After the Casual Route and Pervertical Sanctuary, this is probably the most "straight-forward" Diamond Route, although the free climbing rating is rather stiff (5.11c or d). The crux is short and protects well, and is easily aided. Climbers who find the Casual Route jammed, and don't have enough big gear for Pervertical, should consider attempting this at 5.9 or 5.10 C1 (or free), but plan on a longer day if you aid much (the entire climb is still strangely popular as a clean aid route). The climbing is generally clean and solid, with many relic fixed pins set as reminders that in its heyday, this was the most popular route on the Diamond (FA: Dalke, Goss, Hurley 1966 at 5.6 A2). D7 is also the unquestioned favorite for those few demented souls who climb the Diamond in winter. The descriptions in Rossiter, Gillett, Wadman and Dumais are all accurate, but if you do not have access to these what follows is a brief narrative describing the route.
You have survived North Chimney. Now locate the bivy cave up and left from the top of North Chimney and Casual Route. Traverse left and low (below the loose ledge leading to Yellow Wall start) to an exposed, 4th Class or lower 5th Class step which leads to the second prominent left-facing corner system from the cave (the first being the 5.11 start to Yellow Wall).
Climb several pitches of finger and handcrack (5.9) in corners and around small flakes to a short wide section of low-end 5.10 (a couple of pieces to 4" useful here) to a good ledge and a fixed anchor. If aiding, this wide section may be the crux. Climb the right and smaller of 2 right-facing corners directly above to a continuous section of stiff 5.10 and belay. The free climbing crux looms above, a bulging section of white rock with parallel finger cracks splitting it (a fairly obvious feature). Launch upwards, then strut your stuff on the pumpy-to-protect 15 feet of technical pulls where the angle steepens- classic, clean, and exposed climbing. Belay on a small ledge, then climb a short difficult section (5.11a) leading to easier climbing and "Almost" Table Ledge (rap anchors). Climb the easier rock above to Table Ledge and traverse slightly left to anchors (start of the rappels, which are "climbers left" from the route) or further left to Kiener's and the North Face Cables descent.
4 to 8 hours climbing time, although aid parties may take much longer- consider a bivy on Broadway. There are several variations to this route (Soma and D Minor 7 are the major ones)and much opportunity for "mixing and matching" (it's even possible to head into Hidden Diamond or Curving Vine at one point), but really, D7 takes on the most compelling and recommended line between Pervertical and Yellow Wall.
Double set wired nuts to 3" cams, 1 each 3.5, 4", 8 QDs, 6 slings. More gear for some, less for others. There are a large number of fixed pins on this route, especially in the first 300 feet- some of them are actually quite good. The route also goes clean aid at C1, and a hammer is not required.
|By Leo Paik|
From: Westminster, Colorado
Mar 14, 2002
Beware on pitch 1 there is a flake that looks like a jug that oh, you should never grab! It pries out perhaps 6 inches as horrible, horrible thoughts go through your reptilian mind. Climb around it!
|By Nate Weitzel|
Jun 18, 2002
What a great line! The climbing on this route is superb. I loved the moderate begining pitches, followed by a stout finish. There are an amazing number of pins on the route, most of which appeared intact and relatively safe. As such, you can easily par down the leaders rack, especially for the first two or three pitches. Interesting though that as soon as the climbing gets hard, the pins disappear.....oh well can't have everything I guess.
|By david goldstein|
Jul 4, 2002
Another great Diamond route. As of July 2002, here are many pins on every pitch of this route, even the harder pitches; a strong and/or bold climber could get away with bringing a very light rack and a bunch of quick draws.
For the more mortal among us, it may make sense to break the crux into two pitches. There is a good ledge shortly after the 11c crux and just before another, similar section that's almost as hard; if you're out of breath and gear (draws), as I was, it makes sense to stop here. Major warnings: there are some loose blocks which get you by surprise. A particularly nasty one is on the 1st pitch, maybe 30' after it gets steep. A central hold/block at the start of the crux also seems to be loose; avoiding this adds some difficulty.
|By Charles Vernon|
From: Tucson, AZ
Jul 6, 2002
re/loose block on the crux pitch: 2 years ago, while climbing in the Forrest Finish crack, we had a very good view of and conversation with some friends on D7 attempting to yank this block out (after the leader had nearly had a heart attack trying to climb around it)--noone was below them on the route, Broadway or the glacier. They tried for a while but just couldn't get it out, so maybe although it seems horrifying, it may be OK to use. Caveat emptor.
|By Frank Stock|
Aug 19, 2002
We did to table ledge and then crossed over to FF Saturday. Leading about 30 feet below Crossover Ledge I knocked a big block off of the left side of the crack. I pretty much was climbing the crack and using the features on the right when whatever I brushed on broke loose, missing my partner by three feet and stirring up pretty much everyone on the face. Scary. The first pitch block is loose, but I couldn't pull it out.
As for the two or three (depending on how you link em) pitches to crossover ledge, you really don't need much gear. Tons of good pins, including the cruxes. We had 12 double slings we used as draws, and still run out doing long pitches. Really nice climbing though.
|By Joe Collins|
Aug 29, 2003
rating: 5.11d 7a 24 VIII E5 6a
[Gillett] calls it 11c. Green calls it 11d. Rossiter??? Steve calls it 11c or d. I didn't have the slightest chance to onsight which makes me think 11d. The crux pitch has two really hard sections. Though they are both short, they're really hard and you arrive with a good pump at each of them. Since it is a pretty long pitch, the 2nd crux felt almost as hard as the first to me.
|By Brian Milhaupt|
From: Golden, CO
Sep 2, 2003
I thought the 6th pitch stayed pretty continuous the entire way, and the large cams became useful again.A single set of cams seamed sufficient since there are so many pins and the belays are fixed.
|By Bosier Parsons|
From: Colorado Springs, CO
Jul 16, 2004
The loose block on the first pitch has been there a long time. I've had a couple opportunities to pull it off, but you never know when someone could be below you. Best to just leave it be, and when it comes off, it comes off. I don't remember the one on the crux pitch, but I'd say the same thing there. Also, we definitely climbed the left of the 2 corners off the left side of Crossover, then stepped back right into the system. I know all the guides describe the shallow right facing corner as the line, but this seemed very lichenous, to the point that I thought noone had climbed it for a long time. I'm curious what others thought about this.
|By Bernard Gillett|
Jul 18, 2004
Responding to B. Parson's queery... I think the original aid line did climb the righthand of the two corners on the left side of Crossover Ledge. My guide says to climb it that way, because that's the way I did it the first two times I climbed the route (some time ago, and I was aiding), and that's where earlier guides described the line. I returned twice to the route in recent years (after my 2001 guide was published) and free climbed D-7, and both times I did it the way you described, with the lefthand corner for 20 feet, then step right into the original line. My guess is that this is the way most people free climb it?
The loose blocks on pitch 1 and the crux pitch: two years ago my partner and I decided to see if we could remove those flakes while following. We were climbing early season, and no one was around, so we yarded on both of them, but were unable to remove them. They seemed pretty well stuck, even though the one on the lower pitch moves ablot. Probably best to avoid them anyway.
|By Anonymous Coward|
Sep 13, 2004
One of the best day's climbing anywhere. I got so tired pulling my second up the crux pitch I thought my heart was going to burst! Sliding down the snow at the end was such a good and quick way down. Tripped over about 50 times on the way down the trail in the dark (no torch). A great adventure.
From: Pinewood Springs
Jul 3, 2006
Just below the crux I fell on a red (#1 or 2 HB?) about 4 times until I figured out the crux sequence and I had enough nerve to continue. I don't usually climb 11c but this route is so good it was worth the effort, best 5.9 pitches ever!
There is the wealth of fixed pins on the lower pitches then the crux pitch has few fixed pieces.
Aug 6, 2009
rating: 5.11+ 7a 24 VIII E4 6a
With a 70 meter rope it is possible to do this route in 4 pitches as follows:
P1 - 5.9, 220 feet to a small stance with 2 fixed pins (about 30 feet above the first sling anchor you come to).
P2 - 5.10, 230 feet past the wide section, crossover ledge, and some thinner climbing to the stance and fixed anchor below the crux pitch. Wet when we climbed it in early August.
P3 - 5.11, ~120 feet past the crux and second 11 section to fixed anchor on small ledge.
p4 - 5.11-, ~130 feet up thin crack, through wide crack to almost table ledge.
We didn't try it, but if you have the guns, you might be able to link pitches 3 and 4, it would be long, hard, and amazing though. In all a stellar route!
|By Ben Griffin|
From: Durango, CO
Jul 17, 2011
I tried this route on 7/16/11, and all the cracks were amazing and amazingly wet. I bet it needs a couple of more weeks. The North Chimney is also wet but easily doable now. The approach up to the North Chimney is a steep snowfield. The Crack of Delight has a river pouring down it.
From: Oakland, Ca
Aug 10, 2012
MP lists this climb as one pitch - that's a long pitch.