Start by hiking the John Muir Trail at the Devil's Postpile trailhead. Follow the trail for 3/4 of a mile till one crosses the Minaret Creek and enters the Johnston Meadow. The Minarets Lake Trail then begins at this point (signs with milage pointing to Minaret Lake are posted). Follow the Minarets Lake Trail up a few switchbacks and up over Volcanic Pass. The trail continues along Minaret Creek and then rounds the northern side of Minaret Lake. A climbers trail then wanders up through scree and slabby areas (look for ducks marking the way). Continue up slabs to Cecil Lake. A few established bivy sites are on the western side of the lake. Total milage from trailhead to Cecil Lake is 7.5 miles. When making the approach from Cecil Lake and up to the South Face, head left and around slabs. Continue upward toward the Clyde-Ken Couloir. Once in the couloir, the route begins at a ledge next to a rib within the couloirs right side. Alternately, one can begin the Southeast Face via a direct start (blocky 5.9+, 2 pitches...highly recommended!!) just at the mouth of the couloir (look for obvious red rock).
The original route begins by traversing a ledge (5.6) which is directly across from the Ken Minaret toe, inside the Ken-Clyde couloir. Traverse this ledge for approx. 120 ft to the right. Belay at the end of the ledge. Start the next pitch by following right facing corners and up cracks that parallel the corners. Continue up and right (aiming for a notch in the sky line) for the next 4 pitches (5.7). This section offers climbing between 5.7 to 5.9 as long as one keeps an eye on the notch (just below a left facing dihedral). Just before the notch, belay at a large ledge and continue right around a corner (5.8) to some blind hold (they're there!!). Start up the left facing dihedral (bomber hands!) to an alcove. From the alcove, climb up and right and past a white rock scar. Climb past the scar and mantle up onto blocks (5.8... a bit spooky!). Above is a large dihedral. Climb the left facing dihedral for 100 ft to a ledge. From here, traverse left and slightly up (50ft) then straight up 100ft (5.6). Use long slings here! Rope drag and loose blocks are encountered. Another pitch up and left for a full pitch (5.7). The rest is 4th class blocks to the summit. There is a variation to the start of this route (as mentioned in the approach notes) that goes up a blocky right facing corner (5.9+). The overall route sucks up gear like a cronic alcoholic does in a Las Vegas cocktail lounge! A true classic! Divinity
Bring a good deal of slings for the sharp corners and deep cracks. This route will take medium to large gear (pro to 3"). Yes, hexes and nuts are ideal for weight management but cams go even better. Most of the cracks are just meant for cam placements. Be sure to bring a 60 meter rope (as the norm goes) and headlamps for the decent (regardless of time of day). One can decend either the Rock Route, 4th class (on the east ridge) or the Glacier decent via the west side around Ken Minaret and then east into the South Notch to Cecil/Minaret Lakes.
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