American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

Lone Pine Peak, new routes

California, Sierra Nevada

  • Climbs And Expeditions
  • Author: Myles Moser, AAC
  • Climb Year: 2012
  • Publication Year: 2013

On Lone Pine Peak, Amy Ness and I completed three new routes, a previously unrecorded route, and also a first free ascent. The first new route was Full Quiver (14 pitches, IV 5.9+ R). This route ascends the Three Arrows formation, which lies on the east side of Lone Pine Peak, and is comprised of not three but actually four towers. Prior to our ascent, Fred Beckey had the only existing route on the formation. Amy and I began just above the toe of the buttress on the left side of the formation, ascending mixed terrain on knobs, slabs, and gendarmes. Our goal was to hit every tower on the ridge via whatever viable means. There was some good rock, bad rock, and run-outs, and the adventure of climbing 14 pitches of untraveled terrain in the quickest way possible during a sunny winter day was unforgettable. The snow at the base made the approach a lot easier, too.

On the south side of Lone Pine Peak, Amy and I established Pertergio Dieythno (III 5.9). This is the obvious white fin that protrudes off the south side as seen from the Stone House. We began at the cleanest part of the rock and rode the arête the whole way. Beautiful white-pink granite, perfect cracks, bulletproof red patina, roofs, chicken-heads, and exposed knob traverses comprise the eight fantastic pitches to the summit. No fixed protection was left behind.

Next up was the Serrated Ridge (10 pitches, IV 5.9+), also on the south side of the Lone Pine Peak. The route starts behind the Summer Ridge Route and in front of the Czech Pillar. Intent on a first ascent, we were surprised to find fixed protection: first a hex, then some nuts, then bolts on the arête. We believe this to be a second ascent of an unrecorded route, possibly climbed by Fred Beckey or Galen Rowell. Either way, this superb route should be noted and is highly recommended.

The third and longest route Amy and I climbed was Windhorse (21 pitches, V 5.11 or 5.10 A3, Binder-Holland, 1999) on the south side of Lone Pine Peak. Located deep in the Turtle Creek drainage, we began our climb as an attempt for the first winter ascent of this long, hard route, but it soon turned into a six-day push for the first free ascent. Mild winter weather allowed us to climb comfortably on the rock, yet melt snow for water. After freeing a section of hooking (A3) through a beautiful dihedral, we were able to find an alternate path to free a tension traverse. A memorable 5.10 offwidth squeeze, a three-pitch dihedral, and a 13-year-old can of Sapporo left in a crack remain the most vivid memories of this awesome climb.

The final route we completed was on the northeast ridge of Lone Pine Peak: the Northeast Arête(8 pitches, III 5.9+). This striking arête can be seen from the town of Lone Pine. It is a fantastic adventure route, which contains great exposure toward the final portion. We established the route in a day with no fixed protection. Once finishing the main difficulties, one can continue 300’ up the northeast ridge for a mega day or descend the west side to the slopes below.

Myles Moser, AAC

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