Rock II: Intro to Multi-pitch Climbing

After top roping at various crags, it is time to get higher off the ground! An entirely new climbing experience awaits.

Situated above Mammoth in the Lakes Basin, Crystal Crag is a well known local landmark. A gleaming white band of quartz cuts across the stunning peak, drawing climbers to this unique feature. The North Ridge route combines steeper technical climbing, a classic peak traverse, and descent of the other side.

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


For this adventure we have chosen Crystal Crag out of Mammoth. This is not just a multi-pitch climb, but also a summit with an approach of about an hour on a well-maintained trail through fragrant high-elevation forest.



We value the professional training provided by the AMGA (American Mountain Guides Association) and your guides will be AMGA certified or involved in the certification process.



good-great-awesome mammoth-area-rock-climbsThe best guidebooks are “The Good, The Great and the Awesome” by Peter Croft or Mammoth Area Rock Climbs.
Get them from Maximus Press

We highly recommend that you spend at least one night at moderate altitude (higher than 8,000 feet) just prior to the trip. Spending a night in Mammoth would do the trick. Please refer to our Planning for Success info sheet for more info.

Return to SMC Rock Climbing School

We park at Lake George and hike the well graded and maintained trail for just over a mile 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 which lead to the crystal band. We climb a small, gleaming white corner in the band where the rock is cool and slippery, but straightforward, culminating at an excellent ledge for a break. Above this we traverse along a narrow exposed ridge to the summit, then descend the easier side back towards the start of the route.

We will cover the following topics:

  • placing artificial climbing protection
  • equipment handling skills
  • the multi pitch system
  • managing belays
  • simple anchoring techniques
  • energy conservation and efficiency

Program Prerequisites:

SMC Rock I or equivalent. While we will review the basics before leaving the ground you should be familiar with belaying and be able to tie into the rope without assistance.

Program Inclusions:

Price includes guiding, permits and group climbing gear. You need to bring you own personal climbing equipment. Local accommodation is not included in the program.

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.

Rental Equipment:

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