THE SNOWY RANGE
FACES AND ROUTES 2
This is ALPINE CLIMBING AT A HIGHER LEVEL. The formation is about 900 feet from bottom to top and offers superb, long routes. Climbing these routes requires climbing 'straight up', basically ignoring multiple cracklines that diagonal up and right. There is a tendency to follow these easier lines of weakness which lowers the grade, and challenge, accordingly. It is suggested that you stay clear of the lower center of the formation (shown in orange). As seen in the photo on the right, there was a major rockfall that took out several good routes in the early spring of '99, and considerable loose rock remains situated in precarious locations. (More will be added to route descriptions soon.) Descent is by 1.) the MBPT, 2.) the Diamond Gully after melt out or 3.) other alternatives.
1.) Red Spot Variant, 5.6. A variant of an older, popular route which intersects the left side of the red-colored rock 'spot' and goes to the diagonal ledge. P1: From the Red Spot Pedestal, climb an easy crack to a ledge at the bottom left of the Red Spot. P2: Skirt the left edge of the Red Spot, belay at the top of a right facing dihedral. P3: Cut right under a roof to the Diagonal Ledge.
THE ARROW indicates the "Davis Chimney", 5.7, an older route and an easier way to the top of the Central Pillar. WARNING! Watch out for loose rock in here, especially after meltout and first half of the climbing season!! This is nasty territory and people have been hurt here! Belay the first pitch from the left side of the bottom of the main crack under the small roof to avoid being hit by rockfall. Merges with the Diamond Central at second pitch.
2.) Diamond Central, 5.9+. A great way to access the Diagonal Ledge. P1: Begins on the lower right face of the Central Pillar and jogs left into a crack line that goes all the way to the top of the pillar (with 60 M ropes). Scanty pro here!! P2: Move up and left, aiming for a large right facing dihedral about 100 feet above. Belay to the left of a large 'cave'. P3: Climb up to the Diagonal Ledge and set belay. Consider continuing on the Diamond Express or the Overhang Routes.
3.) Roofs Left, 9+. Three pitches to the major right side 'arete'.
4.) Roofs Center, 10b. Three and a half pitches to the major right side arete.
5.) Roofs Right, 10a. Three and a half pitches to the major right side arete.
6.) The Diamond Express, 9+, 10a. A variety of lines depart the DIAGONAL LEDGE for the summit. Bypass the numerous lines of weakness that diagonal up and right, climbing 'more or less' straight up to the summit.
a. 2 pitches. (See shot below, Jeb Steward linking A to C on an incredible, windless, warm blue day!!).
b. 2 pitches.
c. 2 pitches.
7.) Overhanging Endeavors, 10c.
a. 3 pitches. Follow lines of weakness paralleling the FIRST major overhang as shown on the topo.
b. 3 pitches. Follow lines of weakness paralleling 7a to the right of the FIRST major overhang as shown on the topo.
8.) Here's to the Hardmen, 10c. Three long pitches. Follow lines of weakness paralleling the SECOND major overhang, crossing above the overhang, and crossing over the FIRST overhang to the top. The photo is Rob Kepley on a particularly steep section nearing the second belay.
The PILLAR BUTTRESS
The PILLAR BUTTRESS is one of the highest, most remote formations and is accessible less than 3 months per year because of heavy snowpack, falling rock and quick onset of heavy weather. Only 3 lines exist here at present on the major column, the "Petite Marie". It is wild up here, and more route potential definitely exists!
PHOTO 1 is a closer view of the formation - the arrow points to "Petite Marie", the largest, easternmost pillar (Photo: Jeff Flake en glissade). PHOTO 2 (thanks to Jeff Flake) is yours truly two easy 'approach pitches' up "Petite Marie" at an approximate elevation of 11,300'. *NOTE: Three lines continue from this belay. PHOTO 3 is taken from the top of the entire formation looking straight down towards the base of the columns and shows the entire 4 pitches up the columns.
Route 1 is 'face', thin at times, and goes at about 10a - take wires and all cams to #3.
Route 2 is hands to the roof and continues above at a max of 10b - take all cams to #3 and double up from #1 to #3.
Route 3 Same description as Route 2 except it goes harder, about 10c/d. Each of these lines can be done from this spot in one long pitch with a 60 meter rope.
Descents: Walk off from the top down the MBPT, down either First or Second Streets after meltout, or downclimb the southern exposure of Pillar Buttress to the left of the columns.
WARNING ! Be cautious as the rock is friable in many locations, freeze-thawing takes place nearly every night at this altitude and these lines do not see many ascents!
This formation offers two long, moderate routes at present, however considerable route potential exists here. A tundra field (known as 'University Avenue') separates the two lower slabs from the upper ones and steep couloirs bound each side of the formation. For descent, use either 1.) the Med Bow Peak Trail or 2.) scramble down the Second Street Couloir after melt out.
1.) Long Haul, 5.8. Up to 7 pitches of great moderate climbing, 4 pitches up the main face, cross the tundra field (University Avenue') Two variants, A and B after the third pitch add variety. NOTE: You can exit at University Avenue should the weather threaten.
2.) Middle Cut, 5.7. This five pitch climb is a 'gusher' until August when the ground above is melted out. It's a cool, highly variable climb at a recreational grade with step-like terraces, abbreviated faces leading to University Avenue. Take the upper pitches of Long Haul to get to the top.
TRIANGLE BUTTRESS: Pretty manky. Good area near the base, but short routes. Most areas of well-consolidated rock are scattered.
OLD MAIN: Might be worth some effort. Again, most well-consolidated rock is scattered. Several steep aretes and gullies run from top to bottom. Some find these adventurous, but not serious technical climbing.
*I'm hearing that several routes are going in here, and that there are a couple of long routes on the far east end - as of 7-'04. I have no details as of now, but will attempt to find out what's going on.....
SNOWY CLIMBING 1
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