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United States, California—Sierra Nevada, Mount Williamson, Direct South Arete

Mount Williamson, Direct South Arête. The south face of Mount Williamson is a complex wall of chutes, ribs and faces. The easiest approach to the face is via George Creek. However, this is closed for ten months of the year as a bighorn sheep preserve. The alternative is a strenuous hike through the Williamson- Trojan Peak saddle, which is closed for only five months of the year, from July 15 to December 15. On June 13, Steve Porcella and I made the strenuous hike and established camp near the massive face. The next day we climbed the most prominent arête on the face. We started on the right side of an enormous triangular tower in the center of the south face and followed a large dihedral for the first three pitches. At that point, the dihedral disappeared and the arête rises to the left as a wildly exposed knife-edge. Three pitches up the arête took us to a large flat ledge. Above the ledge was the crux, a right-facing comer. An exposed class-4 pitch took us to the top of the tower, where we unroped for the remaining 1500 feet to the summit. Most of this is class-4 with an occasional fifth-class move. The rock is excellent throughout the climb. (IV, 5.8.)

Cameron M. Burns, Los Alamos Mountaineers