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High Sierra

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Banner Peak 
Black Kaweah, The 
Boundary Peak 
Castle Dome 
Charlotte Dome 
Checkered Demon 
Citadel, The 
Cloudripper 
Clyde Minaret 
Columbine Peak 
Cyclorama Wall 
Darwin Canyon 
Devils Crag 1 
Doodad, The 
Feather Peak 
Hermit, The 
Hurd Peak 
Isosceles Peak 
Junction Peak 
Laurel Mountain 
Little Lakes Valley 
Lone Pine Peak 
Merriam Peak 
Mt Carl Heller and Tulainyo Tower 
Mt. Barnard East Peak (aka Peak 13,680 +) 
Mt. Brewer 
Mt. Clarence King 
Mt. Darwin 
Mt. Emerson 
Mt. Francis Farquhar 
Mt. Goode 
Mt. Humphreys 
Mt. Irvine 
Mt. Lamarck 
Mt. Langley 
Mt. Lyell 
Mt. Mendel 
Mt. Morrison 
Mt. Ritter 
Mt. Tyndall 
Mt. Williamson 
North Guard 
North Peak 
Palisades, The 
Peak 11,874 
Peak 13,048 
Peak 13,332 
Peak 13,360 
Picture Peak 
Pyramid Peak 
Red Slate Mountain 
Sawtooth Ridge, The 
Split Mountain 
Trapezoid Peak 
Whaleback 
Whitney Zone, The 
Winter Alta 
Rest Day:
Nearby Mountain Bike Rides

Tour De Granite
A tough climb up a big rock. Near Auberry, California
Yost Meadow Trail
Underrated and overlooked - this trail is tough and demanding, but SO worth it. Near Mammoth Lakes, California
San Joaquin Ridge Trail
A lung busting climb that rewards you with some of the best views in the region. Near Mammoth Lakes, California
Downtown Trail
An excellent descent from Main Lodge to The Village. Fun for all abilities. Near Mammoth Lakes, California
Horseshoe Lake Trail
An easy trail enhanced by great views of Horseshoe Lake. Near Mammoth Lakes, California
Goodmill
Low tech, rolling trail with great downhills and a few 'pop' climbs. Fun! Near Squaw Valley, California
From MP's sister site: MTB Project
MP will give up to $50k to give to the Access Fund. Join or give and MP will match!

High Sierra  


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Location: 37.27551, -118.67656 View Map  Incorrect?
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Administrators: Chris Owen, M.Morley, Adam Stackhouse, Salamanizer, Justin Johnsen, Kristine Hoffman (sitewide)
Submitted By: Nick Wilder on Jan 29, 2006
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You & This Area
Best routes for YOU in this area
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Palisades from Dusy Basin. From left to right: Mt....

Description 

John Muir's Range of Light...

Deep forested valleys, pristine lakes, beautiful meadows, acres of suncups, huge walls and domes, jagged ridges leading up to windswept nameless summits; all these await you.

Some of the finest granite, most beautiful mountains, and stable weather make the High Sierra a special place for climbers.

Though there are some long monolithic faces (like Charlotte Dome), the majority of climbing is on high altitude mountain walls which follow crack systems. Frequent ledges make for comfy belays. Routes frequently wander a bit, but pro is usually not a problem, and long slings can often be used to tie off a feature and keep the drag down. Of course like all mountain big walls, there are loose blocks, boulders, and rocks on the ledges, so take care with the ropes.

Despite the crowds in a few places, the dreaded permit system means the climbs are uncrowded, the camping is pleasant, and you feel like you've gotten away from it all and found some true wilderness.

In fact some parts of this range are incredibly far from the madding crowd, seek these places out, they are ancient and sacred places. For every crowded classic (a result of the "select" books?) there are a hundred empty just as classic routes.

Some notes about the weather/conditions:-

May-June: Approach to climbs may require taking crampons and ice-axe. Snow can provide a good highway there and back. May and June provide long daylight hours. Weather can be unstable with late arriving winter storms. Cold to cool.

July-Early Aug: Not so much snow, unless it's a big snow year. Suncups begin to develop which can hamper approaches. Still lots of daylight. Stable weather. Mosquitos. Warm.

Mid August - Mid September. No snow, more scree. Late afternoon thunderstorms. Hours getting shorter. Warm to cool.

Mid September - Late October: First winter snow. Less and less hours of daylight. October can be nice though, but not for long climbs. Cool to cold.

Getting There 

The High Sierra runs from the Sawtooth Range in the north, south to the Whitney Group, and covers an area bigger than the entire European Alps - most of it wilderness.

The easiest access is from Highway 395 on the east side, where several roads (thanks FDR) terminate at 7,000-10,000 foot trailheads within a few miles of the peaks, there are also options to cross high passes to access west country. There are also approaches from the west side, they are very beautiful and they tend to be longer and less steep, these are more useful for peaks or crags on the west side.

From the bay area, Highway 120 through Yosemite is the fastest route, even if you're going all the way to Whitney. If you leave after work, you can stop in Tuolumne Meadows (8,800 ft) or one of the Forest Service campgrounds just beyond the park (from 7,000-9,000 feet, and a bit cheaper). All these campgrounds will be full on summer weekends starting in July, but you can reserve sites in Tuolumne Meadows.

From Los Angeles take Highway 14 to 395 for the east side approaches. For the west side approaches take Freeway 5 then Highway 99.

If you're from out of town, you might find a good deal flying to Reno and renting a car.

Most people backpack and camp before climbing a specific route, and that requires an permit on almost all trailheads. Some are pretty hard to get, and you'll need to plan months ahead. A certain number are available on a first-come first-served basis on the day of the hike, if you don't mind starting late.

Permits
For the Inyo approaches go here.
For the Sequoia/Kings Canyon backcountry approaches go here.
For Yosemite backcountry approaches go here.

NOTE: There are a small amount of permits available on a first-come, first-served basis at the applicable Ranger Stations.


Climbing Season



Weather station 5.2 miles from here

186 Total Routes

['4 Stars',32],['3 Stars',85],['2 Stars',41],['1 Star',11],['Bomb',2]
['<=5.6',71],['5.7',22],['5.8',15],['5.9',12],['5.10',39],['5.11',10],['5.12',8],['5.13',0],['>=5.14',0],['',0],['<=V1',0],['V2-3',0],['V4-5',0],['V6-7',0],['V8-9',0],['V10-11',0],['V12-13',0],['>=V14',0]

The Classics

Mountain Project's determination of some of the classic, most popular, highest rated routes for High Sierra:
Northeast Ridge   Easy 5th 1+ 3 I 5 M 1c     Trad, Alpine   Little Lakes Valley : Bear Creek Spire
North Ridge   5.4 4a 12 IV 10 VD 3c     Trad, Alpine, Grade III   Lone Pine Peak
East Face   5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b     Trad, Alpine, 10 pitches, 1000'   The Whitney Zone : Mt. Whitney
East Buttress   5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b     Trad, Alpine, 11 pitches, 1000'   The Whitney Zone : Mt. Whitney
South Face   5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c     Trad, Alpine, 12 pitches, 1500'   Charlotte Dome
North Arete   5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c     Trad, Alpine, 6 pitches, 1000'   Little Lakes Valley : Bear Creek Spire
Southeast Face   5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c     Trad, Alpine, 13 pitches, 1500'   Clyde Minaret
Thunderbolt to Sill Traverse   5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a Easy Snow     Trad, Snow, Alpine, 5280'   The Palisades : Thunderbolt Peak
Evolution Traverse   5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a     Trad, Alpine, 5 pitches, 12000'   Mt. Darwin
Mithril Dihedral   5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a     Trad, Alpine, 6 pitches, 500'   The Whitney Zone : Mt. Russell
Fishhook ArÍte   5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a     Trad, Alpine, 8 pitches, 1000'   The Whitney Zone : Mt. Russell
Sun Ribbon Arete   5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a     Trad, Alpine, 22 pitches, 2000'   The Palisades : Temple Crag
Red Dihedral (aka "Yggdrasil")   5.10 6b 20 VII- 19 E2 5b     Trad, Alpine, 12 pitches, 1500'   The Sawtooth Ridge : Incredible Hulk
Michael Strassman Memorial Route   5.10c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b     Trad, Alpine, 6 pitches, 700'   Lone Pine Peak
The Polish Route   5.10+ 6b+ 21 VII+ 20 E3 5b     Trad, Alpine, 6 pitches, 900'   The Sawtooth Ridge : Incredible Hulk
Bastille Buttress - Beckey Route   5.10d 6b+ 21 VII+ 21 E3 5b A0     Trad, Aid, Alpine, 15 pitches, 2000'   Lone Pine Peak
Positive Vibrations   5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c     Trad, Alpine, 12 pitches, 1200'   The Sawtooth Ridge : Incredible Hulk
Sunspot Dihedral   5.11b 6c 23 VIII- 23 E3 5c     Trad, Alpine, 9 pitches, 1200'   The Sawtooth Ridge : Incredible Hulk
The Venturi Effect   5.12 7b+ 27 VIII+ 26 E6 6b     Trad, Alpine, 10 pitches, 1200'   The Sawtooth Ridge : Incredible Hulk
Solar Flare   5.12+ 7c 28 IX 27 E6 6b     Trad, Alpine, 9 pitches, 1000'   The Sawtooth Ridge : Incredible Hulk
Browse More Classics in High Sierra

Featured Route For High Sierra
Steve Larson on East Ridge of Russell. Does this l...

East Arete 3rd 1- 1 I 1 M 1a  CA : High Sierra : ... : Mt. Russell
Day 1, hike from Whitney Portal to camp at Upper Boy Scout Lake. Day 2 Do climb. Day 3 Hike back to Whitney Portal. Ascend the scree slope north of the lake to the Russell-Carillon Col. Head West up the ridge, keeping to the right where necessary to reach the East summit of Russell. Traverse the summit ridge, mostly on the right until reaching the West summit....[more]   Browse More Classics in CA

Photos of High Sierra Slideshow Add Photo
3 beautiful alpine walls.  Cracks and corners ever...
3 beautiful alpine walls. Cracks and corners ever...
Mt. Humphreys wrapped in storm clouds
Mt. Humphreys wrapped in storm clouds
North Peak from the 20 Lakes Basin
North Peak from the 20 Lakes Basin
Shooting Stars with Checkered Demon in the backgro...
Shooting Stars with Checkered Demon in the backgro...
Sunrise on the MR of Mt. Whitney. Jan '12.
Sunrise on the MR of Mt. Whitney. Jan '12.
Isosceles Peak and Columbine Peak from Dusy Basin ...
Isosceles Peak and Columbine Peak from Dusy Basin ...
Sun Cups and stone. Photo by Blitzo.
Sun Cups and stone. Photo by Blitzo.
Incredible sunset after a typical Sierra thunderst...
Incredible sunset after a typical Sierra thunderst...
Night sky at Iceberg Lake.
Night sky at Iceberg Lake.
View east from Picket Creek Lake across Kern Canyo...
View east from Picket Creek Lake across Kern Canyo...
Mt. Whitney. Photo by Blitzo.
Mt. Whitney. Photo by Blitzo.
The NE view of Seven Gables Peak
The NE view of Seven Gables Peak
A psychedelic Sierra afternoon.
A psychedelic Sierra afternoon.
Evolution Valley.
Evolution Valley.
Ragged Peak reflected in Young Lake.  If you're so...
Ragged Peak reflected in Young Lake. If you're so...
Powell and Wallace from the south (Evolution Regio...
Powell and Wallace from the south (Evolution Regio...
Evening light creates a glow on Mt. McAdie  near C...
Evening light creates a glow on Mt. McAdie near C...
Whaleback, seen from Big Wet Meadow in Cloud Canyo...
Whaleback, seen from Big Wet Meadow in Cloud Canyo...
A moment of 'ahhhhh' -- paradise found  July 2011
A moment of 'ahhhhh' -- paradise found July 2011
Enjoying the view in Little Lakes Valley
Enjoying the view in Little Lakes Valley
Across the Divide, Palisades
Across the Divide, Palisades
Here's a pano shot that I stitched together from t...
BETA PHOTO: Here's a pano shot that I stitched together from t...
Clouds clear after a storm in the High Sierra, CA
Clouds clear after a storm in the High Sierra, CA
Loch Leven (11,000 ft.) near Paiute Pass
Loch Leven (11,000 ft.) near Paiute Pass

Show All 64 Photos

Only the first 24 are shown above.

Comments on High Sierra Add Comment
Show which comments
By kenr
Aug 30, 2013
Crystal Crag is a dramatic peak with some great narrow ridge climbing set among wonderful lakes -- with a short easy approach from near the town of Mammoth Lakes --> see on map

See MountainProject page under "Sierra Eastside" region for
alpine / multi-pitch routes on Crystal Crag
By Jay Schenk
Oct 18, 2014
im looking for a partner to climb high sierra peaks before the season ends. im also looking to climb in whitney portal. id like to get on the bastille buttress. as far as high sierra peaks go i want to do anything classic 5.10 to 5.11. merriam peak... keeler, russell, anything we could still get on. email me.
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