This huge granite cathedral, with its flying buttresses (the Celestial Aretes, Venusian, Moon Goddess, and Sun Ribbon) on the left, and the truly awesome buttress of Dark Star in the center, is the premier long rock climbing area of the Palisades.
From Big Pine on 395 drive up the road to Glacier Lodge; trailhead is signed on the right.
Hike up the North Fork of Big Pine Creek past Cienega Mirth, Lon Chaney's old cabin, to First Lake, then, just past the lake cut left and head towards the far (south) side of Second Lake - this is where I camp (4.3 miles, 2,300 ft elevation gain). The base of Temple Crag can be reached by hiking up a scree slope to the west of the lake. Some people hike to Third Lake and approach the climbs from there. Some people bivouac beneath the Crag (especially useful for Dark Star).
This is a classic long-day alpine route on good rock with some unique features, not least of which is a Tyrolean traverse. Most people start from an obvious crack in a left-facing dihedral (as seen in Mike Morley's picture here near a big grey scar, some distance (300'? 500'?) from the base of the snowfield and the start of Dark Star. The main drawback is the descent through Contact Pass, though you could bypass t...[more]Browse More Classics in CA