Intro to Alpine Rock Climbing - Crystal Crag

If you've been sport and trad climbing outdoors for awhile and now you're ready for more adventurous and committing climbs, alpine climbing is the next step in your rock climbing career! Crystal Crag is the perfect place to start.
Intro to Alpine Rock Climbing - Crystal Crag
Intro to Alpine Rock Climbing - Crystal Crag

A spectacular place to begin your alpine climbing career, Crystal Crag provides an incredible experience on excellent quality granite.  The approach is quick and straight forward, allowing you to focus time and energy on the high-quality granite and enjoy the view from high above the Mammoth Lakes Basin. 

Crystal crag features a couple of excellent variations and an optional airy ridge traverse with plenty of exposure and a great position in the range.  This is a perfect place to get your first taste of alpine climbing.  We're sure it will inspire you to pursue longer and more committing climbs!


North Arete - 5.7 - A ledgy and featured climb that leads you up to the Crystal Corridor will make it clear why this classic rock formation is called Crystal Crag!

Requisite Experience 

Outdoor rock climbing experience with the ability to follow pitches up to 5.7 in difficulty is required for this climb, along with being in good physical condition.


    Available Dates

    June - October


    Pricing varies depending on number of people and number of days.


    Rock Climbing Gear Guide for Trad Followers

    Gear Guide / Packing List

    Please review this list thoroughly and ask if you have any questions.  Some of this gear is necessary for all climbs, and some may be optional depending on the objective of your day.  

    Technical Gear

    • Helmet, UIAA/CE approved for climbing, Petzl Scirocco
    • Harness with belay loop, UIAA/CE approved for climbing, Petzl Hirundos
    • Climbing Shoes 
    • Approach Shoes (optional, bring if you have them. Not necessary for Big Chief)
    • Nut Tool, for removing nuts/stoppers on trad routes
    • Non-locking Carabiners, 10 carabiners
    • Locking Carabiners, 3 HMS-style (Munter Mitch Compatible) lockers
    • Locking Carabiners, 6 or more small or HMS style locking carabiners  
    • Belay Device, Tube style belay device, Petzl Reverso, BD ATC Guide
    • Assisted Braking Device, ABD style belay device, Petzl “GriGri” or Trango “Cinch”
    • Double Length Sewn Runner
    • 1 Prusik loop, fixed 4’ loop of 6mm nylon cord or purpose built loop like Sterling “Hollowblock”

    Head and Neck Items

    • Sun Hat - A Baseball Hat, Blackbird Mountain Guides Logo Hat
    • Sunglasses - Dark Lens Glasses
    • Warm Hat - Lightweight Warm Hat that Fits Under Your Helmet

    Upper Body and Hand Layers (weather dependent)

    • Long Sleeve Base Layer - Lightweight, Synthetic/Wool
    • Insulating Top Layers - Light to Midweight Insulation Layer; Rab Xenair
    • Puffy - Midweight Down or Synthetic with Hood; Rab Generator or similar
    • Softshell Jacket, Hooded – Weather resistant but breathable, not insulated or waterproof
    • Light Gloves - Light to Mid Weight for cool temps
    • Sports Bra - Wool/Synthetic

    Lower Body and Foot Layers

    • Underwear - Wool/Synthetic
    • Socks - Midweight Wool/Synthetic; Darn Tough Via Ferrata
    • Softshell Climbing Pants - Breathable, Weather Resistant Pants - Marmot Scree Pants

    Food and Water

    • Water for a full day of climbing
    • Snacks and Lunch  for a full day of climbing

    Other Essentials

    • Sun Screen (SPF 30 minimum)
    • Lip Balm (with SPF)

    Group Gear Supplied by Blackbird Mountain Guides

    • Guide’s First Aid Kits
    • Wag Bags (Solid Human Waste Disposal Bags)
    • Climbing Ropes
    • Hardware for anchors
    • Lead climbing rack (cams & stoppers)
    • Draws and/or Alpine Draws

    Know Before You Go


    Mammoth Lakes, CA



    Technical Difficulty ⚫⚫⚫⚪⚪

    This climb requires proficiency in a variety of skills including basic rope skills, experience with belaying, rappelling and technical climbing on 4th and 5th class rock. 

    Physical Difficulty ⚫⚫⚫⚪⚪

    You should be in good physical condition.

    Trip Length

    1 Day


    Email us to schedule custom dates for your program!


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