North American Classic Climbs

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Temple Crag

Sun Ribbon Arête

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Temple Crag presents as much quality climbable terrain as any peak in the high Sierra. Its northern exposure is a massive and complex set of arêtes and buttresses separated by less-desirable steep couloirs. The arêtes provide the quality climbing, of course, and three of the best are on the left side of the face: the Venusian, the Moon Goddess, and the Sun Ribbon. All are worthwhile and quite similar in nature, but the Sun Ribbon Arête is the longest and thus has more of everything you came for. There is even a possible Tyrolean traverse, should you choose to mess with it for the novelty. Although long known as a 5.9+ route, the short crux section can be easily bypassed via an excellent 5.7 pitch more consistent with the personality of the route; indeed, the original line seems just a bad job of route-finding. The route description provided in this collection describes both variations. This is a five-star route in any guidebook you choose to pick up for the Sierras. This route is rated "black diamond" because of its length and commitment. 24 pitches can be documented if you choose to belay from bottom to top, retreat would be a complicated affair likely involving escape up a neighbouring gully, and the approach and descent are long, fatiguing affairs. It goes without saying that you should have a very early start from a high camp and a stable weather forecast before committing to this climb. The first ascent of this and most of the routes on the peak was done by guides based in Bishop and guiding in the Palisades. Don Jensen was the driving force behind many of the routes.


Alpine Rock




Palisades, Sierra Nevada Range, California (near Bishop)



G11, G37, W40


IV, 5.9+ or 5.7


Route Descriptions & Maps:

First Ascent:

D. Jensen, W. Miller, R. Schwartz, J. Fischer. 1969


Trip Reports:

Clark 9/02