourth class climbing with the occasional fifth class move thrown in the summit.

Getting There 

Mammoth Lakes area; Crystal Crag is directly behind Crystal Lake and is easily visible from the parking at George Lake.

Climbing Season

Weather station 4.7 miles from here

2 Total Climbing Routes

['4 Stars',0],['3 Stars',2],['2 Stars',0],['1 Star',0],['Bomb',0]

Classic Climbing Routes in North Arete

Mountain Project's determination of the classic, most popular, highest rated climbing routes for North Arete:
North Arête   5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b     Trad, Alpine, 4 pitches   
North Arete (dihedral variation)   5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c     Trad, Alpine, 4 pitches   
Browse More Rock Climbing Classics in North Arete

Featured Route For North Arete
Rock Climbing Photo: 5.8 variation to the North Arete. Climbers can be ...

North Arete (dihedral variation) 5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c  California : Sierra Eastside : ... : North Arete
The 5.8 variation to the standard North Arete route is a fantastic option with more mandatory 5th class climbing and is great for passing slower parties.Start in the dihedral 70' left of the standard start, and immediately right of the sport wall. P1. Follow dihedral, stem up past 5.8 top out to a ramp. Continue higher or belay at a comfy ledge to the right by a small tree.P2. Depending where you belayed, finish the dihedral and then follow a long 3rd class ramp up and right. Turn left and belay...[more]   Browse More Classics in California

Photos of North Arete Slideshow Add Photo
Rock Climbing Photo: Will on the South Summit of Crystal Crag
Will on the South Summit of Crystal Crag
Rock Climbing Photo: Top of North Arete route looking over to the true ...
BETA PHOTO: Top of North Arete route looking over to the true ...
Rock Climbing Photo: Crystals near summit.
BETA PHOTO: Crystals near summit.
Rock Climbing Photo: the descent
the descent
Rock Climbing Photo: Miguel on the crux pitch
Miguel on the crux pitch
Rock Climbing Photo: the crag comes into view
the crag comes into view
Rock Climbing Photo: complete route
complete route
Rock Climbing Photo: on top of the Crystal band on Crystal Crag
on top of the Crystal band on Crystal Crag
Rock Climbing Photo: Crystal Crag North Arête
Crystal Crag North Arête

Comments on North Arete Add Comment
Show which comments
By DrZ
Jul 26, 2008
Some small bits of clarification may be in order for this route. Did it for the second time with littlemike June 08. Lots of variations here for the start. As littlemike says, the chimney is the way I've done it but the picture shows the face to the left of the chimney. If you are short in height, exiting the chimney may add a grade. Venturing right off the arete has more loose rock and more 4th class. I've climbed to the right above the shown belay #2 in a large chute to the right of the column which has a nice platform at its top. The move out of the chute and onto the platform is nice. Watch the loose rock in the chute. Traversing left off the column platform on a small ledge takes you to some wonderful exposed 5.5 friction climbing before the shown belay #3. If you bail after the rap from the first peak, take it from me...stay skiers LEFT going down the LOOSE rock. You will thank me.
By El Andy
From: El Portal, CA
Oct 18, 2010
My partner and I were climbing this route on 10-16-10 and she lost her shoes somewhere along the ridge traverse. The shoes must have come unclipped from her harness ('doh, no locker!)
They were trail runner shoes on a green/gold 'biner.
If noones finds them in the next week I imagine the snow will cover them up until next Spring.
Email me at if you find them.


p.s. It was my partner's first multi-pitch and she not only rocked the climb but she simul-climbed the ridge. Woo Hoo!
This is a GREAT route!
By Chris Owen
From: Big Bear Lake
May 3, 2012
I thought the highlight of the route was the ridge traverse. That was fun and certainly pushing 5th in places.
By kenr
Aug 21, 2013
This peak really does have wonderful top-10-in-the-world easy narrow-ridge arete climbing on good granite. Unfortunately many parties end their climb at the Middle summit and descend the W face from near the notch between the Middle and (highest) South summits. But that's where the great arete climbing starts.

To make sure to get to do the great arete climbing on this peak (and without so much loose rock), try this route .

Note that many more Comments and a better find-the-start Photo for North Arete route are on this MountainProject page .
By thewildtrev
Sep 11, 2016
I lost my BD C4 #2 with yellow BD hoodwire on this route last week. If you find it and have a kind soul, I would love to hear from you. Email me at

Keep on climbing!

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