To reach the base of the climb, park at the locked gate on Summit County road 851 about 2 miles down off of county road 850 (directly off of Highway 9) Follow the McCullough Gulch Trail for about 1 mile to the lake at 11,900 feet. The Arete starts directly south of the lake. Hike around the East side of the lake to get to the base of the climb.
The Arete starts just above a talus slope on the south east side of the lake at 11,900 feet. For the direct start, climb the obvious slab wall at the top of the talus slope. This is about a 5.7 or 5.8 crack with lots of places for pro. The easy 5.4 start is east and down the talus slope a bit. The first two pitches are about 5.4 or 5.3 on easy and enjoyable slab climbing. From the top of the slab, the ridge becomes aparent before you. You will see three towers on the ridge above you. You can avoid these towers on the left and stay on easy lower 5th class climbing or take the towers dead on for an enjoyable 5.6 or 5.7 move or two. The exposure on the towers is substantial and adds a bit of fun to the climb. There is a bit of downclimbing on the back side of each tower, but nothing harder than lower 5th class and its worth the extra time to climb the towers. Above the towers, the ridge eases off and you are confronted with a few more smaller gendarmes. Stay to the right of these and work your way up and right to the summit ridge. The last part of the climb is mostly 3rd class to the summit ridge which is easy 2nd class over talus to the summit. Descend the East Slopes Route or like we did use a shuttle and park one car at Blue Lake Damn and descend the Cristo Couloir.
Bring a small rack of cams .5 to 3 and a 50 to 60 meter rope. (mostly if you decide to do the direct start) Protection is really not too difficult to find, but you may find that you will want to leave your rack and rope in your pack in the interest of time and ease of movement. Just be comfortable with exposure and make sure you can move safely over lower 5th class rock without a rope. We brought a light rack and never used it. This saved valuable time and we made the summit before11am (with a 6am start at the trailhead) Thunder storms were upon us by 12noon and we were already at the car by then with a quick descent down the Cristo Couloir.
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