On September 11, 2018, wstmrnclmr made this post about Mount Starr King:
"Was out at the King last weekend. mtnyoung nailed bolt placement on “nuts and bolts”. Climbed about 40’ to the right. Saw the whole shootin’ match. The recent fire in the Mono Meadows area is bad. Whitethorn taking over fast. Sad. But the King is beautiful. We climbed directly up the middle of the gray granite south face and my partner said it’s the most pristine granite he’s seen anywhere. There’s a route someone put up at the far end where slabs from the King meet the dome to the south. There are prominent black streaks that we went to explore and saw what look like 3/8” er’s heading up. Looks nice."
I'll repeat below the part of his comment that almost caused me to crap my pants:
"There’s a route someone put up at the far end where slabs from the King meet the dome to the south. There are prominent black streaks that we went to explore and saw what look like 3/8” er’s heading up. Looks nice."
The "someone" he was referring to was my partner Jim, and me. And the "route" he was describing wasn't yet a route. Jim and I had gotten well up our climb by the time we finished our October, 2017 efforts. But we hadn't yet finished it to the top. Yikes! Our in-progress route had been discovered!! Could we finish it before someone else did?!?
As part of his post, wstmrnclmr put up photos. Unfortunately these are now blank (any way to revive them?). One of his shots showed three new routes on Starr King's southwest toe. Of these "new routes," the rightmost marked on the photo was our in-progress climb. To my relief, the mark on the photo only went partway up.
Jim and I finally got back toward the end of October, 2018. We finished the route to the top on October 23. Eight pitches, 5.8. We named it Starr Struck. We'd actually struggled to come up with a name - I was envious of the name of the nearby, recent route The Raven, which seemed so perfect. But once Jim suggested Starr Struck, it stuck. I like it.
I echo comments by wstmrnclmr and klaus about the rock quality on this part of the dome. Wow!
Anyway, Jim put up some photos of Starr Struck on another climbing forum that a lot of our friends are on. His thread led to other friends from that site doing Starr Struck's second ascent ten days after it's first (I couldn't believe that someone could get away with a Starr King ascent in November, but they did it). Multiple sets of photos and my route description are on that thread. What might be even more critical are the comments by the second ascent party about the route's quality (I'm not going to go out on a limb/pat myself on the back here with my own thoughts on that subject).
For anyone that is interested, here's the link to that thread about Starr Struck:
Nice mtnyoung. We wondered about the route. We soloed to the top from where the lines end. A lot of different options. Maybe you could draw in your line on the photos? That way folks could join up for protection to the top if they wanted? I took down all photos for the same reason you didn’t want to pat yourself on the back. I did post an old school topo on MP. That way people can find them but still maybe have a sense of seeing them for the first time? Here’s the topo:. We would never “finish” (steal) a route. We also thought your route, protection wise, ended where we saw anchors. Don’t know what pitch but we wanted to stay clear. Also, saw an overview of approach and almost don’t want to give advice so others can live the same adventure but we had such a bad time going that way ( thus the name “ Feed The Slog”) that I offer this: Take the main trail down to within about a hundred yards south of “Dome Baez”. This is about 200’ north of a tree that fell across the trail and was cut out for passage.
Edit: White thorn is a horrible non-native barrier. Shouldn’t have to be a major part of the adventure. Here’s what we found to be path of least resistance. Exponentially worse every year.