Steeple Peak, East Temple, Haystack. Lured by the unclimbed northeast face of East Temple, David Black, Alan Bartlett and I completed three new routes on the seldom climbed rock forming the east faces of East Temple, Steeple Peak, and Haystack. Leaving the Big Sandy entrance in late afternoon, we camped at Black Joe Lake and moved up to near the base of East Temple the next morning. That afternoon we climbed the east ridge of Steeple Peak picking one of the many variations possible on the mostly third-class route. NCCS III F9. The summit provided a good view of both the northwest and northeast faces of East Temple as well as Little El Cap across the valley. The next day we started work on the northeast face of East Temple. A prominent right-leaning crack system at bottom center of the face seemed an obvious starting point, but closer observation revealed loose rock and extensive vegetation, making a left-leaning lesser system 200 feet to the right more attractive. Three pitches up we intersected the original prominent crack. Hoping for more secure rock above, we continued three more pitches to a horizontal band and reached a small bivouac ledge. The next morning we traversed left one pitch and ascended a clean left-leaning crack which brought us directly below but still a long way from the apex of the face. Two more pitches left us on a highly vegetated sloping ledge. While Alan pioneered the only all-aid pitch on the discontinuous face directly above, Dave and I gardened, creating a plausible bivy for three sardines. The final day began up the fixed-aid pitch, continued up and left, and culminated just left of a large overhanging finger of rock jutting from the summit. Perhaps more ascents would lessen the rotten rock and dirt. NCCS VI F9, A.3. Perfect weather wouldn’t let us rest and the next day we ascended a fine route on the east buttress of the south summit of Haystack (see photo in Bonney’s guide, 3rd edition, p. 511b). Nine classic pitches of diverse climbing made up for the difficulties encountered on East Temple. Beginning just right of center on an obvious plate that leans on the east buttress, we face-climbed to a deep crack that continued several pitches thinning and steepening to classic F9 jamming. NCCS III, F9.
Rick Bradshaw, Great Basin Bozos