Mount Huxley, North Buttress, Left and Right Sides. As seen from Evolution Lake, the north buttress of Mount Huxley (13,086') rises into a classic horn split by a deep cirque. In July, Dick Duane and I climbed a series of perfect finger cracks on the left side up to a long, fractured ridge of giant blocks that leads to the summit. A 5.9 pitch ascending a one-inch crack splitting perfect alpine granite offered some of the best rock climbing in the entire High Sierra, Tuolumne Meadows included. The rock looks as if it were quarried yesterday. While Dick and I were climbing this route (III 5.10a) on the left side of the north buttress, Hans Florine and Jerry Dodrill made a very similar new route (III 5.10a) up long clean dihedrals on the right side of the cirque. We met on the summit and descended south to Sapphire Lake.
On the same trip, Hans and I noticed a surprisingly featureless 250-foot cliff above Sapphire Lake. Late one afternoon, we headed up the only obvious cracks on the right side of the cliff. They begin beside a large block, traverse left on a ramp, then go up and left on a vertical wall to the top. The 5.11a face climbing crux came on the third and final pitch, where Hans traversed right onto the open face and back left again 30 feet higher to avoid an overhanging seam that we both had backed off from leading.