East Face

Page Type
California, United States, North America
Route Type:
Summer, Fall
Time Required:
Less than two hours
Rock Difficulty:
5.5 (YDS)
Number of Pitches:

Route Quality: 1 Votes

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East Face
Created On: Nov 1, 2005
Last Edited On: Feb 24, 2006


The mostly class 3 route up the middle of the East Face can be reached from Margaret Lakes Trail starting at either the saddle just south of the peak or from Big Margaret Lake.

From the saddle south of Cockscomb, traverse around the east side of the peak, maintaining elevation until near the center of the East Face. Look for a talus/boulder fan marking the easiest route up. If you climb too high before reaching this point, you will find yourself on class 4-5 terrain - not necessarily a bad thing unless you are trying to avoid a spicier ascent.

If starting from Big Margaret Lake, leave the north shore heading northwest towards the obvious East Face. Pass Bathtub Lake on the south and west sides, then climb up benches and ledges through breaks in the cliffs leading to the center of the East Face. You should be able to approach the base of the route with nothing more than class 2 climbing.

Route Description

The center of the East Face is marked by a large chute with a correspondingly large talus/boulder fan spreading out from the bottom of it. Climb over large blocks lower down, changing to loose, sandy talus higher up. The summit block is left of this chute, so when about 1/2 of the way up the chute, leave the chute and climb class 3 flakes and ledges towards the distinctive summit block above. Aim for the left (south) side of the summit block.

Once at the summit ridge, move around the south side of the summit block to the west side. A large slab about 4-12" thick leans up against the more vertical summit block (it's actually about 65 degrees on this side). Use hand jams on the south side of this slab to pull yourself up onto the slab itself, then climb to the pinnacle of the slab itself. The slab tapers to a small point about 8 1/2 feet short of the top of the summit block. The top two feet of the slab is detached from the larger slab below, which is a bit unnerving since you have to climb atop the smaller piece. Your perch before the final move is about 4 inches square, dropping off to the abyss which is the West Face behind you. A 1/2 inch crack runs vertically up the summit block from the perch. Good for protection, but not big enough for finger jams. High up, just below the top are small finger ledges on either side of the crack. Use these to get your feet higher before getting a better reach to the top above. You can use the crack to partially jam portions of your boot soles as you make this last reach. Plan on a controlled descent back to your 4"x4" perch should you fail on a first attempt. If you don't land back on the perch and you aren't roped up, you aren't likely to have a second chance.

Essential Gear

With hiking boots and no rope, it's a pretty spicy 5.5 summit block with some heart-stopping exposure. Rock shoes would make this significantly easier, and a very short rope (30' would suffice) would ensure one's safety from the exposure. A few small cams to 1/2 inch would suffice to protect the route.

Miscellaneous Info

If you have information about this route that doesn't pertain to any of the other sections, please add it here.

East Face

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