Charlotte Dome

One of the hidden gems of the Sierra! Approached via Kearsarge Pass from Onion Valley the trek and the climb together make an outstanding rock climbing advenutre in a remote and wild setting.

We currently offer climbs of Charlotte Dome on a custom private basis. 3-day Itinerary is recommended. Chick HERE for details and to request reservations.

Charlotte Dome

Descending Charlotte Creek toward the Dome

South Face – III, 5.8

One of the 5-star gems of the Sierra!  First climbed in 1970 by Galen Rowell, Chris Jones, and Fred Beckey the dome looked imposing and un-climbable due to the lack of cracks.  After starting their climb they were ecstatic to find that the dome offered plenty of great holds and natural protection. Approached via Kearsarge Pass from Onion Valley the trek and the climb together make an outstanding rock climbing adventure in a remote and wild setting.

This 12-pitch rock climb is located right in the heart of the range in Kings Canyon National Park. The base of the South Face is situated 2000 feet above the confluence of Charlotte Creek and Bubbs Creek and the summit is a modest 10,690 feet above sea level. This configuration gives the climb an alpine feel but with the pleasant comforts of subalpine weather, all day sun-exposure, sheltered camping, and increased blood oxygen levels at lower altitudes. When there is snow in the high country, this climb is often still in excellent condition, making it a good choice for the shoulder seasons of early summer or fall. The price of admission is a 12-mile approach hike that includes a climb over Kearsarge Pass and takes most of a day. Unlike with many Eastside approaches, the return trip is just as long and strenuous. No – approaching from the west is even more difficult (in case you were wondering) and the camping situation is not nearly as ideal. The remoteness and inacessibility offers the benefit of leaving the climbing crowds closer to the road in places like Yosemite and Tuolumne and Mount Whitney. Charlotte Dome remains pristine and wild, despite being listed for decades as one of Steck and Roper’s “50 Classic Climbs of North America.” Relatively few people are willing to make the trek in to climb this juicy peach of a route, but a great many who do consider it the best climb of their lives.

Check out this photo trip report from Charlotte Dome HERE.


TRIP ITINERARY: Charlotte Dome
DAY 1 Meet for gear check and fink preparations, drive to Onion Valley Trailhead (9200') and hike over Kearsarge Pass (11,700') and down Charlotte Creek around 12 miles to our base camp location (at ~9800').
DAY 2  Climb the South Face of Charlotte Dome. Descend, eat and sleep at camp.
DAY 3  Return 12 miles to the Onion Valley trailhead.

Additional Information

  • Prior multi-pitch rock climbing experience to 5.9
  • Ability to climb 5.8 comfortably, at altitude
  • Prior experience wilderness backpacking

1 review for Charlotte Dome

  1. 5 out of 5

    Twelve hundred feet of impeccable climbing on the finest stone. The beautiful climbers camp and the approach and return through spectacular terrain were a bonus. SMG made this “Bucket List” trip possible for us.

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