North Arete 5.7

 
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Matterhorn Peak


High Sierra, California USA


Trip Report
Matterhorn Peak - North Arete
Monday August 2, 2010 7:50am
Matterhorn Peak's North Arete was next on my list of Sierra alpine classics, and Justin sounded interested. We headed out early from San Jose on Thursday morning and reached Bridgeport by noon. The ranger station there disinterestedly issued us a wilderness permit and off we went to Twin Lakes.

We started hiking around 1:30pm. It was kind of warm, but it got cooler as we gained elevation.

Up the Horse Creek trail
Up the Horse Creek trail
Credit: Justin Marion

Looking up at the col
Looking up at the col
Credit: rhyang

We arrived at the tarn about 4:30 or 5 and set up camp.

Tarn at 9800' below Matterhorn Peak
Tarn at 9800' below Matterhorn Peak
Credit: rhyang

Matterhorn Peak, from the tarn at 9800'
Matterhorn Peak, from the tarn at 9800'
Credit: rhyang

Another party was already in the area. They were planning to do the North Arete on Saturday though. The mosquitoes came out and kept us company over dinner, somewhat alleviated by a southerly wind during the evening.

In the morning we got underway around daybreak. Fortunately the wind had died down by then. We arrived at the glacier around 7am, put on our crampons and got out our ice axes.

Justin heading up the glacier towards Matterhorn Peak
Justin heading up the glacier towards Matterhorn Peak
Credit: rhyang

We left our snow gear on a rock at the base of the east couloir, which was mostly melted out. We headed up the loose dirty gully and looked for the start, narrowing it down to a couple of ramps, and then found one which looked promising. Around 8:30am Justin took the first pitch, and our choice was confirmed by a stuck yellow alien which neither of us could booty.

First pitch of North Arete (5.6) -- Justin's lead
First pitch of North Arete (5.6) -- Justin's lead
Credit: rhyang

Looking down from first pitch belay
Looking down from first pitch belay
Credit: Justin Marion

I took the short second pitch and passed the baton to Justin.

Looking up second pitch (my lead)
Looking up second pitch (my lead)
Credit: Justin Marion

Looking up third pitch (Justin's lead)
Looking up third pitch (Justin's lead)
Credit: rhyang

View from the route
View from the route
Credit: rhyang

Me following third pitch
Me following third pitch
Credit: Justin Marion

On the fourth pitch I got off-route, and traversed a ledge / crack system to the base of Double Dihedral (5.8) -- I'm pretty sure I went the way the supertopo says not to :) It was a rope-stretcher for the 50m x 8.5mm strand we were climbing on.

Double Dihedral (5.8) -- got off-route on 4th pitch, we didn't...
Double Dihedral (5.8) -- got off-route on 4th pitch, we didn't go this way
Credit: rhyang

We decided not to go that way :) Justin led off around the chockstone and got us back on track.

Me following pitch 5
Me following pitch 5
Credit: Justin Marion

Looking up at pitch 5 belay (Justin's lead)
Looking up at pitch 5 belay (Justin's lead)
Credit: rhyang

Ah, the final pitch.

Me leading final 5.7 pitch
Me leading final 5.7 pitch
Credit: Justin Marion

Looking down pitch six
Looking down pitch six
Credit: rhyang

It felt kinda hard for 5.7, but it was sustained and at 12000' with some wider sections. I remember doing a fist jam in one place. There was an awkward chimney above the corner, with an easy but exposed finish. Full value for a punter like myself :) I brought Justin up and we reveled in the glorious views.

View from top of North Arete
View from top of North Arete
Credit: rhyang

View from top of North Arete
View from top of North Arete
Credit: rhyang

Presently we looked over at the true summit, which a couple of peakbaggers were scrambling up.

Peakbagger on true summit of Matterhorn, as viewed from top of North A...
Peakbagger on true summit of Matterhorn, as viewed from top of North Arete
Credit: rhyang

We decided to belay one more pitch across some fourth class, and then scrambled the rest of the way to the true summit.

Justin getting ready to lead the fourth class traverse from the North ...
Justin getting ready to lead the fourth class traverse from the North Arete to the true summit
Credit: rhyang

Ah, the thrill of summit registers :)

Summit register :)
Summit register :)
Credit: rhyang

Justin on summit of Matterhorn Peak
Justin on summit of Matterhorn Peak
Credit: rhyang

We snacked and took in more great views. It was a little after 2pm, and the day was perfect, though the afternoon wind was starting to pick up again.

Mt. Dana in background, Virginia Peak in foreground, from the summit
Mt. Dana in background, Virginia Peak in foreground, from the summit
Credit: rhyang

Mt. Lyell from the summit
Mt. Lyell from the summit
Credit: rhyang

After putting the rack, rope and rock shoes away we headed down and traversed third class ledges back to the exit of the east couloir.

Justin heading down from the summit
Justin heading down from the summit
Credit: rhyang

Whorl Mountain, from the exit of the east couloir
Whorl Mountain, from the exit of the east couloir
Credit: rhyang

Looking down east couloir
Looking down east couloir
Credit: rhyang

The gully was mostly snow-free, with one small soft patch still not quite melted out, providing some running water had we needed it. It was pretty loose, so we carefully descended, trying not to kick down rocks. It took longer than I expected.

Back at the snow gear we packed up our crampons. The bergschrund was starting to show, and I carefully traversed around it, but otherwise had a nice glissade back to the moraine :)

Justin descending the glacier in the afternoon
Justin descending the glacier in the afternoon
Credit: rhyang

The descent back to camp was uneventful. By 5-ish we were packed up, and racing the mosquitoes back to the car, which we got back to before 7:30. From there we drove over Conway Summit and had dinner at the Whoa Nelli Deli, so that Justin could experience a true east side delicacy, their fish tacos :)

Gear notes:

 6 trad draws (shoulder length)
 2 double-length slings
 Wild Country rocks 1-8
 cams from Wild Country zero Z4 up to #4 tech friend
 50m x 8.5mm rope
 2 cordelettes

The larger cams came in handy on the last pitch, though I'm sure the more accomplished wide fetishists could do without :)

  Trip Report Views: 4,074
rhyang
About the Author

Comments
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Ezra Ellis

Trad climber
North wet, and Da souf
  Aug 1, 2010 - 08:37am PT
Awesome TR, thanks for sharing!
mike m

Trad climber
black hills
  Aug 1, 2010 - 08:39am PT
Nice job lookslike a great peak and a fun couple of days.
mooser

Trad climber
seattle
  Aug 1, 2010 - 08:41am PT
Sweet!!
tuolumne_tradster

Trad climber
Leading Edge of North American Plate
  Aug 1, 2010 - 08:43am PT
nice TR rhyang...if I remember correctly, we gained the arete from the couloir on the right
rhyang

climber
SJC
Author's Reply  Aug 1, 2010 - 10:39am PT
Fiddler & Moynier's Climbing California's High Sierra: The Classic Climbs on Rock and Ice has a picture of the route showing it starting from the west couloir, not the east, interestingly enough. Secor and supertopo have it starting from the east couloir, so that's what we did :)
tuolumne_tradster

Trad climber
Leading Edge of North American Plate
  Aug 1, 2010 - 10:45am PT
rhyang: thanks for posting that link. I think we traversed over to the arete a bit lower than shown on the Fiddler & Moynier photo.
Dirka

Trad climber
Hustle City
  Aug 1, 2010 - 10:50am PT
Loved it!
Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
  Aug 1, 2010 - 11:44am PT
Great looking route! Thanks for the TR!
BMcC

Trad climber
Livermore
  Aug 1, 2010 - 11:45am PT
Very nicely done!
Jingy

climber
Somewhere out there
  Aug 2, 2010 - 08:20am PT
Awsome TR!!!

All day event.. (maybe most of the day)...


That's what its all about...

Cheers
climblight

Mountain climber
Northern NV
  Aug 2, 2010 - 09:18am PT
Nice Rob. I remember taking my youngest when he was 12 up that route. Sh#t that was 10 yrs ago...
survival

Big Wall climber
Terrapin Station
  Aug 2, 2010 - 09:35am PT
HOORAY FOR CLIMBING THREADS!!

Nice job guys!
Yet another place to put on my never ending list......
Unfrozen Caveman Lawyer

Trad climber
  Aug 2, 2010 - 10:19am PT
Cool TR - Thanks!
Fletcher

Gym climber
A very quiet place
  Aug 2, 2010 - 10:24am PT
Yay! Thanks for another good report!
fattrad

Mountain climber
GOP Convention
  Aug 2, 2010 - 10:38am PT
Nice job Rob and Justin.


The evil one
426

climber
  Aug 2, 2010 - 10:51am PT
Cool stuff. Good mems.

I had the wildest time riding that couloir on my snowboard eons ago...on the exit I felt like I was going 70 mph, chattering the suncups. DFU! I was tearing up even with goggles on. Down way lower I fell through hollow snow and had a branch enema...que dia!

calling mark rogers, u out there?
Zander

climber
  Aug 3, 2010 - 12:35pm PT
rhyang, you are on a roll this year.
Awesome!
Zander
tamberly

Trad climber
san diego
  Aug 2, 2010 - 09:04pm PT
that is a great climb..we got off route on the 2nd pitch..ended up below a 30 foot roof..but also ended up doing a wonderful hand crack that led to a corner which allowed us to sling and rap down onto beginning of pitch 3. Good job!
Les

Trad climber
Bahston
  Aug 3, 2010 - 07:06am PT
Sweet! Nice pics and a fine looking route! Thanks for sharing!
Roxy

Trad climber
CA Central Coast
  Aug 3, 2010 - 07:53am PT
RIGHT ON!!!!! that looks sweet for sure...now I need to get the time off work. : )
Macronut

Trad climber
Fresno, Ca
  Aug 3, 2010 - 09:02am PT
Thanks for the inspiring TR. On my top ten list. Gotta getter dun.
Doug Robinson

Trad climber
Santa Cruz
  Aug 3, 2010 - 10:11am PT
This really bring home what a sweet climb it obviously is.

Left start? Right start....? I remember dithering around trying to get on the ridge from its very toe and giving up in frustration.

It's still on the list, and you just added inspiration.

Thanks!
dee ee

Mountain climber
citizen of planet Earth
  Aug 3, 2010 - 12:50pm PT
I enjoyed the tr.
Looks like a good route (particularly that last 5.7 pitch), it is now on my list.
How would that approach be without crampons?
rhyang

climber
SJC
Author's Reply  Aug 4, 2010 - 02:23pm PT
The snow on the glacier was very suncupped, and our crampons started to ball up a little towards the top as the sun had been out for a while.

Me heading up the Matterhorn glacier
Me heading up the Matterhorn glacier
Credit: rhyang

As I understand it, by late in the season the sun has burned off a lot of the snow and varying amounts of blue ice shows through (somewhere there's a pic of this on summitpost). So it's hard to say and probably depends on when you go.
BMcC

Trad climber
Livermore
  Aug 24, 2010 - 10:50pm PT
Rob,
Great TR and pics! Looks like so much fun that I've added this one to my list of must do pretty soon routes.
Bill
Pfrank

Trad climber
  Sep 4, 2010 - 08:49pm PT
I have been wanting to climb this one. Your beta will definitely help. But I need a partner.
and partner

Trad climber
Leavenworth, WA
  Sep 6, 2010 - 07:32pm PT
Nice photos- when Diana and I climbed this w/ Dan Davis and John Holland in 1975- it looked Nothing like this. Where is the Gaston 5.6 face crack? the 1st pitch for me then was a loose rocky pitch- no solid rock. We worked up right to the arete/edge/ pitches. huh? where have I been? These photos show lottsa books, dihedrals, inside corners... man am am lost.

I am DAVE DAILEY (aka "And Partner" in /Fred's books), Diana is on the cover of the old Beckey guide to Town Wall, WA state. Long hair flowing on the 10a OW overhanging crack.
SteveW

Trad climber
The state of confusion
  Sep 6, 2010 - 08:18pm PT

Perty derned neat, Justin and co.!

thanks for sharing!!!!
neebee

Social climber
calif/texas
  Sep 6, 2010 - 11:06pm PT
hey there say, rhyang.... this is so wonderful to see all this.... i can't get all the pics, yet.... as always, have to come backk when tme is not so pressing....

this is a wonderful trip though, and i just love the share you did...

after all you came through, this is a very special treat... freedom to still enjoy climbing...

god bless to you!
:)
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Matterhorn Peak - North Arete 5.7 - High Sierra, California USA. Click to Enlarge
The route as seen from the approach.
Photo: Brad Goya