FOUND: TEETH STRAIGHTENER at LOWER VIDETTE LAKE; MOUNT CLARENCE KING REPORT
Exploring Clarence King! I was eager to visit another classic before season's end and approaches made more challenging by fire closures somehow add to the enticement of visiting long awaited gems! Glancing at a topo, a route via Gardiner Basin looked intuitive from Roads End, albeit ~13,000 ft. gain round trip with much of it viciously steep and rugged. After about 2,200 feet of gain on the easy Bubbs Creek Trail, I found the Charlotte Dome climber trail which led to old Gardiner Pass trail. Another 4,000 ft. of additional bone dry, steep gain with a full overnight pack felt strenuous! I enjoyed fall colors, granitic domes, and memories of a Glacier Monument-Gardiner-Gould ridge traverse as a fitting distraction from the grind. After cresting the pass at 11,250, I descended to a serene camp lakeside at 10,600 with sunset views of Mt. Gardiner. I felt satisfied and revived by dinner after the long haul.
In the morning, I dropped down to 8,900 and then began the rugged ascent up Gardiner Creek, soaking in views of autumn colors and alpine lakes to a ridge traverse of Peak ~12,250 to Peak 12,500 followed by an airy ridge traverse to access Clarence King's south face and summit (12,861). Besides new scenery and absolute solitude, I hatched my plan to enjoy the well known scrambling and technical climbing on this peak. Since my phone/camera ran out of juice and California peakbaggers already have heard, read, and seen much about this thrilling route and its fine views, I will simply summarize by saying this is the perfect route to send with that cute gym climber who has been hinting at wanting to try a mellow outdoor free solo with moderate approach...or NOT! It's extra spicy, but there are fixed alpine anchors, protectable cracks, and route variations aplenty for those desiring.
I climbed easy-moderate 5th class cracks to ascend to the summit block area and played around with various options on the descent. Of interest to some, I located an extremely exposed, ~8 foot tall, 4th class crack on the east side of the south ridge which provides access to airy class 2 ledges that I have not seen referenced in reports. The crack and ledges could be used to bypass all difficult 4th-easy 5th climbing besides the summit block crack and final friction/mantle move, but those averse to exposure and preferring easier protection with gear may be better off on the standard route. I did see the often referenced finger crack and squeeze chimney, but did not test them as I climbed cracks nearby to climber's left.
After topping Clarence King, all that was left was for me to follow mountain lion tracks to water, feel refreshed by a dip in a lake, and then head back to Roads End the way I came. Beware, the approach trail I took is faint or absent in many stretches; finding my way back without map, route photos, and gps added to my feeling of adventure!
Tip--Gardiner Pass East (12,000ft.) could make for an enjoyable alternative to, or loop with, Gardiner Creek through alpine upper Gardiner Basin.
Ad blocker detected: Our website is made possible by displaying online advertisements to our visitors. Please consider supporting us by disabling your ad blocker on our website.
Topics related to peak bagging, rock climbing and bouldering in the foothills and high country of the Sierra Nevada. Be sure to also check out the Information Booth forum category to learn from / see if you can contribute to a profile for High Sierra 13'ers, 14'ers and cross country passes.
1 post • Page 1 of 1
- Topix Regular
- Posts: 282
- Joined: Thu Feb 06, 2014 9:46 am
- Experience: N/A
Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest