East Arete

Page Type: Route
Route Type: Trad Climbing
Season: Summer, Fall
Time Required: Most of a day
Rock Difficulty: 5.10a (YDS)
Number of Pitches: 7
Grade: IV


A fantastic backcountry route. Unlike some other Sierra routes, there is no class 3 finish, the climbing is excellent all the way to reaching the crest.

Rock is a little loose in spots but not bad at all and climbing is varied. On most pitches there is more than one way to go.

The topo in Moynier is semi-useful, sometimes it seemed like we were on route, sometimes not.

Galen summed up the route well: "The climbing is consistently 5.7 - 5.9, with a couple of 5.10 spots". My view is that the only potential 5.10 spots were on P3, the rest of the pitches were 5.9 at most.

I would not call the route grade IV but am sticking to the FA's original rating.
Ruby Wall East Arete

Getting There

Follow Mono Pass trail to Ruby Lake. Follow a use trail around the north side of Ruby Lake and when convenient head up the talus slope to the base of the wall. This approach works for all routes on the east Ruby wall (such as Central Route and Daphne). Most likely you will need to cross a small snowfield en route to the base. In July we did not need crampons or axe, the snow was soft and not steep.

Route Description

The route starts on the very left of the wall. We started from a couple of small ledges.

P1: around 5.7, easy. Almost 60 meters. Semi-hanging belay.
P2: 5.8ish, nice belay ledge. ALmost 60 meters.
P3: Up the face with a couple of vertical cracks. Roughly half way up there is a flaring crack on the left and a squeeze chimney on the right. I took the chimney. At the top of this pitch you can climb a short right facing finger crack (10ish) or a short squeeze chimney on the right. Comfy belay ledge. Almost 60 meters.
Ruby Wall East Arete

P4: From belay ledge traverse a bit to climber's right and head up broken up terrain of various flakes. Around 50 meters, again a comfy belay ledge.
Ruby Wall East Arete

P5: Up easy 5.8-5.9ish terrain, many ways to go. I stuck to the arete proper - lot of fun and exposure. almost 60 meters, take care to manage rope drag.
Ruby Wall East Arete

P6: Up again following the arete, not hard at all. Almost 60 meters again.
P7: Final pitch, not hard at all. Top out on the ridge, maybe 20 feet south of the summit.

We are "moderate" climbers and the route took us 4 hrs 15 minutes, with very quick transitions at belays.

Essential Gear

Double set of cams to #3, had one 3.5 and used it but probably could do without. Nuts.


Head north over the summit and down into a deep notch (class 3/4). Climb up from the notch (class 3) and reach the sandy slopes above Mono Pass. Follow the ridgeline to the Mono Pass trail and back to the lake.

Take care to have enough daylight left for the descent. We epiced, took a wrong turn and ended up downclimbing some sketchy terrain.

If possible, do not leave anything at the base - it would be a PIA to go back up to the base to retrieve it.