I had been planning to do Sun Ribbon on the weekend of 8/19 but last week, I received a call informing me that my partner would not be able to make the trip due to family considerations. I was a little bummed because Sun Ribbon was high on my list of to-do Sierra climbs this season. Switching gears, I contacted Spencer and asked him if he wanted to do Sun Ribbon. No hesitation. Spencer was up for it and plans were made. He is a solid partner.
We made the approach up to 2nd Lake on Friday and set up our bivy site. Our initial plan was to do Sun Ribbon Arête on Saturday and Moon Goddess Arête on Sunday. Because we had heard that the start of Sun Ribbon was not totally obvious (although once you get to the start, it is a VERY obvious dihedral), we made a late afternoon hike up to the base in order to check out the start. The start is WAY high up on the snowfield.
After making our way up the snowfield, we tossed our ice-axes and 3rd classed our way to the base of the climb. Starts out at giant left-facing open book. Depending on the guidebook, Sun Ribbon goes at 18-23 pitches and is rated at 5.9 Grade IV. Spencer fires off the first pitch in good fashion. We simul-climbed most of the remaining pitches to the 2nd gendarme where the airy Tyrolean-Traverse awaits us. For those not familiar with the climb, there is a 20 foot wide and 20 foot deep notch in the arête. At this point, you lasso a block on the other side and rig a Tyrolean. You do have the option of downclimbing but rigging the Tyrolean is part of the fun. After about 6 tries, Spencer nailed the block and we made our way to the other side via this airy Tyrolean. Definitely, this is one of the highlights of the climb. A Kodak moment. Next pitch is the crux pitch and Spencer works his way up this in good style. I follow with both backpacks (we had earlier agreed that whoever lead the crux pitch would do it without his backpack). Once again, we simul-climbed most of the remaining pitches until we topped out. We figured that we did it in about 12-15 pitches.
After topping out, we dropped our packs and made the 20-30 minute 3rd class march to the summit register. Scanned through the register and saw a few familiar names including Ben Craft & JK Vawter. The summit of Temple Crag is a magnificent view. The Palisade Crest, Norman Clyde Peak, Mt Gayley, and Mt Sill rise above us to the south. It’s been a great climb. One of the best Sierra climbs I’ve ever done. We make our way back down Contact Pass to our bivy. Once down, I was weak and dehydrated from the heat and lack of water. It’s been another great weekend in the Sierra.