Crystal Crag

After getting bitten by the climbing bug and perhaps having done some top rope climbing on small crags it is time to get experience on longer routes and get further off the ground into what we think is the true climbing experience. Of course this is a big step and you want to choose an appropriate objective.

Situated above Mammoth in the Lakes Basin, to the west of town, Crystal Crag is a well known local landmark. A gleaming white band of quartz cuts across the peaks and must surely have attracted the attention of miners. To their dismay it was bare of gold, but for us climbers it adds a unique and interesting feature. The route combines, steeper technical climbing with roped ridge traversing to a classic, climbing one side and descending via the other.

This is a perfect introduction to mulit-pitch climbing. Not too difficult, but definitely challenging enough to keep you thinking and enjoying a new experience.


Our guides are American Mountain Guides Association trained or in the process of becoming certified so you can expect the highest level of climbing and safety knowledge combined with solid instructional skills and professionalism.


high-sierra-climbing-super-topo mammoth-area-rock-climbs

The best guidebooks are Mammoth Area rock Climbs by Marty Lewis” and Peter Croft’s “The Good, The Great, and the Awesome”. Get them from Maximus Press.

We highly recommend that you spend at least one night at moderate altitude (higher than 8,000′) just prior to the trip. Spending a night in Mammoth would do the trick.

Return to Classic Alpine Rock Climbs

We park at Lake George and hike the well graded and maintained trail to Crystal Lake, nestled next to the crag. Leaving the trail here we traverse a short distance through open forest to the base of our chosen route, the North Ridge. The difficulties of the climb are concentrated into the first four pitches on the steepest portion of the ridge and lead us to the crystal band. We climb a small gleaming white corner in the band where the rock is cool and slippery, but straightforward, leading to a good spot to take a break and a snack.

Above this we move roped together along a narrow exposed ridge to the summit and then descend the easier side before traversing back towards the start of the route. We continue back down the trail to our cars.

Throughout the day we will cover the following: review of placing and removing artificial climbing protection, equipment handling skills, the multi pitch system, managing belays, simple anchoring techniques, energy conservation and climbing efficiently on multi-pitch routes.


Program Prerequisites:

SMC Rock I or equivalent. You should be familiar with belaying and be able to tie into the rope without assistance. You should be in fair to good physical condition and feel comfortable climbing 5.7.

Program Inclusions:

Price includes guiding, permits and group climbing gear. Local accommodation is not included. Please let us know if you need assistance making reservations.

Please Read before you go

We feel the following information is essential... (links open as PDF in new window)

  1. Details, itinerary, and equipment list for your trip
  2. SMC Cancellation Policy
  3. Suggestions on preparation - get the most out of your trip!
  4. Tips on physical training for your trip
  5. LNT - Let's work together to protect our precious mountain environment.

PDF Maps:

Crystal Crag Map

Rental Equipment:

Need to rent equipment for your trip? We can help.