The moose which used to browse along the trail to Mean Green has long since gone, but the climb is still one of the best in the valley. With its neighbor High on Boulder, Mean Green is one of the handful of routes that occasional visitors to the Southfork aspire to climb. It is spectacular, with contiguous pitches at the start and finish, and it is long. You must have your system tuned up to get it done in daylight. So, though the vast majority of the climbing is WI 3, you ought to be solid at WI 4 if you expect to do the whole climb.
The climb follows the next drainage East (left, down stream) of High on Boulder. From the end of the Southfork road at the Cabin Creek parking area, cross Cabin Creek and follow the trail left until it brings you to the gravel flats. Cross the river by whatever means necessary and keep walking pretty much straight toward the High on Boulder drainage until you intersect the Southfork trail. Turn left and walk until you see a sign that says “No Trespassing, No Hunting, Stay on Trail”. This is where you want to leave the trail. Don’t worry. The folks who posted are worried about people hunting, camping, cutting wood and generally tearing up the land and disrupting their cattle operation. In winter, if you are just passing through, you’ll be fine. Angle up toward the drainage and cross into the stream bed. Do this just before the drainage narrows, it should take just a single step down from the bank if you’re in the right spot. An easy hike gets you to the bottom of the first pitch.
There were bolts and chains at a protected stance on the right, but I haven’t seen them for years. They are either gone or consistently buried now. Belay at ice anchors pretty much right in the line of fire. Send up the partner with the lightest touch to lead pitch# 2.
A short hike gets you to the short third pitch. Belay anchors can be a problem above the pillar.
Look for ice anchors higher in the gully or use, uh, this…
A bit more walking gets you to pitch 4. This is the kicker. It is much harder than any of the other climbing on the route, WI 4-5 depending on the year and the time of year.
By this time, you will have seen the upper slabs. They look like they’re just about 5 minutes up the way. This is due to something called ‘foreshortening’, a phenomenon where our optimistic little brains, lacking intermediate reference points, tell us that things are closer and steeper than they really are. It’s a solid 30 minute walk with some significant sections of ice bouldering. The slabs themselves are 75-80 meters of easy WI 3. Rappel and downclimb the route, the walk-off is a Bear Grylls sort of thing (gratuitous hardship undertaken due to foolishness or inadequate skill to avoid).