Very good climb, followed by the West Ridge of Gray Peak. Full TR here.
Dayhiked from Happy Isles - about 32mi and 9.5k'. Took slabs up just east of Bunnell Point bypassing brush that had mired me on a previous trip and then went up the center of the west face above 'Gendarme Robert' (staying right at the top of the approach 'gulley') to the north ridge on the NW Arete route. There was some spicy slab climbing and a 4th class scramble but nothing too severe before a great sidewalk-in-the-sky 3rd class finish.
My third year in a row to summit Clark--it's a favorite. I'm now convinced that the purported 3rd/4th class route onto the NW Arete simply does not exist. My partner and I (Waide L) agreed our route was a 5.6 or so. Whoever goes for this route should either be prepared to solo 5.6 or bring a rope.
We did it in two pitches on a 30m rope as follows:
P1: From the left side of the top of the gully, start up an awkward hand crack (5.6) into a 4th class trench up to a small shrub pine tree for a belay stance.
P2: From the pine tree ascend to the right along a smooth, low-angle face to just under a roof (the roof is obvious from below). Getting under and around the roof is the 5.6 crux. From there it is a face climb with good holds but poor pro onto the arete. The arete itself is super-exposed class 3 on beautiful granite, everything one could ask for.
Did the NW Arete; 2nd try, after an unsuccessful attempt maybe a week prior. This time, after camping at Little Yosemite Valley after (another) unsuccessful Half Dome NW face attempt, figured it would be good to do this, while having 5 less miles to hike than from the standard TH. Left LYV campground at 9.20. Summited 15.00ish. Incredible views, super fun climbing! Left summit at 15.30. In attempt to find shortcut on downclimb, found myself in sketch 5th class terrain. Obviously no misfortune, but super glad to just make it back to the arete proper & just downclimb the same way I came up. Back at the campground ~22.00. Long, interesting, & fun day!
climbed during the year when there were no snow in the high country late into winter and all the high lakes were perfect for ice skating.
Climbed this route with dkangas and three other climbers from SMG. Long approach (9.5 mi) from Mono Meadows TH then another (1.5 mi) on summit day. Good solid route with lots of interesting and exposed climbing. The highlight of the day was of course the step-across below the summit. Damn little for hand holds and a step that must be made with authority. James Gardiner best described this part of the route after he and Clarence King summited the peak in 1866. "It was, I think, duty's call that nerved us. That leap, like most dangers, seemed more perilous after it was made than before; it was not the length of the spring -- that was easy -- but to light in exact balance on a projecting rock that scarcely held half of one foot, while the remainder of the body hung over a precipice 1500 ft. deep, was a thing requiring most exact judgment."
Climbed some harder-than-necessary variation of the NW ridge after a long, long slog over from Starr King. Down the SE ridge, which is definitely less cool than the NW. Trip report.
Good ascent with Bill and Laura climbing directly from the gendarme saddle at the top right side of the gully. Multiple rap stations and some interesting moves gave me pause a couple of times of my choice in footware. Missed (or forgot about) the airy step on the SE arete as Bill and I downclimbed an exposed cl.4 weakness on the east side. And then downed trees forever!
Came back with same group to get our revenge. No thunderstorm this time! Took about an hour on the summit to take in the views!
Long dayhike from Mono Meadows with Vitaliy M. and dkangas after being chased off by electrical storms the year before. We got very lucky with the wind as the smoke from the nearby fires on Glacier Point road did not affect our views at all. Climbed onto the arete from the saddle where the ridge in the middle meets the southwest face. Excellent day.
Returned to NW arete after getting stopped by a lightning storm last fall. Day-hiked from Mono Meadow with Chad and Vitaliy. To gain the arete we climbed to the saddle between the large gendarme and the west face itself, scrambled up some class 3, then set up an anchor for the class 5 portion. Superb day.
Up NW Arete, down NE face:
One of my favorites from my years working in the High Sierras.
Day-hiked from Happy Isles with Vitaliy and Chad for attempt on NW Arete. Forecast was for the famous 20% chance of thunderstorms. At the top of the gully (the route start) dark clouds alternated with sun as we put on gear, so we decided to climb up to the arete and "see." After one pitch with a 30m rope we encountered a crux section for getting onto the top of the arete. Unexpectedly difficult climbing (seemed more like class 5 than the advertised class 4 to me), and with now very sketchy weather, I bailed. Vitaliy and Chad continued to the top of the arete. Within minutes they were engulfed in electro-static goo, rocks humming, as a huge t-storm rolled over us. I was able to rappel down from my position using a long piece of webbing while the others hunkered down under a roof on top of the arete. Fortunately, everyone was okay. A very scary 45 minutes. Lesson for me: pay attention to the weather. But Clark is a beautiful mountain--I'll be going back. Car to car was 18 hours. To avoid bushwhacking hell, head up as soon as you see exposed granite from the trail after Bunnell Point. In general, staying as far west as possible is a good rule for navigating the first off trail section.
Dayhiked via NW Arete from Happy Isles TH with Joel Wilson and Heyning Cheng. I carried a rope and rack to lead the exposed sections for the others, and it came in handy! I started on the 4th class crack, but found two sections that I'd say were 5.4-5.5 (so 'classic' Sierra cl. 4?). We avoided the bushwack hell on the way up but couldn't avoid it on the way down.
Climbed with Kris Kilmer from Merced Lake HSC where we worked that summer. We had to be back by 4PM to help fix dinner for guests, so was a quick trip. Climbed east slope (not too hard) and descended via north slope I think....
Pretty. Should've done a different route though.
Loop dayhike from the Valley, up via Little Yosemite and down via SE Arete and Illilouette drainage. 1500' of great ridge scrambling and a little stiffer near the summit. Spectacular and exhausting.
Very long, hot, dusty approach, for about 50 feet of 4th class fun. We brought rope but nobody used it. It's nice to check it off, but I'm not going to do this peak again anytime soon.