Cross the outlet of Evolution Lake and walk around the west side of the lake for about a quarter-mile until reaching a tree-lined shallow notch. Hike up the notch and down the other side for three hundred feet or so. Then, traverse southwest toward the meadow below The Hermit, carefully choosing ledges to avoid reaching cliffs. From the meadow, follow any appealing line straight up and towards a bench below The Hermit at about 11,450 ft.
From the bench, cross a talus fan towards a prominent gully that diagonals up and towards the right. The gully is class 3 with loose rocks and sand. When the gully ends, down climb a little into the central main chute. This chute is filled with even more loose rocks and sand and is an unpleasant mess. Find an appealing class 3 ledge that leads out of the chute and towards the summit block. The class 3 climbing beyond the central chute is quite fun.
The Summit Block
The Hermit has a distinctive, 25 foot-high summit block consisting of coarse granite. The east side has a 5.6 crack that is visible from Evolution Lake, 1.5 miles away. The crack is wide and difficult to protect without very large protection. It is possible, so I've heard, to lieback it. The south side has a class 4, 10-foot high toe. Over the toe is a short but stout 5.8 face climb that is also difficult to protect. Since protection is sparse, the easiest way to climb the summit block, besides free-soloing it, is to set up a top rope by throwing a rope over the top and have another climber belay from the other side of the block. We found that it was easiest to climb up the toe on the south side then throw the rope over the block to the north side, since the rope toss is much shorter. Then, we climbed the 5.8 face. Make sure that the rope is over top of the summit block and not gracing one of its sides. Because the block has many small crystals protruding from it, the top rope set up described above is abrasive to ropes.
A 30-meter rope is sufficient to span across the top of the summit block. 3 or 4 cams under two inches are handy for protecting the class 4 toe under the summit block. The 5.6 crack route is difficult to protect without 3 or 4 cams at least 5 inches in size. The 5.8 face is unprotectable. Bring a helmet--the class 3 sections have many loose rocks.
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