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North America, United States, California, Sierra Nevada, Mount Darwin, Southwest Arête

Mount Darwin, Southwest Arête. While camped at Evolution Lake in July, I noticed a surprisingly clean and well-defined granite arête on the 13,831-foot Mt. Darwin’s jumbled and broken southern wall. The arête rises continuously apart from the main wall for more than 2,000 feet from a bench above the inlet of the lake. I set out alone one morning with a 9 mm rope and a few cams to self-belay if necessary. Third-class scrambling brought me to a steep buttress of white granite laced with 5.8 cracks, which I managed to solo with a tail line to haul my pack with water and a camera. From there, an exposed, easy ridge angled higher to another headwall with more 5.8 climbing just below a prominent pinnacle a few hundred feet from the top. Getting past the 100-foot-deep notch separating the pinnacle from the mountain proved to be the highly exposed crux of the climb on perfect rock. (III 5.8)

Galen Rowell