Mount Cotter Northeast Arete of North Peak

Fresno, California

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The peak is named for Richard Cotter, who served as packer for the Whitney Survey. Cotter accompanied Clarence King on the first ascent of Mt. Tyndall. King later described their efforts in his book Mountaineering in the Sierra Nevada. “I do not wonder that Brewer and Hoffman pronounced our undertaking impossible . . . when we shook hands there was not a dry eye in the party.” The sharp northeast arete of the north peak of Mt. Cotter was climbed in 1984 by long-time Sierra climbers Dick Beach and Steve Rogero. Beach was one of the more active Sierra climbers in the second half of the twentieth century. Beach described his Sierra adventures. “At first we were seeking to climb all of the summits along the Sierra Crest. When we completed that task, we began climbing up one ridge (starting from the valley floor) to the summit of a peak, then we’d traverse north or south along the Sierra Crest before running out of daylight, and then we’d head back down another ridge to the valley again. In this way, we planned to traverse the entire length of the Sierra Crest.” Unfortunately, Beach’s plans were cut short in 1995 when he was tragically killed in an off-road vehicle accident while exploring the desert ranges near his home in Bishop. In addition to his climbing exploits, Beach was a much-appreciated teacher at the Home Street Middle School in Bishop. A large chunk of Sierra granite stands as a monument to him on the campus of the school. Beach’s frequent partner Dave King continues to climb today in their tradition, making long traverses as day trips and often bicycling to the trailheads from his home in Bishop. The impressive 1,000-foot north face of the north summit of the peak was climbed by Galen Rowell, Tony Qamar, and Marek Glogoczowski (IV 5.9 A3). Rowell reported, “The climb from a distance appeared to be at least half artificial, but we only used aid in two places. The first was a long and difficult tension traverse low on the route. The second was a piton for aid at the beginning of a 5.9 jam crack. There were several difficult free pitches, especially in the first half of the blank appearing wall.”

Mount Cotter: Northeast Arete of North Peak Professional Review and Guide

"The peak is named for Richard Cotter, who served as packer for the Whitney Survey. Cotter accompanied Clarence King on the first ascent of Mt. Tyndall. King later described their efforts in his book Mountaineering in the Sierra Nevada. “I do not wonder that Brewer and Hoffman pronounced our undertaking impossible . . . when we shook hands there was not a dry eye in the party.” The sharp northeast arete of the north peak of Mt. Cotter was climbed in 1984 by long-time Sierra climbers Dick Beach and Steve Rogero. Beach was one of the more active Sierra climbers in the second half of the twentieth century. Beach described his Sierra adventures. “At first we were seeking to climb all of the summits along the Sierra Crest. When we completed that task, we began climbing up one ridge (starting from the valley floor) to the summit of a peak, then we’d traverse north or south along the Sierra Crest before running out of daylight, and then we’d head back down another ridge to the valley again. In this way, we planned to traverse the entire length of the Sierra Crest.” Unfortunately, Beach’s plans were cut short in 1995 when he was tragically killed in an off-road vehicle accident while exploring the desert ranges near his home in Bishop. In addition to his climbing exploits, Beach was a much-appreciated teacher at the Home Street Middle School in Bishop. A large chunk of Sierra granite stands as a monument to him on the campus of the school. Beach’s frequent partner Dave King continues to climb today in their tradition, making long traverses as day trips and often bicycling to the trailheads from his home in Bishop. The impressive 1,000-foot north face of the north summit of the peak was climbed by Galen Rowell, Tony Qamar, and Marek Glogoczowski (IV 5.9 A3). Rowell reported, “The climb from a distance appeared to be at least half artificial, but we only used aid in two places. The first was a long and difficult tension traverse low on the route. The second was a piton for aid at the beginning of a 5.9 jam crack. There were several difficult free pitches, especially in the first half of the blank appearing wall.”"

Activity Type: Climbing
Nearby City: Fresno
Class: Class 5 - 5.5
Local Contacts: Kings Canyon National Park
Local Maps: USGS Mt. Clarence King, Kearsarge Peak
Grade: Grade II
Driving Directions: Directions to Mount Cotter: Northeast Arete of North Peak

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May 2018