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Temple Crag

 
Temple Crag

Page Type: Mountain/Rock

Location: California, United States, North America

Lat/Lon: 37.10970°N / 118.4917°W

Object Title: Temple Crag

Elevation: 12999 ft / 3962 m

 

Page By: Dave Daly

Created/Edited: Feb 10, 2002 / Jan 7, 2005

Object ID: 150844

Hits: 36532 

Page Score: 93.02%  - 41 Votes 

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Overview


Temple Crag is home to one of the longest routes in the Sierras. Most of Temple Crag's routes are grade III or more. All routes will excite the soul and light the imagination. Wild exposure on towering gendarmes and striking aretes are the highlights. Recommended routes: Moon Goddess Arete (III 5.7), Sun Ribbon Arete (IV 5.9....which features a Tyrolean traverse, Dark Star (V 5.10 A0).....all five star routes. Get an early start on Sun Ribbon Arete (20 pitches) and Dark Star (26 pitches)!! See R.J. Secor's 'High Sierra: Peaks, Passes and Trails' for details. View Temple Crag slide show

Getting There


Take the I-395 to the town of Big Pine. Once in town, head west up to the Glacier Lodge trailhead and park at roads end. If you fall short logistically, the Glacier Lodge store/resturant has a few "amenaties" (hops and barley, porkrinds and greasy sliders are the norm). Take the North Fork trail of Big Pine Creek up to Third Lake (approx 7 miles). There are fairly good bivy sites scattered around the lake. If taking an approach line around the eastern side of Third Lake, use caution in the talus field of Mt. Alice (slides occur often!). Upon summiting, take the southeastern descent to Contact Pass and return to Third Lake. Better yet.....have some fun and glissade!!

Red Tape


A wilderness permit can be obtained from the Inyo National Forest Ranger Station in Lone Pine. As a word of caution, the east side trailhead quotas get "gobbled up" quick. Plan on obtaining a permit in advance through the National Forest Service by email or reservation service by photo. NFS Pacific Southwest web address: click here or call for quotas @ (760) 873-2400.

When To Climb


Ideally, the summer months are the best to climb any of Temple Crags routes (early June to September). It has been known to snow in the middle of July, so prepare for inclimate weather when the cirrus clouds appear! There have been parties that have done winter ascents but the Palisades area seems to get the brunt of any cold front!

Camping


Camping is permitted only with a wilderness permit issued. If you intend on building a campfire, obtain a fire permit as well. The National Forest Service is considering the North Pal and Middle Pal as watersheds. Take your chances on the summit. The Sierras are famous for thunderstorms and lightning!

Mountain Conditions


The best way to get current weather conditions is to call the Inyo Ranger Station or Sierra eastside weather conditions in order to get the most accurate weather forecasts. As far as the rock goes, Temple Crag is one of the more solid monoliths in the eastern Sierras. Routes between Venusian Blind Arete and Temple Crag's North Buttress features high quality granite; fissured and blocky. There are a few loose sections between aretes. Eclipsed Arete and the routes to it's left are known for loose rock on the initial pitches and loose blocks around the final gendarmes...keep a good head about your shoulders and a vigilant belayer. Better yet, use a helmet!

Miscellaneous Info


The summit register is under a large cairn (6 feet!!), where Sun Ribbon finishes. If you find weathered slings at the escape descents, replace them. And as the norm goes, pick up and pack out any trash.......even if it's not yours. A lot of trash has been found in the notch above the third gendarme of Sun Ribbon Arete (tape, Capri Sun juice box, cigarette butts and ......a condom?!?)

KUDOS!!


My personal thanks goes out to rpc and his wife Shirley for the fabulous photos shots of Moon Goddess Arete and their many useful suggestions. Their contributions have made this page a better resource for SP member and climbers in general. I also want to personally thank Alois Smrz for his insight and alpine wisdom. As a respected climber who has put up several FA's in the Sierra, Alois has always been a source of inspiration and a pillar of knowledge. Kudos to you all! Gotta love this crag!!

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Additions and Corrections

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Viewing: 1-5 of 5    
Dave DalyUntitled Comment

Dave Daly

Hasn't voted

Radek-





Deb and I are always curious what you guys have been up to : ) We all need to get together and climb. This year is booked for us but hope to meet up by next year. Have a great season and I'll chime in via email to make up some rough plans to get some "hang time" on some obscure big wall ; )





Cheers to you both,





Dave
Posted Apr 6, 2005 6:59 pm
Steve LarsonUntitled Comment

Steve Larson

Hasn't voted

Some guidebooks mention campsites on the south side of Third Lake without saying exactly where they are. It's a bit of a sandbag. From the stream crossing at the east end of Third Lake, follow a climbers trail up to the top of the moraine. Then proceed about a quarter of a mile, more or less in the direction of the North Buttress, as if you were heading up to Contact Pass. Just when the situation seems completely hopeless, you will emerge from the huge talus into a sandy area. Don't stop too soon. It just gets bigger and flatter. If you camp here, make sure there is either snow to melt or bring ample water, as otherwise you will go thirsty. It is also possible to proceed a few hundred vertical feet higher towards Contact Pass, where another large sandy area suitable for camping can be found. Again, make sure there is snow, or bring your own water.
Posted Nov 4, 2004 11:29 pm
rpcUntitled Comment

rpc

Voted 10/10

Dave,


Thank you very much for the kind words and thank you for putting up one of our shots as sig. photo for the page (I just saw this). Your Temple Crag page put the thought of going for one of the classic lines on the Crag in my head in the first place.


Cheers and good climbing to you and Deb!


radek
Posted Apr 6, 2005 5:32 pm
Dave DalyUntitled Comment

Dave Daly

Hasn't voted

Radek-





Deb and I are always curious what you guys have been up to : ) We all need to get together and climb. This year is booked for us but hope to meet up by next year. Have a great season and I'll chime in via email to make up some rough plans to get some "hang time" on some obscure big wall ; )





Cheers to you both,





Dave
Posted Apr 6, 2005 6:59 pm
Eric OUntitled Comment

Eric O

Hasn't voted

Thanks for the well made page on Temple Crag, Dave. I wanted to say maybe the recommendation of Moon Goddess should drop down a notch (or many notches) since it seems to be particularly loose lately. I had been hearing this from everyone I mentioned it to all summer, so I went up to take a look yesterday by climbing it. Although it was certainly climbable (i'm still in one piece after completing it) I was constantly marveling at how loose and ready-to-go a lot of the rock was. My exact thought at the time was "wow, i wouldn't come back and repeat this, even with a rope or two". Too much danger to the rope, too much danger to the second, too much danger potentially caused by the rope.





What I'm saying is, right now, I would not recommend MGA to any friend of mine, or even an unfriend. I would gladly share beta on it and discuss it thoroughly if someone asked me about it, but I wouldn't begin a general discussion of Temple Crag by using MGA as my first example in a list of classic "five star" routes to climb there. It's also notable that Peter Croft rates it merely "good" while he rates Venusian "awesome". I agree, any loose terrain on Venusian is much more reasonable/manageable than some of what Moon Goddess currently provides.





What do you think? Maybe if enough others agree, MGA could be featured less prominently in the intro paragraph to this page.





There's this one contributing psychological factor too. A lot of climbers look upon Temple Crag for the first time, naturally they say "wow, let's do a route on that!" -- "well, which one?" ... they look in the book and a natural first pick for a great number of climbers would be the one route that is frequently rated 5.8: Moon Goddess in this case. 5.8 just seems to be one of the most attractive grades that a great number of climbers want to climb in alpine settings. Manageable but challenging, etc. The majority (note I'm only talking about a numerical/statistical majority here, not everyone or our best friends or any other measure) don't want to climb Sun Ribbon or Dark Star their first time without a partner who's done it before. They also don't want to feel like they're doing the easiest 5th-class route on the peak. So they gravitate directly to Moon Goddess. And from the ridiculous amount of unstable rock I saw yesterday, I have to say that this is like a numerical gun pointing at their heads. I'm curious how others feel about this.
Posted Aug 12, 2005 9:56 pm

Viewing: 1-5 of 5    

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