Moon Goddess Arete 5.8
Trip ReportBy the light of the Moon Goddess on Temple Crag
I and my buddy Justin were ready for another season of alpine rock climbing, and our first goal this year was Temple Crag. We had both looked up at this massive chunk of rock while hiking by Second Lake a number of times and wondered what those aretes were like.
Friday we hiked in, hoping the monsoon moisture would clear up, as forecast. Like last year on the Swiss Arete, there was a lingering chance of t-storms throughout our trip.
The creeks were high, and crossing the Third Lake outlet seemed almost suicidal. Another party was scouting out the same thing, but they got tired of looking and headed back down to Second Lake. We found the log jam described by other parties on the interwebs and then made camp at Third Lake. A few high clouds gathered above the Palisade Glacier, but we never heard thunder nor saw any evidence of rain.
Saturday morning at 4:30am came a little too soon, and Justin kicked me awake. We headed out to the log jam with our trekking poles fully deployed, crossed, and left them on the other side for the return trip.
My balance is compromised as a result of my injury four years ago and I got a little wet. We crested a small ridge and admired the wonderful talus field beyond, then set out for the snowfield below Venusian Blind and Moon Goddess Arete.
As we got up to the beginning of the snow climbing we met up with the other party of three we'd seen yesterday. They were climbing Venusian, so I guess that meant we were doing Moon Goddess :) The other party had crampons, and we'd brought axes (Justin also had crampons). The snow was a bit firm at 7am.
We made our way to the ledges and headed up, simulclimbing with Justin in the lead.
I think we dispensed with about 4 pitches this way .. a nice warmup. We started pitching out from there and I took the next lead, heading up to the First Tower.
Wow, the traverse was some pretty heady exposure ! Definitely one of my favorite pitches on the route.
And now for the Ibrium Tower -
The routefinding was interesting .. I made a few false starts, not finding a block festooned with slings as noted in the supertopo, but finally headed up the correct left-facing corner, clipping about 3 fixed cams in that one 20' section :) The rock was really nice on that part.
I led the other 5.8 pitch around the right side of the Ibrium. We had lunch, and then Justin headed down and around to the base of the 5.6 "gully" -- pitch 11. This was not too difficult, but beware the occasional loose stuff. Hey, we climb at Pinnacles, we know about loose rock :)
We thought we could link pitch 11 and 12, but as I started up #12 ("steep/sustained 5.7") I heard Justin calling out "ten feet !" on the radio. I stepped down to the big block and set an anchor. Oddly enough there were three pitons just around the corner, near the start of pitch 12. One looked almost new, a shiny silver color unlike the black BD's I was used to.
Justin took pitch 12, and it felt pretty steep. I was getting tired. Justin took pitch 13 too, a nice ridge ramble, followed by a short rappel.
We could see the other party on Venusian.
I took the next pitch, some fun 5.7 and a nice bit of ridge.
Only one more pitch and we're done !!
Well, sort of .. at the summit talus field we packed up our climbing gear and headed up the seemingly interminable talus to the summit scramble. We could see the other party.
I was moving sluggishly. Tired and breathing hard, it took me a while to get up to the top.
It seemed to take forever to get down to the Contact Pass rappel station. Justin was a good bit ahead, and though I was really tired now I did my best to keep up. My stamina is less than what it was before the injury, but when I dig deep into the endurance reserves, they are still there .. just not very fast.
We made it to terra firma at the pass ~8:20pm and made a beeline down the snow slopes to the talus. Headlamps switched on around 9:30-ish. We were soon grateful for the light of the Moon Goddess (half to waxing gibbous) as we wended our way back to the log jam and stumbled into camp by 10:30pm.
Oh yeah, we survived another great adventure :) Next morning we slept in, hiked out and visited one of Bishop's finest burrito joints.
8 trad draws (shoulder length)
DMM alloy offsets 7-11 (regular nuts may have been better here)
cams from Wild Country zero Z5 up to Black Diamond C4 #2
60m x 9.5mm rope
Recent Trip Reports