A route on solid rock in a magnificent position.P1 5.4 Climb up a groove, traverse right to a little wall with large knobs, up this to a large ledge; spike belay belay on the right. P2 5.6 On the righthand edge of the ledge is a corner formed by a detached block, climb this, then up a crack, traverse right around an overlap, climb a crack and switch right into another crack to reach a small ledge in an alcove. Nut belay. P3 5.6 Climb the wall on the left of the alcove, traverse right a...[more]Browse More Classics in CA
By M.Morley Administrator From: Sacramento, CA Mar 9, 2006
I've only done the Cedar Grove approach, which is steep but straightforward, and 90% on a major hiking trail. When my partner and I did it, we started hiking in from Cedar Grove fairly late in the day (can't remember exactly, maybe around 4 or 5 pm). We bivied at the base of the route that night, climbed it the next day and hiked out the same day, which worked out quite well.
The standard Charlotte route can be very crowded in the present era of tick lists. In my view the best time to climb is Sept. or Oct. Colours are great, and nobody is around. Route finding is key on this route-- in the 1970's it was truly hard to know if one was on route, now Peter Croft's guide book offers much greater certitude. I always camp at the lake with the bear boxes and the ranger station (coming in over Kearsage pass; eastside), as in the late 1970's we lost our food when we camped closer to the dome. I seem to always need a headlamp for the walk back to camp at the lake. With two clients it seems that the route takes about 10 hours from camp to camp (Lake Camp), but in the Fall this means some dark-time walking.
From what I hear the bears in the area are on parole, serving time after being "problem bears" in the Valley. We had a big cinnamon-colored bear pick up a fuel canister near our heads, cart it off a few feet away and explode it in its mouth. It was last seen heading for water. Not a pleasant experience for the bear and I offer my apologies for not putting the fuel canister in the bear canister. The next day, after climbing the South Face, we were heading up the valley towards the Charlotte Lake and we ran into what looked exactly like the same bear. He or she stared us down and started walking towards us. Prudently, we started up the manzanita slope. The bear followed us and I picked up a useless tree branch. To be continued...
By Chris Owen Administrator From: La Crescenta and Big Bear Lake Oct 14, 2008
Late season is good to avoid the crowds but be prepared for bad weather - got seriously rained on one Labor Day weekend, about halfway up, water just pouring down the rock, freezing cold, bit of an epic.
I often wonder what it would be like in the depths of winter....
Roper's 50 Classic Climbs is also a great resource because it has a few photos on route, helped me a lot when I first did it in the 80's.
I left a fishing rod in its case at our bivy spot yesterday. If anyone's going to be out there in the near future and could bring it back for me, I'd really appreciate it. Thanks. 717-580-2536
By Chris Owen Administrator From: La Crescenta and Big Bear Lake Jul 3, 2014
I've been going to the Sierra for 30 years and i can honestly say I had only one bear problem trip; it was a trip to Charlotte Dome. A small cinnamon bear bugged us twice in the night, shimmying up the tree where we had hung our food and we had to resort to throwing rocks at it, upon which it came right back down the tree, came at 9 then 12. The next day after the climb of the South Face we heard a large branch snap near our camp in the woods, ran into camp to see a huge black bear standing there; we kept running and shouting and it ambled away.
That was back in the early 90's before the canister regulation. Once they issued that i stopped rock climbing in the backcountry, my pack was too heavy and it kinda took all the fun out of it.