Mt Starr King (9092 ft)

13 Jun 1999 - by Arun Mahajan

On Sunday, 13th June 99, Scott Tillman and I, Arun Mahajan, went up Mt Starr King in Yosemite. This is a brief description of the conditions and the route we took.

It is straight forward hiking on trail from the Mono Meadows trailhead on the Glacier Point Road till the Illoutte Creek. The water in the creek is fast flowing and deep at places and it took us a long time to find a way accross. A fallen tree about a quarter of a mile upstream served as a good bridge. We caught the trail after the stream crossing and left it after walking a mile, to go cross country toward the three obvious domes that make up the Mt Starr King peak.

We crossed another trail and then a small stream and then headed up via brush and friction slabs to the notch between the right and the center domes. Once at the notch, we frictioned our way up to the top of the central dome. It is low angle and presented no problems. We then dropped into the notch between the true summit dome and the center dome and were confronting the south-east route mentioned in Secor and the other PCS trip reports.

We frictioned up an obvious groove in the rock and at the head of the groove, set up for climbing. Scott led, going left first, as if intending to go towards a chockstone that has a few slings around it, but then veered right on a crack (which has a rather old sling in it) to the point where the crack ended in a horn. The point where the horn ended, proved to be a comfortable belay station and we could set up good anchors. The next pitch gave no problems either to Scott. It ends at a rock that has a few slings and a rappel ring. We got off the rope here and walked up to the summit. We were happy to note that we were the first party to sign in this year.

We had 2 ropes, a 50M and a 60M, but we found out to our concern that this was not sufficient, with a two rope rappel, to reach the chockstone with the slings for the next rappel. So we rappeled to the horn, which was our first belay point on the way up. The horn provided a good rappel point for the lower rapel back to the notch.

More friction down climbing and an exciting stream crossing got us to the Mono Meadows where we found a small bear with a light brown coat staring at us, with it's head cocked on one side. It was just accross the bog from us. After a few minutes of staring, it procceeded with it's foraging. But it was right on the trail, so we simply walked toward it. This time it loped off into the woods, just as I was regretting having run out of film to take a quick picture.

No snow on the route at all. Tevas or something similar would help in the stream wading. Various people have different opinions of the rating of the route. Scott Tillman felt that it was 5.5 or 5.6.

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