2012-09-29 - Peeling palms. I need some good Sierra granite to buff them smooth.
2012-09-29 - Lower buttress of Dark Star, which is over 1,000 ft high. Most people start the climb by traversing out midway on a ledge that starts a few hundred feet high, coming from the left.
2012-09-29 - Dark Star lower buttress and lower pitches.
2012-09-29 - Looking up the lower buttress of Dark Star from the base. Over 1,000 ft of climbing before it eases up! Overall the route gains about 2,200'.
2012-09-29 - Upper section of the lower buttress of Dark Star. The dark gash high and left is a really cool 5.8 chimney that one must tunnel through, ending with an exposed squeeze exit back outside at the top.
2012-09-29 - Dark Star's three buttresses rising to the summit. The access ledge used for the common start is seen cutting across above.
2012-09-29 - Ledge used to access the standard start of Dark Star. You can also climb the lower 400' directly to the start.
2012-09-29 - Melted out couloir. Looks like steep chimneying, with some mega chockstones to bypass.
2012-09-29 - The Celestial Aretes of Temple Crag. The access snowfield is looking pretty dirty.
2012-09-29 - 3 climbers with heavy packs ascending Contact Pass. At least we aren't the only ones doing this!
2012-09-29 - Contact Crack (5.4). I've soloed this chimney, but this time we belayed it since we were carrying up large packs with overnight gear. One #3 Metolius cam nicely protects the crux.
2012-09-30 - Tony starting the solo of the lower pitches of Dark Star. Terrain was mostly cl. 3-4 with a short bit of low 5th class. We belayed the last pitch, which Croft rates at 5.6.
2012-09-30 - Tony leading P0 (5.6) of Dark Star. This put us on the access ledge just below crux P1.
2012-09-30 - P1 of Dark Star (5.10b/c). We linked this with P2. This is sustained, thin, and tough! Much more like a sport climb, with face moves and lots of stemming.
2012-09-30 - Tony leading P1 of Dark Star (5.10b/c), nearing the crux. We linked this with P2. This is sustained, thin, and tough!
2012-09-30 - Tony leading P1 of Dark Star (5.10b/c), at the crux. We linked this with P2. This is sustained, thin, and tough!
2012-09-30 - Tony leading P2 of Dark Star, which we linked with P1 (5.10b/c). This is sustained, thin, and tough! It was also cold in the morning shade.
2012-09-30 - Following P1 of Dark Star (5.10b/c)
2012-09-30 - Following P2 of Dark Star. Topo called this 5.8, but it felt more like 5.9-5.10a to me and only slightly easier than P1. Croft indicates the 5.10c crux more in this area than lower down on P1.
2012-09-30 - Following P3. A 5.8 traverse leads to a 5.8 corner & roof and then a tough 5.10a finger crack in a corner.
2012-09-30 - Following P3 at the 5.8 corner. The 5.8 roof is far above, and requires a reachy, awkward traverse-undercling left to bypass.
2012-09-30 - Following P3, where the 5.10a finger crack has eased up to 5.8ish.
2012-09-30 - Leading wandering P4 (5.7). This pitch zigzags a lot, going far left, then far right before entering the shallow corner above leading to The Gash.
2012-09-30 - The Gash of P5. That 5.8 chimney is really cool.
2012-09-30 - In the shallow corner leading to the P5 chimney.
2012-09-30 - The Gash of the P5 chimney. Really cool pitch. The 5.8 roof is seen just below to the right. Rope drag stopped me just before it.
2012-09-30 - Tony leading P5, shortly after the strange 5.8 roof where one steps under and left.
2012-09-30 - Tony exiting the P5 chimney. It gets exposed when you squeeze back outside!
2012-09-30 - Reaching the P5 chimney. Time to trail the pack and crawl inside!
2012-09-30 - Inside the P5 chimney.
2012-09-30 - Looking out from the P5 chimney. This section was too tight for my torso to squeeze through.
2012-09-30 - Climbing inside the Lower Buttress of Dark Star on the P5 chimney. Make sure to exit right.
2012-09-30 - Finishing the P5 chimney. I'm still trailing my pack here. (by Tony Nguyen)
2012-09-30 - Tony atop P5 and most of the difficult climbing on the route. (by Tony Nguyen)
2012-09-30 - P6 5.8 cracks. These weren't too hard but you had to take care of loose blocks in the cracks. The terrain quickly eased up after this as we crested the headwall of the Lower Buttress.
2012-09-30 - P6 easy cl. 4-5 on the ridge crest of the Lower Buttress.
2012-09-30 - Celestial Aretes from Dark Star.
2012-09-30 - Sun Ribbon Arete crux area from Dark Star's Lower Buttress crest.
2012-09-30 - Simul climbing the crest of the Lower Buttress.
2012-09-30 - Easy terrain on the Lower Buttress. Really, shortly after the 5.8 cracks it might be better to just solo as exposure decreases and terrain becomes mostly class 2.
2012-09-30 - The Middle Buttress seen from across the gap.
2012-09-30 - The gap crossed to access the Middle Buttress. A rope is nice here since it is loose and exposed, but it is really easier than it looks.
2012-09-30 - Looking back at Tony atop the Lower Buttress.
2012-09-30 - Tony leading P10-P11. We never found the 5.6-5.7 terrain of P10, and we never found the 5.7 wide or 5.10a roof of P11. We did find pretty sustained face climbing with semi-runout pro! Crux felt about 5.10ish face & fingers. This also has some loose bits and the belayer is in the line of fire (yikes!).
2012-09-30 - Leading P12, loose junky 5th class. Take care not to knock blocks onto your belayer.
2012-09-30 - Eroded dike pocket on Dark Star. Perhaps the reason for the route name? There were a lot of these on the middle buttress, ranging from small finger pockets to fist pockets like this one.
2012-09-30 - P12 5th class junk.
2012-09-30 - Leading up the Middle Buttress. The rock gets better and the terrain eases. We found 70m was too long to simul with and should have halved the rope to 35m, so we stopped several time unnecessarily due to rope drag before we made the switch. Very little pro besides natural running pro is needed from here on out.
2012-09-30 - Tony on a belay atop the Middle Buttress.
2012-09-30 - Another tower on the Middle Buttress.
2012-09-30 - Chimney cutting through a tower on the Middle Buttress.
2012-09-30 - Dark Star brown rock.
2012-09-30 - Yet another tower on the Middle Buttress.
2012-09-30 - Dark Star rock.
2012-09-30 - Even more towers on the Middle Buttress. Where is the Sandy Gap?
2012-09-30 - Even more towers on the Middle Buttress. This is at the first rappel, which can easily be downclimbed with some creative routefinding.
2012-09-30 - Celestial Aretes from the Middle Buttress rappels on Dark Star.
2012-09-30 - Orienting ourselves on the ridge with the shadow of Dark Star. We are at the notch between the two little towers on the Middle Buttress. It's getting late and we have a ways to go! Time to speed up . . .
2012-09-30 - Looking back at one of the towers on the Middle Buttress.
2012-09-30 - The final ridge of Dark Star. This final section took some time to cross. Due to darkness, we finished by climbed up the cliffs to the left of the final ridge after reaching the major notch in the ridge between the Middle and Upper buttresses.
2012-09-30 - Looking back at some of the towers on the Middle Buttress.
2012-09-30 - The day is ending, but Dark Star isn't!
2012-09-30 - The ridge gets trickier. There were several rappels along the way, but creative routefinding allows those sections to be simul-downclimbed. The route took us on both sides of the ridge and right along the crest as we wandered all around.
2012-09-30 - Nearing the end of Dark Star, racing daylight.
2012-09-30 - Downclimbing another tower as the Middle Buttress steps down to Sandy Notch.
2012-09-30 - The second major downclimb as we simul climbed.
2012-09-30 - The third major downclimb as we simul climbed. This section was navigated by a sort of corkscrew path.
2012-09-30 - The final bowl to finish as it got dark. The topo indicated it to be cl. 3, but the final bit of simul climbing was definitely in 5th class terrain, perhaps up to 5.7ish. We did the last 200 ft in the dark by headlamp.
2012-10-01 - On the exposed downclimb from the summit of Temple Crag in the morning. Dark Star is behind. (by Tony Nguyen)
2012-10-01 - Compressed sleeping bag & bivy sack on end, with a #1 C4 BD cam for scale.
2012-10-01 - Compressed sleeping bag & bivy sack on the side, with a #1 C4 BD cam for scale.
2012-10-01 - Dark Star's Lower and Middle Buttresses seen on the descent.
2012-10-01 - Dark Star's Middle Buttresses, lined with endless towers and a tricky downclimb on the backside,
2012-10-01 - Dark Star's Lower Buttress seen on the descent. We climbed from the absolute low point to the top, and beyond!
Dark Star - Temple Crag from 2nd Lake
Energon cube found on the route.