Sunday, September 18, 2011
Matthes Crest, Yosemite National Park
Jon & Nick
Jon & Nick (as noted)
After a successful trip on the Northeast Couloir of Mount Gilbert the day prior, Jon and I headed on yet another early alpine start for some ultra-classic climbing on Matthes Crest. Matthes Crest is one of the most unique climbs I have ever done. Approaching from the Cathedral Lakes trailhead, Matthes Crest is a very unique granite knife-ridge that was glacially formed. Although it is only about 500 vertical feet from the ground, the knife-ridge itself runs for over a mile long. Similar to most parties, we climbed to the North Tower and rapped from the dedicated rap rings.
Ultimately, it rightly deserves its recognition for its classic status, offering awesome climbing, great exposure and unbelievable views.
Jon and I got up for another early alpine start and were moving on the Cathedral Peak climbers trail very early. After some mix-up on the transition to the Matthes Crest approach trail by Budd Creek (we crossed much too early), we were once again making quick time on the 6-mile approach.
After gaining some elevation above tree line, we were greeted to first light hitting Mount Conness and North Peak off in the distance. Photo: Nick
Budd Lake in the early light was ominous, but beautiful. Photo: Nick
The approach to Matthes Crest is unbelievable, moderately gaining elevation while opening up to amazing views of the High Sierra, Tuolumne Meadows and the Northern areas of Yosemite National Park. Here, first light hits Cathedral Peak, and amazing alpine climb. Photo: Jon
We headed down into the drainage next to Matthes Crest and were clearly the first team back there. We were excited to have the route to ourselves for the early morning. Jon looking up at the side of Matthes Crest. You don’t really capture/understand the exposure and beauty until on the actual route itself, however. Photo: Nick
Upon gaining the base of the ridge, we realized the route would be basked in sunlight as the side we had been standing on was sheltering the rising sun. Photo: Jon
Nick leading up the first vertical pitches to gain the ridge climbing. Jon and I had rock-paper-scissor for the leading privileges. Photo: Jon
Upon gaining the ridge, you start in a massive long climb of easy third and fourth class terrain mixed in with moderate fifth class moves, all with 500 feet of exposure on either side of you. And unbelievable views! Photos: Nick & Jon
High on the Crest! Photo: Nick
The further you travel, the better the climbing gets! Photos: Nick, Nick & Jon
At times the climbing is so exposed! It was soooooo awesome! Jon heading up the ramp to oblivion. Photo: Nick
Jon posing down off in the distance. Photo: Nick
Nick following, walking the tightrope on some fun terrain. Photo: Jon
At times you could also make the climbing more interesting and exposed depending on which line you took. Here, Jon makes the most out of it. Photos: Nick
Some shots of Nick in the distance (red jacket). Photos: Jon
After leading up to the top of the North Tower, we rapped down to the base. Jon chilling at the top of the North Tower (which, for the record, is the best climbing on the route with either a 5.7 vertical crack/face climbing or 5.8 OW crack to the top – in each case followed by a fun 5.4 chimney… it was a fun lead). Photo: Nick
Looking back at a good chunk of the route. Photo: Jon
Jon rapping down from the North Tower. Photo: Nick
What an excellent weekend out!