Clyde Minaret Southeast Face

Mammoth Lakes, California

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This spire, the tallest of the Minarets, is a worthy memorial to Norman Clyde. Clyde made the first ascent of the peak in June of 1928. His steep and exposed route on the north face was accomplished (as usual) solo. He wrote of the peak, “Presently, I swung up to the crest, only a few yards from the summit. It was indeed an eyrie. Only a few feet in diameter, it dropped away sheer for hundreds of feet on every side except the one which I had climbed. The sun, nearing the horizon, cast horizontal rays across the Sierra, stretching far southward. From every peak, elongated shadows were creeping eastward. To the north, a line of jagged pinnacles . . . loomed ruggedly against the blue sky, their summits lighted up by the evening rays of the sun.” Rising above Minaret Lake, the attractive southeast face of Clyde Minaret is one of the most impressive and visible walls in the range. The members of the first ascent team were all very experienced climbers. However, in spite of their experience, the imposing southeast face kept them from feeling very confident. Fortunately, once on the rock, they found an abundance of square-cut holds that helped connect discontinuous crack systems. Their original route (5.8) was somewhat circuitous to avoid more difficult climbing. However, Peter Mayfield, an experienced Yosemite guide, later pointed out that more direct routes were available almost anywhere on the face.

Clyde Minaret: Southeast Face Professional Review and Guide

"This spire, the tallest of the Minarets, is a worthy memorial to Norman Clyde. Clyde made the first ascent of the peak in June of 1928. His steep and exposed route on the north face was accomplished (as usual) solo. He wrote of the peak, “Presently, I swung up to the crest, only a few yards from the summit. It was indeed an eyrie. Only a few feet in diameter, it dropped away sheer for hundreds of feet on every side except the one which I had climbed. The sun, nearing the horizon, cast horizontal rays across the Sierra, stretching far southward. From every peak, elongated shadows were creeping eastward. To the north, a line of jagged pinnacles . . . loomed ruggedly against the blue sky, their summits lighted up by the evening rays of the sun.” Rising above Minaret Lake, the attractive southeast face of Clyde Minaret is one of the most impressive and visible walls in the range. The members of the first ascent team were all very experienced climbers. However, in spite of their experience, the imposing southeast face kept them from feeling very confident. Fortunately, once on the rock, they found an abundance of square-cut holds that helped connect discontinuous crack systems. Their original route (5.8) was somewhat circuitous to avoid more difficult climbing. However, Peter Mayfield, an experienced Yosemite guide, later pointed out that more direct routes were available almost anywhere on the face."

Activity Type: Climbing
Nearby City: Mammoth Lakes
Class: Class 5.6 - 5.8
Local Contacts: John Muir Wilderness
Local Maps: USGS Mt. Ritter
Grade: Grade IV
Driving Directions: Directions to Clyde Minaret: Southeast Face

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May 2018