Sun Ribbon Arete, Temple Crag 5.10a

 
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High Sierra, California USA

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SuperTopo Rating:   
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 (5.0)
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Rating Distribution
14 Total Ratings
5 star: 79%  (11)
4 star: 21%  (3)
3 star: 0%  (0)
2 star: 0%  (0)
1 star: 0%  (0)
rgsteph

Trad climber
Lexington, KY
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   Sep 10, 2011 - 08:43pm
Did this route on August 29, 2011. Camped at Third Lake, which is the logical place to camp. Left camp around 5:30 a.m. and arrived at the snow field at 6:30 or so. Still plenty of snow continuing past the ledge to the first pitch. Also, the snow never softened to the point that we could kick steps, however you could move up to the ledge via sketchy, crappy talus and scree on the far side of the snow field. Fortunately we both brought lightweight crampons and a single ultra-lightweight Camp ice axe so we easily ran up the snow field, which saved us time getting on the rock.

Had all three topos and have to say that Croft's is the best, although it lacks great detail. This is perfect since this route has many flavors/pitch combinations as you move up. His lack of rating each pitch is appropriate since it is really up to you how you move up. The so-called crux of the route was the left side "fist crack." I led it and found it to be a solid 5.9 hand crack that protected well with a 3 and 3.5 camalot up to the traverse right to the arete. The crux moves are probably 9+, definitely not 10a, and I am no 5.11 leader. The pro was good all the way along the traverse with a couple of stoppers and a blue Metolious TCU. A long piece of webbing to sling the block at the top of the hand crack is a good idea, too.

Made the summit at dusk and began our way down looking for the rappel slings. This was not too difficult as there is a very faint climber's trail through the talus and scree that eventually picks up some cairns along the way. Tend down and slightly right and you will run into the cairns and rappel. We had a single 70 M rope and the rappel to Contact Pass left about 20' on each end of the rope.

Once on Contact Pass you should make your way to the right, staying high so that you bypass the larger talus in the center and left of the way down. The talus on the extreme right is much smaller and more easily navigated.

If you ever find your self looking at any pitch harder that 5.7/8 other than the crux, then keep looking because there is another way. Croft's topo identifies a 5.9 fist crack in the upper pitches, but move on farther to the right and you will find the 5.6 way up.

All-in-all a great route. The Tyrolean was no problem as we hit it the second try and it took little time to rig and cross. Loads of fun. Although there are some loose blocks on they are few and cause no problems if you are attentive.

In my opinion the biggest obstacle is the snowfield because it can really slow you down if you are crawling on the loose rock behind it or you are trying to save a little weight by clawing your way up it with a nut tool and a sharp rock. Bite the bullet, use some ultra-lightweight crampons and axe and you will fly up it. No snow we encountered ever became soft enough for us to kick steps and the snow was generally rock solid.
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Chris McNamara

SuperTopo staff member
Jul 23, 2009 - 07:51am
 
great trip report: http://www.supertopo.com/climbing/thread.html?topic_id=907623
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Les

Trad climber
Bahston
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   Jun 17, 2009 - 01:52pm
I posted a (belated) TR from the summer of 2005, with pics, here:

http://timefortuckerman.com/forums/showthread.php?t=11848
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Chris McNamara

SuperTopo staff member
Oct 28, 2008 - 09:03am
 
Great photo trip report here:

http://www.supertopo.com/climbing/thread.html?topic_id=709408
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Chris McNamara

SuperTopo staff member
Oct 12, 2008 - 12:58pm
 
On pitch 9 i messed up on the topo. i drew a big corner. it is really a big arete
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le_bruce

climber
Oakland, CA
Sep 23, 2008 - 11:22pm
 
Hard-pressed to think of a route I've enjoyed more. Absolutely stellar, this one.

My take on the inaccuracy of ST's depiction of the crux (left version):

From the notch after the rappel, ST shows 5.10 face climbing passing two pitons and leading to a 5.9 hand crack. As others have said, this is 3rd class leading to a good ledge, above which the 5.9 crack starts. No pitons, no 5.10 yet. From the top of the crack, ST shows a 5.9 face traverse leading to a 5.8 crack. Should be a short 5.10 traverse to steep jug-hauling (no crack) with sparse pro until you huck yourself back up onto the arete proper. A great pitch.

One note: if so inclined, I'd reco bringing about 5 or 6 feet of untied webbing if you plan to do this left version of the crux pitch. You'll be glad you did when you find the threaded sling currently in place before the traverse. We didn't have enough webbing so resolved not to fall.

Another note: wide range of comments here, lots of good info. I think that 6 hrs camp to camp should be considered a fast time, not a standard time. We simuled everything except the crux and were on route from 9:30 until 7'ish. We were slow at the Tyro because it's a nice place to sit a spell, and because our first two attempts at roping the spike ended in tangles and snags that we had to coax free with wrist mojo and desperate pleads.

Final note: the historical anecdote on Lowe and Wagstaff doing the first winter ascent is absolutely wild to ponder after doing this route.

(Edit: pictures of how not to do the Tyro throw here: http://supertopo.com/climbing/thread.html?topic_id=699299&msg=699299#msg699299);
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Glaidig

Trad climber
Menlo Park, CA
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   Sep 9, 2008 - 05:08pm
Sam and I did the Sun Ribbon ArÍte on Temple Crag. Poor planning on our part led to a car-to-car, self-inflicted suffer-fest. After a pleasant walk from the trail head and a quick gear sort we were off. The first crux would be passing the snow and ice gauntlet in the gully below the start. Staying to the left edge of the ice, we were reduced to some harrowing off-width and chimney moves followed by a high pucker factor traverse to reach the starting ledge. At this point Sam said we were committed; there would be no retreat.
The starting corner

We had envisioned pitching out a few of the sections and simul-climbing the majority of the route. The section before the Tyrolean traverse was pretty strait forward, but quite steep and sustained at 5.7 in spots. The traverse went well, with the main difficulty finding a lull between the explosive gusts of wind. At the 5.10 pitch we chose the hand crack with the thin face moves to the right. A couple short sections of climbing followed by short raps brought us to the last balance beam before heading up to the summit.
Spectacular views

Getting ready for the traverse

Nearing the top

Vicious rope drag and a healthy respect for the remoteness of this route resulted in only six or eight pitches of simul-climbing. We summited an hour before sunset and were very motivated to find the rap station before dark. This of course did not happen. In the cover of darkness and buffeted by whipping winds, we followed the cairns to the area of the lowest rap station. After some groping about we found the slings and made our way to the pass below.
Just a little more

What followed was an ugly game of hide and seek as we hunted for the one boulder in a sea of boulders that our pack laid under. We forced down food and water and tried not to think about the seven or so miles that stretched out between us and the truck at the trailhead below. The time spent navigating the boulder fields to the east end of Second Lake seemed never ending. When we reached the pounded out trail we knew that we would eventually make our way to the end of this journey. We broke the five miles up into roughly 45-minute segments taking ten-minute catnaps. The sight of the lights at the lodge let us know we were close. At 1:30AM, roughly 21.5 hours after we left, we were finished; glad to see that the local thieves had not performed a smash and grab on Samís truck. Ten minutes later we were at our campsite, sleep never came so quickly.
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bonin_in_the_boneyard

Trad climber
Oak Land, California
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   Aug 5, 2008 - 06:39pm
Survived this route this past weekend. Heck of an outing. Thanks to Chris Mac for the easy-to-follow Tyrolean beta. Even though we'd never done anything like that before it was no trouble at all and it made for a fun little diversion in a long day of climbing.

I thought that the crux pitch was one of the coolest anywhere. Steep crack to steep face to steep jugs with solid pro; not to mention the fact that it's at 12,000'. There was a long sling around a flake left of the .10a traverse. With that clipped I might as well have been on top-rope. The sequence was a fingery but positive right-down-right move to a small ledge at the base of the shallow corner. I may be showing my true colors, but I would describe it as "gym 5.11a" :^D

I would say the crux is about the half-way point. Although the second half is easier and climbs less elevation, all the traversing, downclimbing, and route-finding slow you down. My advice would be to coil half your rope and simul-climb it. We tried but just couldn't find our rhythm. We found it easier to just blast it out to the end of the rope repeatedly until we reached the ridge.

Also, we missed the summit by about 50' because we had ditched the rope below and it was just a little more than we wanted to solo. Kind of a bummer. Bring the rope and a few cams if you're not into soloing loose, moderate terrain.

The descent deserves some attention. You have to downclimb a fair amount of 3rd-class, always aiming for the high point in the pass. About a 3rd of the way down the 3rd-class there's a colorful bunch of slings down and left that may get you to the ground with two ropes, but it's definitely longer than a half-length. Further down there's a green sling on pins - go a little further. The real anchor is maybe 20' right of being directly over the high point of the pass. It consists of multi-colored slings and cord in a natural thread right at the spot where the 3rd-class definitely ends and the 5th class definitely begins. From there it's endless sh-ty talus back to the lakes, but hey, it's the Sierra.
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madturtle

Trad climber
folsom, ca
Jul 9, 2008 - 04:39pm
 
No problem getting to the start or SRA w/o cramps or ax via the rock ledges on teh right and a short mellow snow scramble.

If anyone heads up the logbook is full and hauling up a new one could likely bring good karma.
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madturtle

Trad climber
folsom, ca
Jul 3, 2008 - 12:09pm
 
Anybody have recent beta about the snow level below SRA and/or venetian blind. Think ax or cramps will be necessary this weekend (7/4/08)?

thanks
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Lars Ensign

Trad climber
Zephyr Cove, NV
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   Aug 15, 2007 - 02:55am
I climbed SRA in July 2006. I thought this was a very worthwhile route but had a few comments.

The approach is far from safe and sane. Scariest and most dangerous thing you'll do the whole day. It's longer than it looks. Like an hour. The "snow" is hard and steep, especially higher up. I used a Trango Shark nut tool (the one with a knife built into the handle) as an ice dagger which worked well. However, the snow is steep and hard enough that crampons on approach shoes were sketchy: the torque makes them rotate around your feet in a really disconcerting way. My feet almost came completely out of my shoes!

The "easy" rock ledges to the base of the 1st pitch are loose and dirty. Maybe we didn't go high enough up the snow before going across? Maybe the snow has retreated exposing more bad rock than there used to be? Anyway, it sucked.

The crux pitch has a traverse only protected by an old knifeblade that can't be backed up until you are through some insecure moves. If you fell, even if the kb held, you would likely penji into some nasty looking rocks below.

The descent to the rap stations is exposed and not exactly easy to follow in the dark.
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OhYeah!!!

Trad climber
Sacramento, CA
Aug 12, 2007 - 10:09am
 
I did Dark Star and was wondering if there was any reason to do the other routes on Temple Crag or is it just the same stuff (with a Tyrolean)?
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clustiere

Trad climber
berkeley ca
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   Jul 24, 2007 - 06:01pm
Did this a few years back adn I found the Dark Star to be much more difficult. climb time on SRA 4.5 hrs Climb time on DS 12 hours. that said my partner on DS was much slower.
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Nate Ricklin

climber
San Diego
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   Jul 24, 2007 - 02:30pm
Yes, the Supertopo is way off in places for this route. I would recommend using the Peter Croft topo. It's a little more sparse, but is actually correct on all the crucial parts.

Here is some beta if you want it:
Crux Pitch: We took the left variation. Move left then up a slightly overhanging wide hands crack till you can mantle up onto a stance on huge jugs (5.9). Traverse right on thin holds into a left facing corner (10a). A couple moves up this corner, then some overhanging slopeyness takes you back to the arete.

Farther up, the "5.8" crack on the right is actually about 5.10a, and is an overhanging fist crack.

At the top of the topo the words "downclimb into gully" make no sense. Just stay on the arete and go all the way to the top.
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ADK

climber
anon
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   Jul 16, 2007 - 04:37pm
We had a little trouble finding the start from the topo. We ended up climbing up a left facing dihedral which leaves a ledge where the gully narrows. This leads to some nice cracks and over a roof(5.9). After the roof is easier climbing which reaches the arete and remaining 4th class in 350' from the ground. It was a good variation, all in all, and got us to where we needed to be.

Upon reaching the tyrolean, thunderheads began to move in, and by the time we reached the base of the crux pitch, rain was falling. After noting what appeared to be a few sets of rap slings in the gully to the south, we decided to bail and try to rap down the gully towards the start of the route even though the supertopo makes no note of such an escape route.

Armed with one 60m rope, we spent perhaps 7 hours and 15 rappels retreating down the gully. In dryer weather, portions of the gully could maybe be descended ropeless, but a fall would most likely be fatal. In addition, it is nearly impossible to avoid rockfall while rapelling parts of the gully and a few times my partner and I almost took each other out.

There were a handful of different rap anchors, but the vast majority were too sketchy to rap on without improvements. Many of the slings were seriously damaged from weather, rockfall, or both. A few times, the gear was so poor that we had to trust whatever the party before us had figured out. There was one rap in particular from 2 tipped-out micronuts, which required deep prayer and a steady feed to keep from popping. 2 ropes would have saved us from using some of these.

Also, it is important to stay on the sun ribbon side of the gully when it begins to cliff out. Two 100' rappels will get you through this section. The right side (looking down) requires a rappel that appeared to be 250' or so.

I would not recommend this retreat, but if weather rolls in, it may be the safest option. If it is a matter of time, climbing up the gully to the summit will be faster and probably safer. Bring double ropes and a lot of extra webbing for piece of mind. The route was excellent before we bailed.
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ThomasKeefer

Trad climber
San Diego
Jul 10, 2007 - 03:50pm
 
It is funny/releiving to read the latest beta posts. I have done the SRA and also Dark Star and I found that the climbing on Dark Star was actually easier (outside of the opening pitches) and very easy to follow even using the book of lies (Moyner).
I climbed SRA after Dark Start (and also after being snowed off the first try in mid october) and wound up having route finding issues in the same spot. We wound up doing the down climb/rap to the top of the major gulley after p 18 or 19. Then climbed (at times mixed cracks and snow) to the summit plateu. It is quite a way to the actual summit from there (much more than one ropelenht. I would say that it is abit to the top of dark star from the top of top of SRA and then 3 ropelenghts of 2nd and 3rd class to the summit from the top of dark star.

Btw, do you still rap off that POS pin on the final rap to the pass coming off the summit plateu? White webbing and a 60's pin.... good times!
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SantaCruzRon

Trad climber
Santa Cruz
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   Jul 9, 2007 - 03:05pm
I don't have the detailed, photographic memory that you guys seem to have. I just climbed like monkey and loved every minute of it. Prospective climbers may find my photologue to be of interest:

http://www.imagestation.com/album/pictures.html?id=2090234366
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justus

climber
Jul 7, 2007 - 03:59pm
 
As far as the 5.8 crack goes (p18 i believe) just getting to the crack would be pretty stout for 5.8, and the crack is too wide for 3" gear, BUT if you don't go up to it and just traverse right there's easy face climbing that leads to a smooth/easy ramp. Thus it's easy to avoid the whole thing. Also, the corner on the pitch just before this one: where is it? is it right facing the downclimb, or do you have to traverse around to the right? We ended up just traversing to the right until it got easy, the corner looks oververtical at the top.
Also also, couldn't figure out which finish was which (it was dark but we ended up following a ramp system about 170 ft around right to the base of two open books. If you take the right one (there was couple small patches of snow in it this week) it's very nice stemming which turns into a splitter hand crack and then blocks to the top, very nice way to finish. In the dark we went up until what i though was the summit, but turned out to be the way to dark star, maybe the topo could mention that there is still more than a pitch of ridge climbing once you make it to the summit plateau.
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Chris McNamara

SuperTopo staff member
Aug 1, 2006 - 08:43am
 
got this note from a supertopo user

I did Sun Ribbon ArÍte on Thursday, and you topo and info was excellent, but the last 2 paragraphs on page 84 need help! The paragraph starting with "Several ways meet about 100 feet above the notch at the start of the pitch", should definitely say start of pitch 9, instead of just "the pitch" because the previous paragraph ends with de-rigging the Tyrolean which is the start of pitch 7. I say this because 7 and 8 include a rappel and traverse, which isolates the Tyrolean significantly in time from the start of pitch 9. BTW the 2nd tower on 8 is almost the same height as the 1st tower (end of 7), but your route topo drawing implies that it's much higher.

The Tyrolean can easily be done with just a biner around relatively loose line by standing on an exit side notch (see picture) and mantling up onto the exit side. A tight Tyrolean as other beta has suggested could be dangerous because it puts high forces on the anchors and the starting tower has the usual cluster f*!k of aged slings around the rocks. A slip and fall onto a tight Tyrolean line with that anchor could cause it to fail!

On pitch 16 the 3 inch crack is around the corner right (North West side) from the short downclimb at the top of 15. This 3 inch crack is overhanging and involves awkward arm bars but can be exited to the right once you are in the overhanging stance. Also, I feel that 5.8 is a sandbag rating to free such moves. 5.8 A1 is OK. On the rest of pitch 16 and 17 the path wanders all around the jagged arÍte and so the rope drag is ridiculous. We broke it into 3 pitch and the rope drag was still insane.

On pitch 18 were you have "downclimb to gully" it does not say left (South East) or right (North West) and considering the last 2 pitches are hard to figure out how far to go because of rope drag, we were looking at an easy downclimb to the right, but backed off because the gully on the right seemed much too far down and it has headwall further up the route. However, with on more pitch of winding around the gendarmes with a very improbable looking traverse around the left side of one last tall tower, we came to a rappel station. Beyond the ArÍte drops 30 feet to very sharp and jagged edge that's not worth trying to climb. We rigged on a horn one higher than the station because it was almost total dark by the time we were both there. The rappel to the left got us to the gully in 80 feet by arcing the rappel line toward the up gully direction. A straight down rappel would be much longer than our 60m rope doubled over.

The gully at this point is easy 3rd straight up to easy 4th, then a left 15 feet onto a ledge (about 180 feet pitch 19). Above is a well protected series of 5th class cracks and flakes that leads up about 80 feet to the summit plateau (pitch 20).


Also for Temple Crag I would add that descent route is really going down the wide, low angle summit plateau, which forms a wide gully of sorts. Then just before getting even with contact pass traverse left out of the gully toward the cliff edge with contact pass. There is an easy to find, well worn path down to the rap stations However the path does get rather exposed and the downclimbing makes a switchback left (North) just before the 1st station. 2x 50m would just make it from the top station, but we used both station with a single 60m.
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Mei

Trad climber
SF Bay Area
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   Sep 8, 2004 - 10:02am
* Did this route on 9/5/2004 and Venusian Blind the day before. If you have to pick one out of these two, I say pick this one. To me it's much better than Venusian Blind for its warmth in the sun, the fun tyrolean traverse, and the straightforward route finding.
* As suggested in Supertopo, by going up the rock ledge system on the right, you can aviod the snow altogether at the base in this late season. But the rocks are extremely loose. It's better to keep a distance with your partner.
* The start of the climb might be farther to the right than you thought. Simply put it, just traverse to the right on a big ledge (not really a continuous and flat one) as far as possible until you reach a corner and cannot go any futher.
* The left variation of the crux pitch (Pitch 9 in SuperTopo) does not look like what's shown in the topo. There is no 5.10a face. A 3rd class scrambling leads to a wide hand crack. The crack and the traverse seem to be correct though. Have we missed something?
* The route is very long. The topo did a good job for the most part. But it seems that the author lost patience or ran out of space on the paper while drawing the last few pitches (15-18) -- there is more climbing than it seems in the topo. But you can see where the summit is, so just go for it.
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Sir Run-it-out

Trad climber
SF Bay Area
Aug 9, 2004 - 05:01pm
 
As of 8/4/04, the snowfield at the base of the route can be entirely avoided.

Go straight up for the last section. And once you get to the top of the arete, keep going 'till you reach the summit! It's not far, and in the words of Peter Croft "summits DO matter."

Most of the "raps" can be easily downclimbed.
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ThomasKeefer

Trad climber
SF Bay Area
Aug 8, 2004 - 05:21pm
 
The route is really really great but.. the supertopo does not make much sense. The pitch description summary (chart with the dots) lists the crux as one pitch and the topo calls it another. Then the length is 18 pitches but the write up talks about at least 24 seperate pitches... The topo is great until it ends... and you are nowhere near the summit!
Basically, armed with the topo you will end up at a 4th class section that it calls three roplengths with some 5.7; that is not the case. You need to do a ton of climbing still (not even sure how much because 8 short pitches after the crux and we had to just finish up the gully btwn SRA and moon goddess due to darkness). The route, all in all, is great but I would say that it is a step up from Dark Star despite the rating differences.
A few notes of caution:
After rapping into the notch past the crux (I think p17 of the topo diagram, not sure what number in the 'strategy' writeup) climb straight up again and then where the topo describes a 3" crack... do NOT try the crack around the corner to the right. There are plenty of bail slings from midaway. It looks simple from the base of it but it is really awkward and hard.. much harder than the crux of the route. After that, good luck finding the rest of the way up..
Can someone let me know how they went on the final headwall section. The three choices would be straight up through really really broken ground. Out to the right and up a series of chossy ramps or out and left toward Moon Goddess (the route we took)?? No beta about the end in the guide.

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Mike Layton

Trad climber
Salt Lake City, UT
Sep 1, 2003 - 03:18pm
 
I enjoyed this route for the positions and the legnth.
I'm not a "hard" leader, usually hanging on anything harder that 10c and I found this route to be prettry laid back. The ice approach in october last year 2002 was the crux of the route for my partner and I. The ice was bullet hard and we were using children's ice tool hammers, approach shoes and aluminum strap crampons. The whole route was covered in fresh snow from 2 early storms, making it quite cold and slippery.

Anyway, the point I was going to make is that if you simul climb the whole route, making up to each genardarm a separate "pitch", the route goes really fast. We couldn't lasso the horn, so my partner soloed across and we did the tyrolean a few times each for shits and giggles. The descent was quick too, only one rap (many choices). The route took 6 hours camp to camp in snowy, icy, route conditions.

I gave it 4/5 stars because although the positions were absolutley amazing, the climbing wasn't very interesting or difficult except for a few moves.

This was my first climb in the sierras, and I'd like to go back and do Dark Star. There look to be some cool ice climbs that could for up in some of the incipient couloirs (avy depending).
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esq

Trad climber
san francisco, ca
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   May 31, 2003 - 08:39am
Why no beta to date on this route? We did Sun Ribbon Arete on 6/22/02. (Two days before we did the "Swiss Arete" on Mt. Sill as a warm-up.) Be sure to line-up your wilderness permit well in advance of your trip date. We picked up our permit from the night box at the Bishop ranger station. Camping at Third Lake you have an awesome view of Temple Crag, and the two classics, Moon Goddess Buttress and Sun Ribbon Arete. Dark Star is apparently a classic, as well. For some reason, we didn't spot another party on any of the Temple Crag classics during our three night outing. Most climbers we met seemed to be headed to the Palisade Glacier area climbs with snow/ice climbing gear. I've heard you can hire "Glacier Packing" to haul all your gear by mule to base camp, but I couldn't generate any interest among my climbing friends. The 60lb+ packs and six mile approach took it out of me! I don't do particularly well at altitude, and this trip included my first 13,000'+ and 14,000'+ summits.

We left Third Lake at 5AM, arriving at the base of the route at 730AM. I did not think it would take this long since the route looks so close from Third Lake. We did not take crampons or ice axes due to the extra weight. Fortunately there were already steps on the hard/steep snow, and we used dagger-shaped rocks in each hand for added security. You would not want to take a death slide into the talus below. I thought the snow section of the approach was serious. Once climbing, I wished I'd brought my helmet for the lower pitches. Take a lightweight camera for the awesome photos.

The climb was straight forward up to the tyrolean traverse. My partner drew this pitch, and after about a dozen attempts he lassoed a prominent small pillar on the opposite side of the gap. I agree this was one of the most memorable and fun parts of the route, since it was my first and only tyrolean traverse. Above, I did have some route finding problems on a pitch that traversed below and on the left side of the dragon's back. My problem was that I refused to believe that 5.7 could be so exposed and committing! I wore my Sportiva Baltoros for the whole route, and only changed into climbing shoes for the 5.10 crux pitch. With 50m double ropes, we must have climbed 18-20 pitches before reaching the summit around 530PM. We then hussled to get to the descent east into Contact Pass before it got dark. I was very glad my partner knew the descent/rap down. From the pass it was a straightforward descent down talus and snow slopes to base camp. We arrived back at 930PM, almost too tired to cook dinner and eat. This was a longer and harder day than doing The Hulk or Epinephrine car-to-car, plus you're dealing with higher altitude (i.e., Temple Crag's Summit is over 13,000' vs. The Hulk at over 11,000'). I'd like to go back to do Moon Goddess Buttress and the U-Notch. The Palisades area is awesome!
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Temple Crag - Sun Ribbon Arete 5.10a - High Sierra, California USA. Click to Enlarge
The route as seen from Second Lake.
Photo: SP Parker
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