Mount Gayley and Temple Crag (Moon Goddess Arete)

10 Jul 1996 - by Harlan Suits

Weather was almost perfect in the Palisades over the holiday weekend. Almost too warm! The sun was so hot on top of Mt Gayley (13,500+) that David Erskine and I sought shade under boulders to cool off. Must have been close to 80 deg. On some nights, snowfields around 12,000 feet did not freeze. Mosquitos were in abundance.

I recommend the third-class ridge from Glacier Notch highly. It's a wonderful staircase of solid blocks just right of the ridgecrest, with more exciting variations available on the crest itself. The view of the Palisades from this outlier peak is incredible. Bergschrunds were showing on the glacier, but I gathered from other climbers that they were not difficult to cross. To get to the Palisades Glacier, we used the big gulley from 3rd Lake up beside the north faces of Temple Crag and Gayley--scenic and definitely a fast descent compared to Sam Mack Meadow.

Dave and I also climbed Moon Goddess arete on Temple Crag. It's a spectacular climb with lots of exposure and sections of great rock mixed with the occasional loose block. About 14 pitches, most about 5.6. We think we found the elusive traverse around the Ibrium tower--the crux was a few moves of 5.7-5.8.

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