Clark Canyon is the most developed sport-climbing crag in the Mammoth area. The routes are highly concentrated, with convenient anchors. The canyon is in a beautiful setting with views of Mt. Morrison and the surrounding peaks. The rock is very featured, with pockets galore. The routes tend to be short with cruxy bulges that must be passed.
The climbs are located in two primary areas. The trail to the main area heads right up a steep slope when the crag is reached. The trail to the Potato Patch goes left up a wash. Beyond Potato Patch, a quarter-mile up the gully, is the Swiss Cheese Boulder, which features a couple of steep top-ropes (11b/c) and some excellent bouldering.
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These crags are located in a dense Jeffrey pine forest on the east side of U.S. 395 just north of Mammoth. The cliffs are eroded outcrops of welded volcanic tuff. This area receives a large amount of snowfall in winter, so climbing is often not possible until summer. The roads in this area, although graded, are narrow and roughly washboarded.
To get to the Big Springs area, start at the junction of Hwy. 203 and U.S. 395 and drive north on 395. About five miles is the Crestview rest area. Just past the bottom of the hill, turn right (east) on the paved Owens River Road (2S07). Follow this road a few miles to a left turn at Big Springs campground (2S04). This road heads north past the campground, turns to dirt and begins winding up a grade to the Indiana Summit Natural Area. The following descriptions all begin at this point:
At 2.2 miles north of the campground, a sign marks the exit for the road to Alpers and Clark canyons (2S06). Follow this road just over a mile to the cattle gate. A half-mile past the gate, road 2S06 joins with 1S47 coming in from the left, and soon passes through a second cattle gate (please close all gates behind you). Continue on this road through a meadow and around a ridge into the main branch of Clark Canyon. At a 4-way intersection, turn right and follow this road to a loop parking area. From here, a trail leads north up a dry creek bed to the main cliff area.
From the exit for the town of Mammoth lakes on highway 395 drive 6.9 sm north bound pass a rest stop to N 37o 44' 8.0'' - W 118o 58' 13.3'' CCA006 and make a right (heading NE true) on Owens River Road (a good paved road number 2S07). Drive 1.8 sm to N 37o 44' 51.8'' - W 118o 56' 20.2'' CCA007 and make a left (Big Spring campground entrance). After a few meters make a right towards Alper Canyon on road 2SO4 (that road will soon turns to gravel). Drive 2.0 sm to N 37o 46' 24.9'' - W 118o 56' 46.5'' CCA008 and make a sharp right on narrower road 2SO6 (there is a fork after 0.9 sm , stay right at the fork on the main track). Drive 1.6 sm to N 37o 45' 47.9'' - W 118o 55' 27.0'' CCA009 and make a sharp left on 1S47 through a gate (there is a fork after 1.4 sm , stay right on the main track). Just after the gate there is a short steep downhill (possibly best with 4WD). Drive 2.0 sm to the small round parking at the end of the road at N 37o 47' 5.4'' - W 118o 54' 55.1'' CCA010 (there is a fork after 1.5 sm , stay right at fork on the main track).
The climbs are about 10 minutes walk up on a narrow trail north of the parking. King Spud 11c is at N 37o 47' 23.8'' - W 118o 54' 51.1'' CCA011 .
Camp at Big Springs or off of any forest service road. Bring water.
"Mammoth Area Rock Climbs" by Marty Lewis and John Moynier