The North Fork of Big Pine Creek & Temple Crag

In June 2006, Rick Kent and I dayhiked Temple Crag. With a stunning approach up the North Fork of Big Pine Creek, a drainage I'd first explored on a backpacking trip in March 2003. The river was flowing like crazy, making the crossing near the base of the peak interesting. The views, as one might imagine, were phenomenal. I love this drainage!

Soon, we started up the steepish snow gully that would lead us to Contact Pass, where we'd have our first views into the South Fork of Big Pine Creek and the peaks hiding over there, like Palisade Crest, Mount Jepson, Mount Sill, and even Norman Clyde Peak.

When we got there, we weren't disappointed. We took a quick water and food break, and then looked up at Contact Crack, the easy 5th class crack that would allow us access to the steep but easier upper mountain.

A mountain that doesn't disappoint, we worked through Contact Crack easily and then continued up class 2-3 terrain. Spotting a curious marmot as we climbed, we soon gained the ridge above and began our traverse toward the top. The views along the crest back down to Third Lake were awe-inspiring!

As we neared the summit, an exposed step-across boulder move presented itself. Not a hard move, but an attention-getting one!

And there we were...on the summit! With its fantastic views of Mount Sill, North Palisade, Thunderbolt get the idea. A healthy chunk of California's 14ers, and certainly one of the most rugged ridges in the entire Sierra Nevada.

*Photos courtesy of Rick Kent