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alpine / multi-pitch
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Aretes of Crystal Crag direct T 
East Face, Central Gully T 
South Ridge T 
West Face T 

West Face 

YDS: 4th French: 1 Ewbanks: 2 UIAA: I ZA: 2 British: M 1b

Type:  Trad, Alpine, 550'
Original:  YDS: 4th French: 1 Ewbanks: 2 UIAA: I ZA: 2 British: M 1b [details]
Page Views: 595
Submitted By: kenr on Aug 26, 2013

You & This Route  |  Other Opinions (2)
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up to summit arete above West face


Great summmit of a dramatic-looking peak surrounded by pretty lakes. Short easy approach.

Approach: See Crystal Crag alpine / multi-pitch area
for how to get to Crystal Lake. Then a short ways starting around East side of Crystal Lake, then turn Left (E) onto an unofficial climber's track. Up on that a ways, then bear Right roughly SE or S (perhaps with a track) and aim for the base of the cliff somewhere below the notch between the Middle summit and South summit.
(Or continue S along the base of the cliffs to a very large multi-trunk tree roughly below the South summit).

Climb: Find your way as best you can up to the notch between the Middle and South summits. Significant loose rock and dirt. Mostly class 3, but likely some section will feel like class 4, especially when getting back down.

Then Left and a little more climbing up to the Middle summit (on descent this likely will feel like class 4).
Optionally continue farther N along the ridge, over the (lower) North summit (but returning from this requires a low class 5 move), and down a little to the unique bright-white crystal mini-tower.

Or from the notch go Right (S) along the crest of the ridge to the (highest) South summit (coming back down this will likely will feel like low class 5).

Alternate: From somewhere roughly below the (higher) South summit, find your way up to the crest of the ridge (likely easiest to hit it a few meters North of the highest summit). Longer and more difficult and more interesting climbing than the above route further north -- perhaps with less dirt, but still enough loose rock. Possibly it could all be climbed up at difficulty class 3, but getting back some of the down-climb moves will feel like class 4.
. (Likely there are other routes) .

Descent: Back down the same way.
Do not attempt to descend the W face from between the North summit and Middle summit.

Totals for approach hike + climb to summit:
  • on Trail hiking distance 1.75 Miles / 2.8 km with vertical gain +675 ft / 210 meters.
  • Off trail hiking distance 0.25Mi/0.4km with vertical gain +160ft/50m.
  • Climbing length 600ft/180m with vertical gain +400ft/120m.

Grand Totals for approach + climb + descent + return hike:
  • on Trail hiking distance 3.5Mi/5.5km with vertical gain +800ft/250m
  • Off trail hiking distance 0.5Mi/0.8km with vertical gain +160ft/50m
  • Climbing + traversing + Down-climbing length 1200ft/360m
  • Climbing + traversing vertical gain +400ft/120m
  • Down-climbing + traversing vertical loss -400ft/120m
  • Total horizontal distance = 4.25 miles / 7 km
  • Total vertical gain = +1375ft/420m


3-4 miles SW of the town of Mammoth Lakes.
See Crystal Crag alpine / multi-pitch area


Light trad rack.

Photos of West Face Slideshow Add Photo
Rock Climbing Photo: SW to NW + W face of Crystal Crag - three summits
SW to NW + W face of Crystal Crag - three summits

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