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North America, United States, California, Sierra Nevada, Temple Crag, Backside of Beyond

Temple Crag, Backside of Beyond. Temple Crag has a hidden face. Last October, when the Celestial Arêtes retreated behind snow and ice and shadow, I recalled a sunnier side, and Jim Herrington and I went over Contact Pass to have a look. The south face is half a mile wide with less relief and simpler architecture, but we still wandered over slabs and past shimmering tarns for a couple of hours before the main features settled into focus and we chose a line. Near the right edge of the face, a crack/chimney line runs straight up to the left side of a small tower on the skyline. Beginning 40 feet to its right, we were soon in the system and two pitches up. Above, the crack bulged into an unappetizing chimney, so we again took to the wall on the right. Steep face climbing kept opening upward, cruxing just as it linked to a traverse left back to the chimney, now narrowed to offwidth. Increasingly blocky climbing led straight up two more pitches. By then it was dark and snowing lightly, but the angle broke and an easier pitch went by starlight and headlamp to an excellent summit (six pitches, 5.9+). We named the line for Allan Bard. “You know you are on the backside of beyond when you feel the crisp bite of winter air in your lungs and the sting of wind-driven snow on your face,” wrote Allan. Can this be the first new route on Temple Crag in 21 years?

Doug Robinson, Moving Over Stone