Mt. Hitchcock and Arctic Lake Wall: New Routes
California, Sierra, Sequoia National Park
In late July, Adam Ferro and I hiked over the Whitney-Russell col and set up camp by a small tarn 500’ below Arctic Lake. From there we approached the long northeast face of Mt. Hitchcock, which consists of many subpeaks and attractive buttresses, few of which have seen any attention. We completed two great crack climbs here.
Starlight Dihedral (1,600’, IV/V 5.11) follows a good line with multiple dihedrals in the lower part of the wall, linked to a prominent corner system by a very run-out but moderate slab. Welcome to Krackizstan (1,600’, IV/V 5.11a) climbs a much less obvious wall that appeared clean and continuous when seen from our descent of Starlight Dihedral. The route follows awesome cracks from bottom to the top. Both routes are in a stunning setting with quality climbing and deserve traffic. One has already been repeated by a motivated Bay Area couple—in a single weekend!
Adam and I also climbed the second prominent corner and crack system from the eastern edge of the main Arctic Lake Wall. Too Much Fun (550’, III 5.10) follows high-quality moderate cracks to the ridge, which we scrambled to the summit.
Brian Prince and I returned to the Arctic Lake Wall about a month later to tackle a direct line pulling several of the giant roofs closer to the middle of the formation. After getting stormed off on the first attempt, we completed Arctic Beast (700’, III 5.11c).
– Vitaliy Musiyenko