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Minarets (California)

Coordinates: 37°39′43″N 119°10′41″W / 37.6618792°N 119.1781938°W / 37.6618792; -119.1781938
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The Minarets
The Minarets from Minaret Lake
Highest point
PeakClyde Minaret
Elevation12,270 ft (3,740 m) NAVD 88[1]
Prominence1,152 ft (351 m)[1]
Parent peakMount Ritter[2]
ListingSPS Mountaineers peak[3]
Coordinates37°39′43″N 119°10′41″W / 37.6618792°N 119.1781938°W / 37.6618792; -119.1781938[4]
The Minarets is located in California
The Minarets
The Minarets
Location in California
The Minarets is located in the United States
The Minarets
The Minarets
The Minarets (the United States)
LocationMadera County, California, U.S.
Parent rangeRitter Range, Sierra Nevada
Topo mapUSGS Mount Ritter
Age of rockMid-cretaceous
Mountain typeMetamorphic rock
First ascent1928 by Norman Clyde[5]
Easiest routeRock climb class 4[3]

The Minarets are a series of jagged peaks located in the Ritter Range, a sub-range of the Sierra Nevada in the state of California. They are easily viewed from Minaret Summit, which is accessible by auto. Collectively, they form an arête, and are a prominent feature in the Ansel Adams Wilderness which was known as the Minaret Wilderness until it was renamed in honor of Ansel Adams in 1984.

The peaks were named in 1868 by the California Geographical Survey, which reported: "To the south of Mount Ritter are some grand pinnacles of granite, very lofty and apparently inaccessible, to which we gave the name of 'the Minarets.'"[6] Seventeen of the Minarets have been given unofficial names, including Michael Minaret, Adams Minaret, Leonard Minaret, and Clyde Minaret. Clyde Minaret, named after Norman Clyde, is the tallest of the spires. The Southeast Face Route of Clyde Minaret is a technical rock climb featured in Fifty Classic Climbs of North America.[7]

The area is notable for two fatalities:

  • Walter A. Starr, Jr., author of Starr’s Guide to the John Muir Trail and the High Sierra Region, fell to his death while solo-climbing the northwest face of Michael Minaret in 1933.[8][9]
  • Steve Fossett, an American aviator and adventurer, died in a plane crash near the Minarets in 2007.[10]
Labeled photo of individual Minarets


  1. ^ a b "Clyde Minaret, California". Peakbagger.com. Retrieved 2009-06-09.
  2. ^ "Clyde Minaret". ListsOfJohn.com. Retrieved 2012-04-01.
  3. ^ a b "Sierra Peaks Section List" (PDF). Angeles Chapter, Sierra Club. Retrieved 2009-08-10.
  4. ^ "Minarets". Geographic Names Information System. United States Geological Survey, United States Department of the Interior. Retrieved 2009-08-10.
  5. ^ Roper, Steve (1976). The Climber's Guide to the High Sierra. San Francisco: Sierra Club Books. p. 337. ISBN 978-0871561473.
  6. ^ Browning, Peter (1986). Place Names of the Sierra Nevada. Berkeley: Wilderness Press. ISBN 0-89997-047-8.
  7. ^ Roper, Steve; Steck, Allen (1979). Fifty Classic Climbs of North America. San Francisco: Sierra Club Books. ISBN 0-87156-292-8.
  8. ^ "The search for Peter Starr". Traditional Mountaineering.
  9. ^ Alsup, William (2001). Missing in the Minarets: The Search for Walter A. Starr, Jr. El Portal California: The Yosemite Association. pp. 105-107+116. ISBN 978-1-930238-18-3.
  10. ^ Fagan, Kevin (October 3, 2008). "Plane wreckage Fossett's - bone fragment found". San Francisco Chronicle.

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