Mount Clark, Gray Peak
By: Henry A. Arnebold
The group met Thursday morning at the Mono Meadow Trailhead and after introductions and getting organized we started out at 7:30AM. The day started out overcast and then rained part of the morning just to make it miserable for awhile. By late morning it stopped raining so we could enjoy the rest of the 10 miles and 3,500ft of gain hike. The last half was cross country to reach base camp at a tarn (99l0 ft) between Clark & Gray. After an overcast and wet first day we lucked out and had great weather, it was fun in the sun for the rest of the trip.
On Friday seven of us started for Clark. We ascended a broad ridge next to our camp and followed it toward the ridge between Clark and Gray. As we approached the southeast arÍte a decision was made to drop down a chute several hundred feet and go around to the East side of Clark. I'll just call it the Steve Thaw variation and leave it at that. Slightly below the summit block we crossed over to the south side where we found the exposed move that leads to the top. I was first across and belayed the rest of the group up and back again. Steve then belayed me and we started down. Our return trip was much shorter as we now used the gap in the arÍte to get back to camp. We arrived earlier then expected and had time to enjoy a dip in the tarn and relax in the sunshine. A fitting end to a great day.
Saturday we climbed Gray Peak. It was easy class 2 up to about 100 feet below the summit, then easy class 3, hand over hand stuff-a very nice climb. We found the class 2 route on the way down. An early start-around 6:30ish, and summitted around 9:3 0. View from the top was great-all of Yosemite. We could see Yosemite Falls, Glacier Point, Half Dome, and all the peaks on the northern boundary. The view continued around to Mts. Lyell and Maclure, Banner and Ritter, and the Minarets.
Saturday afternoon we packed up and hiked about five miles or so to the Merced Pass Trail and camped. That left about 5 miles to walk out on trail Sunday morning which we accomplished in about 3 hours.
We would like to thank our climbing partners Steve Thaw (co-leader), Joy Goebel, Susan Livingston, Terry Flood, Gary Bowen, and Eric Wilson for making this a wonderful trip.
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