American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

North America, United States, California, Sierra Nevada, Mt. Clarence King, Northeast Ridge

  • Climbs And Expeditions
  • Climb Year:
  • Publication Year: 2007

Mt. Clarence King, Northeast Ridge. Pavel Kovar and I discovered and completed the first ascent of one of the few remaining unclimbed technical ridges on a major Sierra Nevada mountain, the northeast ridge of Mt. Clarence King in Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Park. We attempted this route during two separate three-day efforts in September. The final attempt, between September 15-17, involved nearly 30 miles of hiking over three high passes, 10,000'+ of vertical gain, one and a half days of technical climbing, and a cold bivouac on the summit ridge. On the approach from the east side of the Sierra, we experienced winds exceeding 50 mph and unusual cold for the time of year. The night before the climb, our thermometer registered 14°F. Fortunately, the weather improved, and we were able to continue. While on the ridge, we belayed 16 pitches and simul-climbed/soloed more than a half of the route. After approximately one mile of technical terrain, the northeast ridge merges with the previously climbed east ridge and follows it to the top of the mountain.

After running out of daylight and enduring a cold bivouac near the summit, we descended the regular route to our base camp in Sixty Lake Basin, walked 13 miles back to the Onion Valley trailhead, and drove home for seven hours, thus staying mostly awake for 48 hours straight.

The route features a lot of sustained and exposed ridge traversing and is rated IV+ 5.7.

Misha Logvinov

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