My wife, Lisa and another couple Mark & Gail Schlenker decided to climb Mount Clark several months ago. It was decided that I would be the trip 'leader', since I have the most technical rock experience. We thought that even with three relative neophytes it would be easy to climb the 'class 4' North West Arete. The approach was accomplished by following the drainage from Mount Clark to the the trail. This didn't prove to be to difficult. We covered the distance from our camp below Mount Starr King to the base of the facewest of the arete in about 3 hours. However, this is where the difficulties began. Being cautious, we roped up at the point that we thought was our access to the arete (the beginning of the class by climbing 4).
I made several attempts to find a place where I thought the climbing was only class 4. Finally settling on ascending a short, sloping squeeze chimney for about eight or ten feet. The next short pitch went up a broken area that be could be called class4, ending at a small tree. Next , I started up through an area that went up and right across a sloping area up a flake to a small ledge (about one by three feet) that was going to be very cozy with four people on it. When I looked up at the next section we would have to surmount, we would have to do a short section of crack climbing up to a small roof. I was expecting that we should be at an area that became easier(class 3), by now but the end of climbing I deemed to be class 5 was nowhere in sight.
This is where I decided (as the so called 'leader') that we were either off route or the climbing was more difficult than we had expected or were prepared to overcome. At this point, we decided to let our better judgements prevail. I downclimbed to the last station and we rapelled back to the base, with a single one hundred foot rope.
I write for two reasons, to record our presence and to see if anyone has more info regarding the proper route for a future attempt.
The only route descriptions I used were pretty light on specifics (gleaned from other postings on this page), I look forward to some enlightenment and can accept some chiding for my inability to see the obvious. ( I just didn't see the way)
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