Aspiring mountain guides on the Crystal Crag Traverse during an AMGA guide training program. Mammoth Crest in the background.
II, 4th Class - 5.10 Crystal Crag is not much of an attraction to High Sierra peak baggers fixated on 14'ers and better known multi-day adventure climbs, but anyone with an ounce of mountain climbing spirit will want to climb this craggy spire on first sight from Lake George in the Mammoth Lakes Basin. The traverse from North to South is an outstanding alpine ridge climb and a rare Sierra gem so close to the trailhead. Aside from the lofty, exposed climbing, the highlight is the "crystal pitch" that climbs up a beautiful white quartz dike to gain the ridge crest.
There are many possible beginnings on this climb to suit many levels of climbing ability. The most popular are the 5.8 and 5.5 starts, but there are easier and harder variations for all abilities. For those with extra energy, we can add on a few pitches of fun and challenging sport climbing on the Northeast side of the mountain before or after the traverse. This makes a great day out for any level and makes an excellent training peak for bigger climbs!
"Cayce and I just wanted to express our appreciation and pass on a heartfelt thanks to SMG after a fantastic adventure with you guys on Crystal Crag earlier in July. We both had a fantastic time, and learned more with you guys than I thought possible in the span of two days. I think I speak for both Cayce and myself when I say, we'll be back for more!" -Kevin