Loc: San Carlos, CA
Trip: Clyde Minaret - Rock Route
Trip Report: Clyde Minaret is the highest point of the rugged Minaret group of peaks near Mammoth Lakes. I have wanted to climb in the Minarets since I first viewed them from the summits of Mount Ritter and Banner Peak in 2007. I took the Rock Route, which is the easiest route up to the summit, but still involves exposed class three scrambling and a class 4 downclimb. I reached the summit 5:03 after beginning, took 15 minutes on the summit, and returned in 4:27, for a total roundtrip of 9:45. Since I had climbed Mount Sill in the Palisades the previous day, I was hoping for a shorter outing, but the route up Clyde Minaret proved to be involved with quite a bit of scrambling and spicy snow/ice sections. All in all, a very enjoyable climb with spectacular scenery.
I started at Agnew Meadows at 4:55 am and reached Shadow Lake just in time for alpenglow over Mount Ritter and Banner Peak. I continued on up the canyon to gorgeous Lake Ediza and then up snowfields to Iceberg Lake. Icy snow covered the steeper terrain between Iceberg Lake and Cecile Lake so I put crampons on. I reached Cecile Lake about 2:50 after beginning (9.5 miles) and thought the summit could be an hour away, however, I ran into some complexities. First, I tried to avoid the icy steep snow by accessing the ledge at the start of the route from the south side but was turned around by a gaping bergschrund. Realizing the north access was the only route that would work, I retraced my steps and swung around to the north side. This aspect is in the shade most of the day resulting in steep snice, inappropriate for my Kahtoola aluminum crampons. Fortunately, I found a way to ascend to the ledge by climbing up between the snow and the rock. The next complexity was a series of steep snow patches in the narrow chute of the Rock Route. It took some time, but I found ways around these snow patches with occasional 4th class climbing. Finally, I had some routefinding issues on the upper part of the route by climbing to the right of the rib crest where the climbing was more difficult. I finally made it up to the false summit, downclimbed the class 4 section, and made my way to the summit. Great views of the Minarets, Ritter/Banner, and the many alpine lakes below. The clarity was great with Mono Lake clearly visible in the distance. After a break on the summit, I began the descent with the route seeming much more obvious from above. Downclimbing the steep, icy snow below the ledge was tedious, but I was happy to find that the snow between Cecile Lake and Iceberg Lake had softened up. From Lake Ediza I jogged most of the way back to Agnew Meadows, arriving 9:45 after beginning at 2:40 pm.
Panorama from Lake Ediza
The Minarets from Lake Ediza
Ritter and Banner
Clyde Minaret from Cecile Lake
Ritter and Banner from the summit
Looking down to Iceberg Lake and Lake Ediza
Mono Lake in the distance
Minarets from the summit Michael Minaret
4th Class step
A look up the final portion of the rock route to the ridge crest.
Gendarme with Iceberg Lake
Steep snow patches in the Rock Route chute.
Icebergs in Cecile Lake
Icebergs in Iceberg Lake
Minaret Range from Lake Ediza
View from Shadow Lake in the afternoon.
Gear Notes: Crampons, ice axe, helmet.
Approach Notes: Trail in great condition to Lake Ediza. Snow patches remain between Ediza and Iceberg Lake. All snow (icy in the morning) between Iceberg Lake and Cecile Lake.