Because of the metamorphic rock, the climbing on this route is steep, smooth rock with angular holds. While there is the occasional hand jam or finger jam on this route, the nature of the rock is steep slick faces with small crimpers for the harder sections, and juggy ledges for the easier sections.
|Pitch descriptions:||Photos:||Photo descriptions:|
|Hike 9 miles on trail from Devil's Postpile to (camp at) Cecile Lake. From Cecile Lake, scramble up talus to the base of the route. ||1. Getting permits at the ranger station in Mammoth Lakes, since we planned to camp overnight at Cecile Lake below Clyde Minaret. Cecile Lake is about 9 miles from the Devil's Postpile trailhead, so this climb is more typically done as an overnight than a car-to-car. Julie and I were lucky to secure an unclaimed overnight permit the day we wanted to hike in.|
2. Between 7am-7pm in the summer, you must pay $7 to take the Red's Meadow Shuttle to the trailhead. Outside of this time you could drive your car to the trailhead and park there.
3. On the trail towards Minaret Lake. Minaret Lake is about 8 miles from where the shuttle drops you off and Cecile Lake (where we camped) is about 1 mile past Minaret Lake.
4. Minaret Lakes, with Clyde Minaret in the distance.
5. I brought my phone for an alarm clock, and was pleasantly surprised to find that I got strong cell service (Verizon) right from our camp at Cecile Lake!
6. Evening sun over Clyde Minaret, with Cecile Lake below. This photo was taken from our camp spot.
|5.7 (original start) or 5.10a (direct start), ~430'|
Original start: A traversing pitch goes right and slightly upwards to a ledge on the face proper.
Direct start: Climb directly up thin cracks in right facing corners for two pitches from an area of reddish rock directly below the face.
|7. Approaching Clyde Minaret from camp, bathed in the pretty morning alpenglow.|
8. Julie leading off Pitch 1 of the direct start up the right-facing corner. This pitch is rated 5.9. Although the route featured a lot of good climbing, my favorite two pitches of the route were the first two pitches of the direct start. It is also the most challenging climbing, since the rest of the route is rated 5.8.
9. Looking up Pitch 2 of the direct start. This pitch continues the great climbing up the corner, mostly 5.9ish with a 5.10a crux at a short offwidth section (can either stay in offwidth or step out right to avoid offwidth, either case seems 10a).
10. Julie leading off Pitch 3 of the direct start, which begins with a short downclimb and then traverses left to intersect the original start below the Pitch 4 crack. Easy 5th.
From the ledge, climb a few pitches up and right in intermittent corners to a big ledge about 20 or 30 feet left of a large left facing corner.
|11. Looking up the crack of Pitch 4. I led this pitch. This pitch starts off with really fun 5.7ish wide-crack climbing and continues up the somewhat-ambiguous corner system. I linked Pitch 4 with the first half of Pitch 5 (pitches as per Croft topo, which is what we used). We ended up doing a few feet of simulclimbing (on a 60m rope) so that I could make it to a nice belay spot.|
12. Julie looking up her pitch, which linked the second half of Pitch 5 with Pitch 6 (per Croft topo). We ended up doing a few feet of simulclimbing (on a 60m rope) so that Julie could make it to a nice belay spot.
13. The old bolt on the ledge at the top of Pitch 6
To get into the corner involves a kind of inobvious traverse down and across on 5.8 face climbing. Start climbing the corner (5.8) to an alcove.
|14. Looking back at Julie at the belay after leading the "inobvious" 5.8 face traverse". The chalk made it more obvious. =)|
Continue up the corner past a white scar to a ledge at the beginning of the large upper dihedral.
|15. Julie leading Pitch 8.|
Up the dihedral to its top at an obvious notch.
|16. Looking up the corner of Pitch 9. I led this pitch. After the direct start pitches, this was my favorite pitch on the route. It was a long pitch, and we ended up doing about 10 feet of simulclimbing (on a 60m rope) so that I could make it to the notch. |
From here either follow a ledge that cuts out left across the face about 30 feet and then straight up (steep 5.7) or just go straight up from the notch (5.7).
|17. Looking up the ridge from the top of the Pitch 9 corner. There are two options here. We went left around the face to climb a 5.7 crack system.|
18. The 5.7 crack system of Pitch 10. I led this to the ridge and set a belay.
|easy 5th, ~400'|
Climb the summit arete to the top.
|19. Looking up the ridge from the top of the Pitch 10 crack system. From here it's about 400 feet of easy 5th, which we simulclimbed to the summit.|
20. A bivy pack as we approached the summit. There was some food, some water, a hot pack, a tarp, and other miscellaneous supplies inside. It looked as if it had been used at least once.
21. Another bivy stash we spotted as we approached the summit. I guess several climbers have gotten benighted on this route.
|Enjoy the view!||22. Julie on the summit.|
23. Smoke from a forest fire near Oakdale.
24. Looks like we missed Alex by a couple of days, too bad, I would have liked to meet him. Sounds as if he was doing the Minaret Traverse.
25. View out towards Mono Lake from the summit.
|There are two descent options: (1) the SW Face route around to South Notch or (2) the Ken-Clyde Couloir (probably only realistic when snow-free). Either one starts off by following the ridge north until it's possible to drop to the left to ledge systems leading down this face (Class 4 or rappel) toward the notch between Ken and Clyde. From the Ken-Clyde Notch, Option 1 goes right and around Ken to South Notch while Option 2 goes left down the couloir.||26. Julie starting down the ridge to the north. |
27. We tried to find the "4th class ledge system" to Ken-Clyde Notch but ended up on some pretty steep 5th class terrain. There were rappel anchors everywhere (obviously climbers come down this in the dark, since there's more rappel anchors than needed that's for sure), so we ended up doing some rappels down towards the notch. I wouldn't want to do this descent in the dark.
28. Julie downclimbing between rappels on our way towards the Ken-Clyde Notch.
29. Looking down the Ken-Clyde Couloir. We had initially planned on going from the Ken-Clyde Notch towards Amphitheater Lake and around towards South Notch for the descent, but our rappels dumped us off on a climbers' path leading down Ken-Clyde Couloir, so we decided to go that way.
30. Once in the Ken-Clyde Couloir, we scrambled down to the base of the couloir, and had to do two rappels. This was our first rappel.
31-32. This was our second rappel.
33. Looking out the end of the Ken-Clyde Couloir. Almost there!
34. Looking back into the Ken-Clyde Couloir. It was completely devoid of snow, which probably made it a lot easier as a descent route.