American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

United States, California—Sierra Nevada, Split Mountain, "Horeshoe Arete"

  • Climbs And Expeditions
  • Climb Year:
  • Publication Year: 1990

Split Mountain, “Horseshoe Arête.” While climbing Middle Palisade, Cameron Burns and I noticed a massive ridge coming off P 13,803, curving west, northwest and finally north, encircling Lake 11,599 and forming a huge north- facing bowl. In late August, we established a camp under the west side of Split Mountain and started up the arête without ropes or hardware. The first mile was class-3 and then it steepened to sections of class-4. About halfway up the ridge, just past the junction of the Cardinal-Split ridge, we came to a precipitous notch. Deciding that the opposite wall looked too steep for soloing, we returned to camp and moved to Cardinal Lake. The next day, we returned to the notch and ascended a couloir to our previous highpoint. Cameron led the pitch on the opposite side of the notch, which was the crux of the climb. From there, we climbed mostly unroped, sometimes dropping to either side of the ridge to avoid loose blocks and towers. We finally reached the north summit late in the day and descended the south-side route. The route is 3.5 miles long and varies from superb to dangerously exposed on fractured rock. (IV, 5.6.)

Steve Porcella, Unaffiliated

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