Mount Clarence King Climber's Log

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wdimpfl - Dec 27, 2017 1:24 am Date Climbed: May 15, 1968

When I was a young man  Sucess!

Jon Van Cleave asked me to join him in doing a recognizance on the South East face for a new route. We drove from Newport Beach, where we were in college at UC Irvine, to Cedar Grove in Kings Canyon National Park. The next morning we packed in 20 miles up the Woods Creek Trail, wrapping around the mountain to our camp at the lake below the South East face, where Jon set up with his camera and tripod to photograph the SE face. the next morning we climbed to to the summit via the South Face before returning to our camp. In attaining the ridge south of the summit we noticed that Gardner Creek Canyon went straight back to intersect the long trail we had come in on, so we decided that we would short cut the long approach by hiking down the canyon. That worked great (at first). We ran down the scree slope into the pristine canyon and hiked easily cross country through the high meadow at tree line. There we encountered an Outward Bound boy that was doing as survival outing. As we descended deeper the going became much more difficult: fighting our way through thick brush as the canyon narrowed and struggling past giant house sized talus blocks that had avalanched from the steep walls above. Finally, exhausted, we arrived at the end of the canyon only to find that there was a vertical cliff back down to the Woods Creek Trail. Our first rappel led to a flake in the cliff with a small tree, allowing us to string a second rappel. Our rope didn't quite reach so we had to drop off the end of the overhanging rappel. After that we had five more miles of trail back to the car: one of the "death marches" that left me with little interest in returning to the mountains (for about a month).


Romain - Jul 15, 2016 1:53 am Date Climbed: Jun 3, 2010

South Face  Sucess!

In a very snowy year. Wonderful climb and great summit block. With R. Zeithammer.


haishan - Sep 11, 2013 12:37 pm Date Climbed: Sep 1, 2013

regular route  Sucess!

Summit moves trickier and headier than expected! And, we couldn't find a class 4 route to the summit blocks... a few sections of mandatory 5th. Fun climbing though!

Ol Walsher

Ol Walsher - Jul 27, 2013 1:30 am Date Climbed: Jul 24, 2013

King Spur  Sucess!

Been wanting this one for a while. Awesome summit block!


Daria - Sep 22, 2012 3:08 pm Date Climbed: Sep 1, 2012

2nd times a charm  Sucess!

Dayhiked with Rick Kent. After previous bailout many years ago with Sean (bailout from thunderstorm). What a GREAT summit block, FUN and intimidating!


seano - Sep 2, 2012 6:46 pm Date Climbed: Sep 1, 2012

4th time's the charm  Sucess!

Finally. Now that Dragon Pass is legal, the approach is much more reasonable. The summit move is intimidating, but not hard. Trip report.


bc44caesar - Sep 10, 2011 8:16 pm Date Climbed: Sep 9, 2011

South Face  Sucess!

Climbed from Sixty Lakes Basin. The ledge you traverse to get to the saddle was pretty cool. I did not find a 4th class way up the face (too far to the left), so I jammed up a crack or two. The move from the lower block to the summit is intimidating, but easy enough once you commit to the flop! Downclimbing I found the chimney, but did not go down the jam crack Secor mentions (it's more of a corner really). I stayed on the ridge proper, downclimbing an exposed fist/offwidth crack which looked reasonable from above. The route photo posted here (w/ a yellow line) shows the best route and keeps difficulties at 4th class up until the summit I think.

Vitaliy M.

Vitaliy M. - Jul 26, 2011 3:07 pm Date Climbed: Jul 24, 2011

South face  Sucess!

Very original summit block.Got this guy on a 2 day trip through Onion valley. Got Mt. Gardiner too.


mrchad9 - Jul 26, 2011 2:46 am Date Climbed: Jul 24, 2011

South Face  Sucess!

Up from Sixty Lakes Basin, nice climb up to the south face with Vitaliy M. and Max. Enjoyed the moves onto the south summit block and the final jump to the top was exhilarating.


sierratrekkin - Jul 19, 2010 7:44 pm Date Climbed: Jul 12, 2010

South Face...

Climbed Mount Clarence King along with Mount Cotter on a five day trip into the Sixty Lakes Basin/Rae Lakes area, July, 2010...


granjero - Mar 3, 2010 9:06 pm Date Climbed: Jul 14, 2007

South Face  Sucess!

Awesome climb, super fun moves at the top!

Desert Solitaire

Desert Solitaire - Oct 2, 2009 11:34 am Date Climbed: Sep 24, 2009

Solo Kings Spur Traverse  Sucess!

Camped below at 60 Lakes and started the day on Clarence King. The summit blocks were fun and not scary at all. Sadly, there was no summit register on top, even after searching for 30 minutes around the whole vicinity of the summit. To avoid the 5.4 jam crack, there's also a cool bouldery face move to gain the South block that goes at 5.5 face. The exposure isn't extreme (about 10-15 ft), and its more fun than the crack.

UteZ - Jul 21, 2009 1:35 pm Date Climbed: Jul 16, 2009

Spectacular  Sucess!

Fun climb!
The hike through Mosquito county was less exciting, but worth the while.
Unfortunately my camera decided to stay at the top, below and over from the bottom of the rappel. Should you head up there, could you keep an eye out for it??? It's in a black soft sunglass pouch. And maybe sent the me the chip inside. I do care about the camera as well, as I now have to return to my ancient film camera.
If you're even contemplating going up, stop hesitating. It's worth the trip!!!

Desert Solitaire

Desert Solitaire - Oct 2, 2009 11:35 am

Re: Spectacular

Hi UteZ,

Unfortunately, I didn't find your camera in the area. I cleaned out all the old slings on the rappel stations while downclimbing, but still no camera. Hope it turns up before the winter snows kick in!

UteZ - Jul 23, 2012 1:00 am

Re: Spectacular

Msg to raydoubleu: Unfortunately I have no e-mail to reply to directly but either way:
Wow! Thank you so much for your e-mail.

I wish it was mine as it had many family/riends pictures on it.
(And our summit pic as well ;-) )
Unfortunately mine was a Canon.

Hope you had a great trip up Mt Clarence King.

kevin trieu

kevin trieu - Sep 2, 2008 3:19 pm Date Climbed: Aug 31, 2008

exciting!  Sucess!

technically not difficult but sure was exciting! The lack of a bolt on the top of the summit block probably deter a lot of folks from attempting it.


lefty - Sep 14, 2007 9:24 pm Date Climbed: Sep 10, 2007

South Face  Sucess!

Part of an SCMA trip. We were only the third party of the year to summit. Great fun negotiating the summit block


kovarpa - Sep 25, 2006 4:46 am Date Climbed: Sep 16, 2006

Northeast Ridge  Sucess!

FA with Misha over two days. Lot of fun. Secor's beta on East ridge is a major sandbag - at least the portion from the plateau to the summit. See Misha's NE ridge route page for more info.

Matthew Holliman

Matthew Holliman - Oct 28, 2005 1:07 am

Route Climbed: South Face Date Climbed: Sep 25, 2005  Sucess!

My second time up there, and I still have no idea where the class 4 route is up to the base of the summit block. Glad we brought the short rope this time. But dang, that summit block is cool! It's intimidating, but it turns out to be much easier than it looks--and actually easier to downclimb (both the final move, and the awkward 5.4 crack) than it is to ascend. Perfect views. Dayhike from Onion Valley.


tdoughty - Oct 16, 2005 12:33 pm

Route Climbed: south face  Sucess!

interesting summit block.

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