Trip Report
Direct SE Face of Clyde Minaret (IV, 5.9+)
Sunday June 10, 2012 11:42pm
The SE Face of Clyde Minaret seen on the approach. Pitches correspond ...
The SE Face of Clyde Minaret seen on the approach. Pitches correspond as best as I can tell to Peter Croft's topo and not to how we did the climb, as we linked and stretched a few pitches.
Credit: PellucidWombat

After a multi-month streak of getting out climbing every weekend, I was feeling a bit tired and pressured to take a weekend off. Since I was not having much luck finding a partner for one of the objectives I was really burning to do, I had resigned myself to stay in town. Then I got a text from my friend Japhy Dunghana.

Hey mark - awesome climbing photos bro . . . What are u up to this wkend? I'm looking for someone to climb with

I didn't even know he was back in the country! Since he lives in LA and spends most of the year out of the country guiding and teaching for an outdoor group called The Dragons, I have rarely had a chance to climb with him, so I jumped at the opportunity. Japhy was fully on board for climbing the classic Direct Southeast Face of Clyde Minaret (IV, 5.9+, 12P), so before I knew it, I had a car rented, time off from work confirmed, and was hurtling across Tioga pass on a bright, moonlit Friday night to meet him in Mammoth.

The Minarets. All 16 named summits can be seen. I'd love to do the traverse someday! (VI, 5.9).

Saturday, June 2
The Long(er) Approach

The Mammoth area had experienced a large blowdown this past winter, so despite low snow levels, the road from Mammoth is still closed. Because of all of the heavy machinery sent down the road to take out all of the cut up trees, the road was also closed to hikers. So I had planned a detour, taking the ridge north of the Minarets lookout before dropping off the ridge and meeting up with the trail near the mouth of the side canyon leading to Lake Ediza.

The Minarets. Michael Minaret is poking out from behind to the left.

The Minarets, Mt Ritter, and Banner Pk.

This gave us an approach of about 12 miles one way to get into the Ritter Range. We would have the range all to ourselves!

Banner Pk seen from Deadman Pass.

Mt Ritter, the N Face & the S-SW Ridge seen from Deadman Pass.

Waller Minaret (Pt 3557) seen from Deadman Pass. This is between the Minarets and Mt Ritter.

For the most part the cross-country was pretty easy, although there were a few sections of loose scree and manzanita that we did not look forward to climbing back up as we dropped off the ridge from Deadman Pass.

X-Country detour since the road into Agnew Meadows was closed to pedestrians as well as cars.

Coming up to Lake Ediza, there was a lot more snow than I had expected based on the last few weekends spent in other parts of the Sierra. We got in some good postholing action while the slopes provided a heat-reflector effect.

The Minarets seen from Iceberg Lake.

Volcanic Ridge seen from camp beside Cecile Lake.

Mt Ritter & Banner Pk seen from camp beside Cecile Lake.

Minaret Lake and Riegelhuth Minaret seen from camp beside Cecile Lake.

Sunset over Mt Ritter, Banner Pk & Cecile Lake.

It was a solid day hiking in, but what a camp! We found the perfect bivy platform and got settled for the next day. Naturally, I stayed up and took some night photos.

Clyde Minaret & Cecile Lake at night.

Clyde Minaret at night.

Clyde Minaret at night under 30 min exposure.

Mt Ritter, Banner Pk, and Cecile Lake at night.

Mt Ritter, Banner Pk, and Cecile Lake at night under a 30 min exposure. I think the slight color near the horizon is due to light pollution from either June Lake or Lee Vining

Sunday, June 3
Clyde Minaret

Clyde Minaret, Ken Minaret & descent route. I suspect that taking the other notch a little further left might be easier. Our way required 1 short rappel off of a fixed anchor to reach the snow.

Clyde Minaret SE Face in morning alpenglow.

Sunrise on Mt Ritter & Banner Pk

Clyde Minaret in morning alpenglow.

Clyde Minaret in morning alpenglow from my sleeping bag. Time to get up for breakfast?

Enjoying alpenglow on Clyde from camp. (by Japhy Dhungana)

We took our time and enjoyed the sunrise on Clyde Minaret as we ate breakfast and gathered our things.

Mt Ritter and Banner Pk at sunrise.

Banner Pk at sunrise.

Clyde Minaret SE Face

Japhy on the 0.5 mile 650' gain approach to the direct variation of the SE Face.

45 minutes and 650 ft of ascending later and we were making the awkward transition from snow onto the first pitch of the direct start of the route.

Looking up P1 of the Direct Variation (5.9+). The second pitch ends at the small tower seen high above.

The direct variation was awesome. Steep, fairly sustained, slick rock brought us up nice corners with some interesting moves here and there. The rock was completely clean.

Japhy leading P1 (5.9+).

I started off a bit awkward and slow, since I'm more used to crack jamming and am less used to face climbing. While there was the occasional hand jam and finger jam on this route, the nature of the rock was steep slick faces with small crimpers for the harder sections, and juggy ledges for the easier sections, requiring lot of hybrid techniques of jamming, stemming, liebacking, and manteling.

Following the P1 crux (5.9+).

Climbing such steep terrain with a pack, however, was not terribly fun. Throughout the climb both Japhy and I were eager to lead, not only for the fun of leading, but to get away from climbing with the pack! (We did, however, enjoy the food, water, rapp anchor supplies, headlamps, sneakers & warm layers we hauled up with us. Trekking poles were mildly helpful, and the single axe and pair of crampons totally useless).

Following P1 (5.9+). This pack was a pain to climb with here! (by Japhy Dhungana)

Following P1 (5.9+). This pack was a pain to climb with here! (by Japhy Dhungana)

I linked the second pitch with the third as one long 200' pitch.

Leading P2 of the direct variation (5.9+ or 5.10a)

Peter Croft's guidebook rates the first pitch as 5.9+ and this pitch 5.10a while Moynier & Fiddler rate both pitches as 5.9+. I'd say both pitches were mostly 5.8 with a few solid 5.9+ moves.

Sweet corner of P2 Direct Variation (5.9+ or 5.10a)

Upper section of P2 (5.9+ or 5.10a)

Japhy following the P3 traverse, which I linked with P2.

Looking up the steep SE face from the base of P4 (5.7). We'd better choose the right route!

Japhy leading out on P4 (Our P3)(5.7), rounding the corner to enter the wide crack.

Japhy made short work of the wide 5.7 crack on the next pitch.

P4 wide 5.7 crack.

Japhy did some heel-toeing and chickenwinging on this. I found plenty of features inside and outside the crack to keep it easier, with only an occasional light arm bar needed for balance or cleaning gear. So OW-o-phobes, don't despair!

Nearing the end of P4 (our P3).

Then I linked the next 2 pitches, with a bit of simul-climbing, to make a 260' pitch that ended at the start of the improbable 5.8 traverse.

Starting out on the linked P5 & P6 lead (5.7, 5.8), which was our P4.

Unfortunately I got off route near the end and found myself wriggling up an awkward and insecure offwidth but eventually got back on route (my bad). Fortunately Japhy had good alpine sense and quickly rigged a way to haul the pack with slack I gave him on one of the ropes for this part and then face climbed around my shameful routefinding choice.

Leading the beginning of P5 (according to the topo). (by Japhy Dhungana)

Leading P6 as our P4 (5.8), gradually working our way to the corners on the right.

For the record, the ledge before the traverse is very large and an ideal spot to bask in the sun and enjoy a mid-route lunch break.

Japhy had to do a bit of searching, but eventually found the correct way down and over on the traverse. It really isn't that hard or exposed, but the way is not obvious and the corner you reach is very steep and exposed. He stopped short on this pitch due to drag and set up an anchor on a good ledge.

Japhy at the end of the P7 traverse (our P5)(5.8). Rope drag was so bad he stopped at the first good ledge up the corner.

Climbing up the steep corner after the P7 (our P5) traverse (5.8).

Japhy led out the next pitch on fairly clean and sustained 5.7 to 5.8 climbing for about 140' before setting up an anchor at the White Scar. Here, as in most of the route, there are frequent good ledges, so in most cases you really can stretch out the rope and make an anchor at the most strategic spot instead of worrying too much about where the pitch technically ends.

Following the long P8 (our P6) in the big lower dihedral (5.8). Japhy stopped just beside the white scar.

Japhy led one of the most enjoyable pitches of the climb, and then I got to lead an even better, more sustained pitch that was only slightly easier than the first two pitches of the climb.

Just past the technical crux of the climb for us, right off of the belay! Starting our P7, P8 & P9 according to the topo. (by Japhy Dhungana)

The opening moves were very hard, but I placed a temporary piece above, committed to an iffy smear and swung up into a "thank god" hand jam in a solid fist crack.

The long corner of P8 & P9 that I linked (our P7), 230' of fairly sustained 5.7-5.8 climbing before I ran out of rope, just 20' short of the nice sunny notch.

The upper section of P9 (our P7)(5.8). There is one more corner above this one before the notch.

It was cold in the shade, and the notch seemed like it would be a great belay. I got so close to it! But alas, the rope went taught, and I didn't dare attempt to simul this time as I knew what Japhy would have to climb through off the belay.

Cold, tight belay just 20 ft short of the sunny notch. I linked P8 & P9 into our P7, and ran out of rope just short of the end.

Japhy atop P10 (our P8) on the ridge (fun 5.7)

Japhy atop P10 (our P8) on the ridge (fun 5.7)

Looking my best on Cyde Minaret - being blinded by the sun as I attempt to find my way along the upper ridge. (by Japhy Dhungana)

Mt Ritter (left) and its SW Ridge (VI 5.9) & S Ridge (VI 5.9), and Banner Peak (right).

Looking back on the extremely wandering line of P11 on the NE Face.

We had hoped to unrope or simul for the last two pitches, but the terrain stayed very steep and sustained, and while not too hard, it was just insecure enough, pro sparse enough, and the rock wet and snowy enough that we pitched it out. Even with doubles, I couldn't avoid getting bad rope drag.

Nearing the end of P11. Japhy needed to make a very exposed step face traverse after the last piece of pro, and then downclimb a chimney before he could get up to me. (by Japhy Dhungana)

From the start of the dihedral covered in green lichen behind me it is straightforward and clean cl. 4 scrambling to the summit.

Japhy following up the final ridge of P12 (our P10).

Happy on the summit. (by Japhy Dhungana)

Me & Japhy on the summit. The beast of burden is in the foreground.

We did the usual summit celebrations and toasts, then booked it down, since the descent is not easy and the information vague.

Michael Minaret.

Michael Minaret. The notch bridged by a chockstone is called "The Portal"

After some exposed downclimbing, a rappel off a good anchor, more downclimbing, and another rappel off an anchor we built, we were on to straightforward but loose class 2-3 slopes. Downclimbing, we made it to the snow just as it got dark. The temperature plummeted and the wind picked up, but we stayed nice and comfy in the puffies that we had painstaking hauled up the route. A full moon added to the nice ambiance as we picked our way around Ken Minaret and scrambled up to the wrong descent notch (doh!).

A brief look at the map showed we were close and a bit more scrambling took us to a reasonable notch with a rappel anchor, an old fixed line and very loose rock at the top. After this last obstacle we had clear sailing down to camp, where we enjoyed the views of Clyde Minaret illuminated by a full moon a we ate dinner. It had been a full and grand day in the Minarets!

Monday, June 4
Lucky Times
We slept in and took our time heading out. Japhy and I had hoped to spend another day in the Minarets and climb Michael Minaret, or maybe a route on Banner Peak, but the weather had forecast a 40% chance of precipitation on Monday with a large drop in temperature.

Japhy did not like the idea of slogging back up to Deadman Pass and had talked me into hiking down to Devil's Postpile and back up the road. We could take a trail that cut the switchback in the road. And who knows? Maybe we could bum a ride? Even if we got in trouble being on the road, we had not entered from that side, so we figured at most we'd be shooed into the forest or allowed to walk out since we had technically not reached the road unlawfully.

We enjoyed the clear, sunny morning, but by the time we left camp the winds had picked up and clouds had gathered around the Minarets. It was a shame they hid Clyde, as I was hoping to scope out the views of Clyde above Minaret Lake for some nigh photography ideas on my next visit.

The Minarets in the morning clouds above Minaret Lake as we departed.

Deeper down in the forest we ran into a couple of hikers passing through on the John Muir trail - the only people we saw the three days we were back there. As we reached the last 2 miles of trail, large trees were blown down everywhere, forcing us to do a lot of climbing over and detouring around trees. We probably spent more time walking around trees than down the trail.

Lots of deadfall on the trail. We had a couple of miles of this where we were constantly end running and climbing over large trees!

Once at Devil's Postpile we couldn't resist the temptation to swing by the formation, especially since we had it all to ourselves.

Japhy despairing at the dashing of our FA plans.

We've gotta climb something!

After this nice side trip, we started walking up the road. We had barely walked 10 minutes when a fuel truck started up from the end of the road. The driver had just made his annual delivery and was driving out. As the truck approached us, Japhy, ever the sweet talker, waved to the trucker, and got us a ride out! As we drove up the road, we could see that the steep, loose hillside and the vast number of huge trees blown over would have made it an epic hiking out on our intended trail. Just as we were let off at the Minaret summit, the rain started pouring and quickly changed to a mixture of rain and hail. Talk about perfect timing! We definitely would have gotten caught in that weather had we not gotten that ride, but instead, we were enjoying beer & burgers in Mammoth as we watched the deluge, and then caught refuge for the evening at the Mammoth hot springs.

Stormy clouds over the Sierra, seen from the hot springs.

Laurel Mtn NE Gully (III, 5.2)

Sawtooth Range under a fresh dumping of snow. All of the passes had closed due to the storm, so I had to drive home via Tahoe.

Route Thoughts & Notes (from a Wombat)
For a rack we brought 1 set of nuts and a few tricams, one set of of BD Camalots to #3, 1/2 set of Metolius (alternate sizes to the equivalent of a #2 Camalot), and a full set of C3 Camalots. We only placed nuts for the anchor to save cams, and even there we mostly used pink, red and black tricams instead. We found having extras in small cams including the narrower and smaller C3s down do a #0 to be very helpful, especially for the first two pitches. If you are solid on 5.8 leading and climbing with a 60m rope, you could get by with closer to a single set of cams, since our rack worked well for 70m pitches.

According to Roper & Steck's "50 Classic Climbs of North America":

Although the climb is usually done clean, it is advisable to carry five pitons in addition to a standard selection of twenty chocks

This is no longer advisable. ;-)

From the summit, unrope and scramble north. About 200 ft later you will encounter a steep step (cl. 4). This is the crux of the Rock Route (IMHO one of the best cl. 4 scrambles in the Sierra) and here you have two options:

1. Continue on to downclimb the Rock Route. This is similar in nature and length to the East Face of Middle Palisade, but a bit harder and more exposed, so only do this if you have time and energy for lots of sustained downclimbing!

2. Turn left and switchback on some exposed but solid ledges to reach a rappel anchor. A single rope rappel trending climber's left brings you into a chute. From here cross the chute to a rib and downclimb the ridge about 100 ft to find our pimpin' rapp station. One more single rope rappel (or possibly some downclimbing) places you into a good chute for downclimbing. Basically, a single 60m rope and some downclimbing should easily get you down. From there, downclimb to Amphitheater Lake and traverse around Ken Minaret to South Notch where one more short rappel places you onto easy snow slopes for the remainder of the walk back to Cecile Lake.

The descent takes a while and would not be fun in the dark, especially if you haven't done it before, as it is exposed and would be hard to make sense of by headlamp. So make sure you aim to finish the route with at least enough daylight to get through the first two rappels. Otherwise you are in for an epic night descent or a likely summit bivy.

The route has a number of fixed pieces and bail gear everywhere. Nearly every pitch had some rappel setup, so with two ropes you can rappel the route, although be prepared to make some new rapp stations or leave a bit of gear.

Route Topo:
I brought copies of three different topos and have this to say:

1. The topo on Mtn Project was utter junk. We rarely were on anything like that topo.

2. The topo from Moynier & Fiddler is pretty good, but a little vague and misleading at some critical junctions.

3. We had no trouble finding our way following the route description on SummitPost and using Peter Croft's topo in "The Good, the Great, and the Awesome". Bring these along!

For the most part, all of the pitches were very long and sustained, though there were many rest along the way. We only were able to link some pitches with a minumum of simul-climbing and not too much drag because we climbed with 70m doubles, so we trimmed the route to 10 pitches and could have trimmed it to 9 if I had set up the belay before the 5.8 traverse at a better spot to reduce drag. Be prepared to do the route as 12 pitches if you bring a 60m or a single rope!

Also, the route is long and fairly sustained, and some of the moves higher up are arguably as hard as any on the direct start. So if you think you climb hard and fast enough to do the route, you certainly can handle the 5.9+ start and absolutely should do it this way for two of the best pitches on the route! I have heard this route (without the direct start) described as a good 5.8 route for the solid 5.9 leader, and I'd agree.

The route sucks up gear, and nearly all of the moves can be well protected.

The face looks butt ugly and dirty in the shade, but in the sun it looks glorious. Apart from the occasional friable rock and some loose bits on the ledges in the middle pitches, the rock was very solid. The route was far cleaner and more solid than any of the aretes Temple Crag, at least!

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About the Author
PellucidWombat is a mountain climber from Berkeley, CA.

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Comment on this Trip Report

  Jun 10, 2012 - 11:46pm PT
WOW. . . there's another award winner!


Sport climber
Boulder, Colorado!
  Jun 11, 2012 - 12:03am PT
Very cool! Have only seen the Minarets from a distance. They are magical looking from afar, and up close too it seems! Thanks.

East Bay, CA
  Jun 11, 2012 - 12:09am PT
Man, I did that route two years ago and it doesn't look anything like your pics aside from the summit ridge. We probably did something else. There were numerous ways to get to the top of that thing.

We descended the gully right next to it (towards Michael) and it was fast and relatively painless. I think there were two raps with 2 ropes. We were in there over the 4th of July and didn't see anything for 3 days either, it was sweet.
Nice pics and writeup.

Trad climber
Central Valley, CA
  Jun 11, 2012 - 12:11am PT
AWESOME!! Amazing photos!

If you ever need a partner, hit me up. I have a super flexible schedule and gear for everything.


Trad climber
Top of the Mountain Mun
  Jun 11, 2012 - 12:22am PT
So fine, a climb still on my tick list, good job fellas!
Charlie D.

Trad climber
Western Slope, Tahoe Sierra
  Jun 11, 2012 - 12:27am PT
Fantastic photos, fond memories, thanks for posting!!!!!!!!

Big Wall climber
Terrapin Station
  Jun 11, 2012 - 12:30am PT
Too many photos.......


Awesome sweetness super cool bring it on you rule!!!

  Jun 11, 2012 - 12:36am PT
Holy data dump, Batman!!!

Mountain climber
Draperderr, Utah
Author's Reply  Jun 11, 2012 - 01:27am PT
Holy data dump, Batman!!!

I call this the virtual climbing trip report experience. Now you don't even have to climb the route! ;-)

Boulder climber
  Jun 11, 2012 - 01:47am PT
: O

Trad climber
  Jun 11, 2012 - 02:06am PT
Great trip report. The two photos with the topo overlays are excellent. It is no surprise that Crofts route description is accurate. Can't wait to try this classic route. I have spent too many days dreaming of climbing Clyde while riding Chair 23. Time to get'er done.

Thanks for the inspiration and awesome photos. Love the shot of P3 traverse.
Bad Climber

Trad climber
The Lawless Border Regions
  Jun 11, 2012 - 10:44am PT
Great climb and photos. I did that route many years ago, but we rapped once, if I recall, directly into the gully just to the left of the main face and descended back to the base of the wall--step kicking in rock shoes with an ice tool--was fine. Anyone else do this more direct descent?


Trad climber
Mammoth and SLO.....Life is Good!!!
  Jun 11, 2012 - 11:04am PT
Nice TR on a fine route over here!

I've only done the route once in all these years, car to car in 12 hours.

That pack did look like quite the pig.

Nice job, you two!

Trad climber
Nothing creative to say
  Jun 11, 2012 - 11:23am PT

Trad climber
  Jun 11, 2012 - 11:25am PT
Great TR! I've spent a ton of time in that area, and can't wait to get back to it. Beautiful pics!

Social climber
Oakland, CA
  Jun 11, 2012 - 11:32am PT
Nice work WomBatt! Great photos.
Ezra Ellis

Trad climber
North wet, and Da souf
  Jun 11, 2012 - 12:54pm PT
Mark er Wombad,
You set a very high bar for trip reports, thanks!

Really nice pics bro!

Released into general population, Idaho
  Jun 11, 2012 - 01:04pm PT
The Ritter Range and Minerets are one of the coolest places in the universe.
part-time communist

Mountain climber
Bishop, CA
  Jun 11, 2012 - 01:19pm PT
wow, good one Mark!

This is one I have been wanting to do for ages. Looks like a beautiful route from the pics.
Dapper Dan

Trad climber
Redwood City
  Jun 11, 2012 - 01:34pm PT
Excellent trip report , I did this route about five years ago , and was pleased that your photos and descriptions matched almost exactly , the way I recall doing it . Thanks for bringing back the memories .... What a superb route

Oakland, CA
  Jun 11, 2012 - 06:12pm PT
Nice, Mark!

One request? With photos this good, it's a shame to post 'em kind of small like that. I'm guessing you already know this, but if you want to fatten up those images a bit when linking from your other site (Picasa?), you can find/replace the value "s640" and drop in something like "s800" instead. So instead of this:

You'd have this:

See it there in the string, right before "2012-06-02"?


s800 gives you a bigger spread, ta-da:

With your level of techno-geekery (of which I'm a fan), you probably already know this. But I think your photo TR's are worthy of that fatty 800 look.

Mountain climber
Draperderr, Utah
Author's Reply  Jun 11, 2012 - 07:43pm PT
Yeah, I did it for some of the panorama-cropped images to make them larger, but wanted to avoid making the photos too large since there are so many! I also wanted to avoid the annoying problem of getting the horizontal slider on the screen if the photo is too wide. If 640 for the max dimension seems a tad small, I think 800 is still not too large, so I'll bump the images sizes up a bit.

  Jun 11, 2012 - 08:34pm PT
Woo hoo! thanks for the write up.

  Jun 12, 2012 - 06:39pm PT
Wow, nice TR, you managed to get a lot of pictures of the actual climbing! We did this a couple years ago and only had a couple of photos actually on route. There are a lot of variations before the traverse I think, but they all come in around the same difficulty.

Also I'd second the descent between Clyde and Michael, pretty straightforward and we did the couple of raps with a single 60m rope. You stroll down the loose gully and pass right back by the original start.

Way to get after it!
Sierra Ledge Rat

Mountain climber
Old and Broken Down in Appalachia
  Jun 13, 2012 - 07:47am PT
Wow, that's a huge pack for such a climb.

Stunning photos!!

Mountain climber
Draperderr, Utah
Author's Reply  Jun 13, 2012 - 01:48pm PT
Fortunately the pack was mostly empty. We also decided to go with the strategy of one larger pack instead of two smaller ones. With all of that extra space we dumped on the follower and put both sets of shoes in there, instead of dividing those up.

Also, secretly I didn't mind erring on the side of more weight & bulk as I'm planning some climbs this summer where I'll be carrying my camp over with me, so I figured it would be good for building character >:-)

Mountain climber
  Jun 14, 2012 - 02:27am PT
Outstanding photos as always, Mark. Congratulations on your ascent!
dee ee

Mountain climber
Of THIS World (Planet Earth)
  Jun 15, 2012 - 11:48am PT
Great TR, outstanding photos!

Someone forgot North Notch Minaret in the photo though.

Mountain climber
Draperderr, Utah
Author's Reply  Jun 18, 2012 - 05:20am PT
I see a North Notch & South Notch minaret in Secor, but Croft leaves them out on his section on the Minarets Traverse. Do you still get credit if you skip those? ;-)

Mountain climber
  Jun 18, 2012 - 11:34am PT
Thanks for the grand report. Allen Steck's picture of John Fischer on the route on page 290 of "Fifty Classic Climbs of North America " is one of my favorite shots of my late friend & that great climb. When John & I did it in the early eightys ,the piton days were long past.

Social climber
Sierra Eastside
  Jun 18, 2012 - 11:57am PT
Speaking of Secor, he describes the Rock Route descent from top to bottom pretty well. There is only a short (but exposed) 4th class traverse at the very top. The rest of the descent is class 2-3, and gets you back to the base very directly. I have done both descents mentioned above, and greatly prefer the Rock Route.

Excellent report, thank you!

Mountain climber
Draperderr, Utah
Author's Reply  Jun 18, 2012 - 03:38pm PT
For those curious about the wind event that blew all of the trees down and kept the road closed, here is a good link about it that a friend just shared with me. Make sure to read the last part!

November 30th Wind Storm Damage

Trad climber
  Jun 18, 2012 - 06:17pm PT
Nice TR and photos. Thanks!

Trad climber
  Jul 18, 2012 - 12:59pm PT
Going middle of August, this report is very helpful, Thanks :) can't wait to do it!!

Trad climber
  Jul 18, 2012 - 01:50pm PT
GOTTA do this

Trad climber
Southern Illinois
  Dec 7, 2012 - 01:54pm PT
Sweet photos of a good...nay, great time and a very informative report. thanks!

Trad climber
Lake Tahoe
  Aug 8, 2013 - 12:37pm PT
Mark, that was awesome, start to finish.
I almost feel like I've been there now, already, ha!!

I have spent too many days dreaming of climbing Clyde while riding Chair 23.

To my embarrassment, I've never skied Mammoth. I take it the climb from Chair 23 looks pretty magnificent.

Trad climber
Bay Area
  Aug 8, 2013 - 01:16pm PT
Clyde Minaret, Ken Minaret & descent route. I suspect that taking the other notch a little further left might be easier.
This caption refers to the South Notch on Mark's photo from Cecile Lake.
Indeed, the left (from the East), more southerly notch is easier than the one Mark took. A very nice way to cross between Cecile Lake and Amphitheater Lake.

Great TR, as always from Mark. I haven't been into the Minarets in years, a situation I've got to remedy.

Trad climber
SeKi, California
  Aug 8, 2013 - 01:36pm PT
Nice reading you all! I climbed Mt. Ritter back in 73. Later I was surprised to see that the FA of it was in 64! The last big mountain to go down. I did it in tennis shoes from Zody's.........I heard this from another about it being the last one to go. Anyone else verify that?? Sorry if this is alittle bit of a thread drift.

Social climber
Lida Junction
  Aug 8, 2013 - 06:42pm PT
wonder why I didn't see this before? great report. I've only climbed the Rock route, back in the last century.
Larry Nelson

Social climber
  Jun 6, 2016 - 08:49am PT
Bump for a really fun TR. TFPU
Ed H

Trad climber
Santa Rosa, CA
  Jun 6, 2016 - 08:55am PT
Great report TFPU
Charlie D.

Trad climber
Western Slope, Tahoe Sierra
  Jun 16, 2016 - 08:14pm PT
Awesome, here's to the new season.....time to get it done.

Trad climber
  Jun 16, 2016 - 08:47pm PT
Nice job, great TR

I did the SE Face in 1979 and had a great time. I wonder when the direct start was first done ? It looks great.

beneath the valley of ultravegans
  Jun 16, 2016 - 09:11pm PT
Woot! Way to confront ye olde snaileye! My last jaunt in there was a wee bit painful.

Hoping to get back in there real soon.

dont make me come over there
  Jun 18, 2016 - 01:51pm PT
great climb! Thank you for the beautiful pics and detailled descriptions, this is one of the most well written TRs Ive ever read!

I have always been interested in this route, Well Done!!

right here, right now
  Jun 18, 2016 - 04:26pm PT
Yeah, this Pellucid guy does not mess around with his TR cred.
Plus, he goes where you and I very much want to go, right now, no messing around.

Same route, Summit photo, May 1980, with Jerome Carlian RIP.

Yes, we did the direct start, and I led both pitches.
Lowa Scouts, friends, and RPs (and sardines).

The last people on the summit register before us were Galen Rowell and Joe Faint (not 100% on Joe) from their winter ascent in February, 1980.

It's good living, I tell you.

Trad climber
Truckee, CA
  Aug 19, 2016 - 01:27pm PT
Where can I get the recommended topo for the route? Can't find it anywhere...

Trad climber
Tahoe City, CA
  Aug 19, 2016 - 11:31pm PT
I climbed this route a few days ago on 8/16, here some comments:

Loved it! So fun, tons of 5.7 and 8. All easy to protect. We placed no nuts and did use small cams to Metolius 00. We used a 60 and didn't try to stretch pitches. It's hard enough to hear each other with the ledges in your line of hearing.

Lots of loose and fragile rock up higher like most alpine climbs. It would be scary to be under another careless party.

Super topo topo and description worked for us for the direct variation. We saw a few people climbing the peak each day. Sun hit the bottom of the route at 6am on 8/16.

These photos in this trip report certainly helped us, thanks!

Remember you don't have to go cross country like in this trip report, they went before the road was open to Devil's Postpile Trailhead. Supertopo explains it.

We drank snowmelt next to our previously established bivy, on a small plateau about 200' vert above Cecile Lake. There was no other snow or water along the climb or descent.

Where you gain the ridge up high at the first notch and go through the hallway thing, I never found a 5.6 crack and went up a ridiculous loose 5.6 black ledgy wall. It worked fine to access the next notch, where supertopo says traverse below the ridge line. You are now on the NE side and eventually pop out back up on the true ridge at another sunny notch. You can look down both sides. From here, it's low 5th and easier for a little less than a 60 meter rope to the summit. The supertopo doesn't show this last full pitch or mention it but other web descriptions do.

For the descent, we went down the first gully supertopo describes on the backside, 200' north of the summit. We weaved around 3rd class ledges for maybe 200 vert and found a rap station to far right. I made a few small cairns. Then we didn't find a rap at the end of the next section, so we went one gully over to the right after spotting a huge cairn pile in between the 2 gullies. We walked down the the ken Clyde notch easily. Then you walk down that couloir easily to the very end and rap twice.

Bring another 6' piece of webbing or cord fix the last rap station! It's all old junk that should be removed.

Tim Dobbins on pitch 2
Tim Dobbins on pitch 2
Credit: backcountry

The Minaret !akes are unreal
The Minaret !akes are unreal
Credit: backcountry


  Aug 20, 2016 - 12:33pm PT
Wow, surprised so many people are taking the "long way" down. The better descent route is actually Clyde-Ken Couloir. Third class mostly, a bit of easy 4th and a rappel. You walk right past the original start of the route on your way down. Takes about and hour.


Trad climber
  Aug 20, 2016 - 03:19pm PT
Amazing, eye-popping TR Mr. Wombat!!! The Minarets are full-value
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