Climbs the middle of the Celestial Aretes.
Gain the start of the climb by traversing a ledge leftwards which leads to the buttress. Scramble up for a few hundred feet to where the rock gets steeper; rope up here. Several moderate pitches lead to the first impasse, a gendarme which is bypassed on the right with a super-exposed traverse (5.7). Climb down to the base of the Ibrium Tower. A cracks lead to a platform and the second impasse below the flawless section of the Tower (5.8). Pass around to the right, very exposed, and continue to traverse (loose in parts) until cracks lead back to the top of the Tower (5.8). Continue to follow the crest of the ridge, tackling impasses (5.7 or so) until the easy back slopes of Temple Crag are reached. Hike to the summit if there's time - it's worth the view.
Descend down the back slopes of Temple Crag to steep rocks which (rappel) lead down to Contact Pass, snow or scree down from here.
Full alpine rack.
From: Oakland Park, Florida
Aug 21, 2006
This was a long day for a 46 year old man. Not really hard, but long. I went up the day before and cut steps with a rock on the approach snow field. The first half of the climb goes pretty quick until the first tower. This is really the first exciting pitch. The ibrium tower has a nice 5.8 crack and traverse to belay. Be careful down climbing after this to long traverse to a gully. You regain the ridge and think your almost done but you're not. One thing that stood out to me was the protection was difficult. Stoppers did not place well. I think cams are preferable. I'm saying that and I'm old school. The way this rock has faulted seems to be more of a blocky thing with parallel sided cracks. . The route ends below the summit and it's recommended to go to the top for great views. We wanted to find the Rap to contact pass before it got really dark and skipped the summit. We did a double rappel off some really manky anchors in the dark and ended up about 100ft below the pass. I believe you can get off on 1 rappel if you get to the correct spot at the pass itself. it's a tough decent in the dark. (don't forget your headlamp on this one)
Mar 6, 2007
You are correct in your pro assessment. I usually carry double yellow and orange TCU's on these routes. Many seam type features do not hold nuts well on Temple Crag.
The double rap was down and to the right of the "best" rappel. It is extremely exposed to get to the "best" rappel but it lies right at the top of Contact Pass. I have done both ways and your way is a bit safer due to the scrambling you have to do to the "best" and also "shortest" (1 60m gets you down) rap.
|By Tyler Logan|
From: Bishop, CA
Mar 27, 2008
Route-finding on the Ibrium Tower traverse is slightly tricky. Keep looking for the best place to move right, and don't go too high (although if you do, the climbing actually looks pretty good, just harder). The traverse itself is really class 4 if you take it right. The pitch leading back up to the top of the tower has some of the worst rock on the climb and there are many ways to go, some more solid than others. There is another alarmingly loose pitch leading up to the gendarme (I believe). Other than those two pitches, the rest of the climb is pretty solid.
|By Jake Hutchins|
Oct 6, 2008
When you are getting ready to traverse right around the Iberium tower, instead of traversing you can punch right up to the center of the tower. If you do these two alternative pitches you will be super stoked. They both go at 5.9 and are incredible, the first one is some kind of funky (but super fun) finger crack action, and the second is a "splitter" hand crack. This variation made the route for me, it was probably the best quality rock on the whole climb.
From: Prescott, AZ
Oct 17, 2009
rating: 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a
Agree with Jake here; Ibirium Tower direct cracks are the best climbing and rock on the route and make the route 5.9. This route has more loose rock than the Venusian Blind.
From: Bishop, CA
Apr 30, 2010
rating: 5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c
Onsight soloed this last summer. Some exposure, but as with many High Sierra routes it is not sustained. Added a photo with the route annotated on Ibrium Tower. Some loose rock, but I did not find it to be particularly sketchy.
Bring a topo if it's your first time to avoid unnecessary epics.
|By Justin Tomlinson|
From: Monrovia, CA
Jan 28, 2012
An historical perspective, this route (as well as Venitian Blind) was rated III, 5.6 in Steve Roper's "Climber's Guide to the High Sierra" in 1976.
|By Chris Owen|
From: La Crescenta and Big Bear Lake
Feb 2, 2013
That's the route description I used to climb the route in the 80's.