Ascent of Crystal Crag on 2021-07-06
|Other People:||Solo Ascent|
|Date:||Tuesday, July 6, 2021|
|Ascent Type:||Successful Summit Attained|
| Elevation:||10377 ft / 3162 m|
Ascent Trip ReportPast episodes of Planet Money kept my mind occupied on the long drive from San Francisco to Mammoth--a drive once again made longer by the fact that I had to drive over Sonora Pass instead of through Tuolumne. I arrived in Mammoth while Tracie and her family were still on their hike (near Lundy Canyon), so I had to decide what to do for the afternoon. My leg hadn't fully recovered from the riverboarding accident, so I thought I might take it easy and find a spot to fish. But seeing how close I was to Crystal Crag, and remembering how short of a hike it is, I found it hard to resist a return visit.
I remembered looking down the west side of the peak when I was there with Pat, and thinking that you could scramble up it just about anywhere. I decided to test that theory, seeing as I had already completed the south ridge twice before. After a short cross-country approach along the stream connecting Crystal Lake to Lake George, I headed toward what looked like the summit area from a random location near the base of the west face. A series of large ledges on good granite led me to the notch between the north and south summits. I tried climbing directly along the north ridge to the higher south summit, but I wasn't fully confident on account of the imperfect leg and the fact that this was my first time using the newly-finished Blackwing shoes. So I eventually backed off and descended 50 feet to traverse and climb back up to the summit directly from the west face. Overall I thought the scramble was easy and enjoyable and I was pleased with the performance of my Blackwings. This is a low risk, high reward climb that I think would make for an excellent introduction to class 3 scrambling.
I descended most of the south ridge until I found a west-facing sand/choss chute that led down to the vicinity of Crystal Lake. I brought my rod with me and made some casts in Crystal and later in Lake George, but nothing bit.
Car-to-car in about 4 hours. (Very rough estimate.)
|Summary Total Data|
| Total Elevation Gain:||1498 ft / 456 m|
| Total Elevation Loss:||1498 ft / 456 m|
| Round-Trip Distance:||3.2 mi / 5.2 km|
| Grade/Class:||Class 3|
| Quality:||7 (on a subjective 1-10 scale)|
| Route Conditions:||Maintained Trail, Unmaintained Trail, Scramble, Exposed Scramble|
| Weather:||Pleasant, Calm, Clear|
Just about perfect!
| Gain on way in:||1448 ft / 441 m|
| Gain Breakdown:||Net: 1348 ft / 410 m; Extra: 100 ft / 30m|
| Loss on way in:||100 ft / 30 m|
| Distance:||1.3 mi / 2 km|
| Route:||West Face|
| Start Trailhead:||Lake George 9029 ft / 2752 m|
| Loss on way out:||1398 ft / 426 m|
| Loss Breakdown:||Net: 1348 ft / 410 m; Extra: 50 ft / 15m|
| Gain on way out:||50 ft / 15 m|
| Distance:||1.9 mi / 3.1 km|
| Route:||South Ridge|
| End Trailhead:||Lake George 9029 ft / 2752 m|
|GPS Data for Ascent/Trip|
GPS Waypoints - Hover or click to see name and lat/long
Peaks: climbed and unclimbed by Christopher Wessels
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