Temple Crag – Sun Ribbon

This is the granddaddy of them all: 24 pitches of fun climbing complete with a Tyrolean traverse a third of the way up. In early season we take the snow up to the start or in late season when the snow is hard and icy there is often a gap between snow and rock that we can shimmy up. The challenges start from the beginning with a 5.7 crack and chimney, which can be a cold wake-up. Above the dihedral we scramble on increasingly difficult 3rd class to the notch behind the first tiny tower. Six or so superb pitches on perfect rock lead to the Tyrolean traverse.

It is possible to rap/climb the gap but how often do you get a Tyrolean traverse partway up a climb? Plus it makes for great photos. There is spike of rock across the 20 foot gap that calls for ‘western techniques” and this is where our practice for Bishop’s Mule Days comes in handy. Once the spike is lassoed, we clip in with carabiners and slide across to the safety of a horizontal ridge leading to a 40′ rappel off a tower.

We traverse around the corner and to the big notch at the base of the 11th, crux, pitch. If we have to escape now is the time via a rappel and climb up the adjacent gully. But since we are here to do Sun Ribbon Arête rather than Sun Ribbon Gully we will tackle the crux. This is a 5.9/10a traverse across a steep face out of the notch. But since the belay is straight above the notch, we make it easier by hauling packs. The next pitch is 5.8 and leads to more horizontal ridge climbing. At the 15th pitch there is a rappel, another good escape left into the gully. Otherwise nearly ten short pitches leads to the summit plateau. If this one does not tire you out we are not sure what will!


For all routes we head down towards the South Fork of Big Pine Creek via faint use trails. We climb over a minor blunt ridge towards Mt. Alice and do a short half-rope length rappel into flat, sandy Contact Pass. For the final section back to the base of the routes we may have snow, which actually makes life easier as it avoids a very loose rock glacier (A rock glacier is a core of ice covered by rock and rubble.) But it is still a glacier so it moves, albeit very slowly.

You can learn more by looking at our unpublished guide to Temple Crag here.

This is our video description of what it is like to climb Sun Ribbon Arête

Return to Summer Programs

Our itinerary depends on how many routes you want to do and how long you want to spend in the mountains.

Two Day Trip

We can do a two day trip, where you hike in the first day, then climb and hike out the second; this takes a high level of fitness and efficient climbing.

Three Day Trip

A three day trip would entail hiking in the first day and doing a climb the second day. The third day has two options – you could either hike out the third day, or do another climb then hike out afterwards. Discuss these details when you are setting up your trip.

Four Day Trip

Check out our Temple Crag Classics to learn more about what a four day trip would entail.

Please contact the office to discuss these options and prices.

Program Prerequisites:

You need to be able to follow at the 5.9 level, have experience on multi-pitch routes and be familiar with belaying and rope work. Prior mountain camping experience is recommended as is experience at altitudes above 11,000’. This is a physically demanding trip and you should be in good condition and have the ability to traverse broken and uneven slopes with a moderately heavy pack.

Program Inclusions:

Price includes guiding, permits, group climbing gear, tents, kitchen gear, breakfasts, lunches and dinners (you bring hot/cold drinks and snack items). Scheduled dates include USFS trail fees. Private programs do not. Local accommodation is not included.

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
    This is our Temple Crag Classics trip information; the gear list and important information will be the same, the itinerary will vary.

  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:

Temple Crag map

Rental Equipment:

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