Summit elevation: 10,364 feet
Approach: 3 mi round-trip with 700 ft of climbing
Climb: 3 pitches of 5.7 difficulty
Crystal Crag, North Arête
Crystal Crag • Pitches
Crystal Crag • Description
Crystal Crag is a granite rock tower in the Mammoth Lakes area with a white quartz band at its north summit. The north and east side present some challenging rock climbs, while the south and west side offer more mellow routes.
The approach starts at Lake George (9,200 ft) and leads on Mammoth Crest Trail and Crystal Lake Trail to Crystal Lake (9,700 ft). It then continues on to the base of the climb (9,900 ft).
The North Arête consists of three pitches, the crux being a chimney at the very beginning. The descent leads down the backside of the summit via the saddle between north and south summit.
Crystal Crag • Interactive Map
Crystal Crag • Pictures
North Arête, Pitch 1
North Arête, Pitch 3
View of Mammoth Lakes
View of Crystal Lake
Sandra and I camped at Whitney Portal to acclimatize for a 3-day Mount Russell East Ridge climb. Since we had rain on the first day and the forecast for summit day was bad, we decided to head further north in the Eastern Sierra.
On the first day we climbed (and rappelled) Racing Lizards, a 3-pitch 5.7 climb in Pine Creek Canyon (Bishop area). On the second day we climbed Crystal Crag North Arête, camping at Lake Mary. On the third day we climbed Ruby Peak East Ridge in Rock Creek Canyon (Bishop area), which is similar to Mount Russell East Ridge summit day.
Thanks a lot to Ryan H., our guide.
By: Bernd Straehle
See Also: Climbing & Mountaineering
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