Alpine climbing can rarely be described as being "fun" in a traditional sense of the word. Maybe Type 2 fun, or retrospective fun if you're of a particular disposition. Catch this route on a nice sunny day and you'll find an exception to the rule.
Dog House can be approached in one of two ways. The first ascent party climbed the route in mid-winter, and the route offers five pitches of continuous and sustained mixed climbing. We climbed the route in late winter, and the south facing route had warmed up enough to offer a little bit of everything: drytooling, steep step kicking and bare-handed alpine rock climbing. Both scenarios will likely leave you grinning from ear to ear.
The route sits between the Saber and the Foil just above Sky Pond. The primary discription below if for the line taken by the first ascent party, while the alternate pitches describe the line we took.
P1: Climb a deep chimney with several wild chockstone cruxes, to a cave below huge VW sized chalk stone (M5+).
P2: Exit the cave on right, and climb easy snow above to the base of a narrow chimney (M4).
P3: Climb the chimney section past a steep bulge and back onto easier snow above (?).
P3A: Alternately, break right above the VW chockstone and climb the rock up to a broad ledge (5.8).
P4: Climb the steep, sustained gully above. (M5+)
P5: Take the left branch of the gully to the top of an unnamed spire behind The Foil (?).
P5A: Alternately, cut right again and climb a short chimney section behind a right facing flake, then step out right onto the face and climb excellent rock up to the notch just north of The Foil's summit spire (5.7).
P6A: If you haven't had enough yet, climb the north side of the summit spire of The Foil to one of the coolest summits in RMNP. Start on the right side via a steep hand crack to off width section, the cut left to shallow left facing corner, then back right again to a final right facing dihedral (5.8 A0).
Descend the route by making one short rappel to the notch just north of the summit spire of The Foil. From there, make two long rappels to the east into a gully. Descend the gully back to the base of the route. One short rappel may be necessary depending on the snowpack.
Stoppers and cams to a #3 Camalot, a #11 hex, and a few pins. A single aider is handy if you plan on climbing to the summit of The Foil in your clunky mountaineering boots.
Chris Sheridan starting up the summit spire of the...
Mike sending P1 of Dog House.
Steve Su exiting the cave at the start of pitch 2 ...
Incredible chockstone chimney on P1.
Dog House on 3-14-09 showing The Saber and The Foi...
Chris Sheridan leading the first pitch of Dog Hous...
Approach to Cathedral Spires from Sky Pond, RMNP.
Andy Grauch leading warm rock on the right variati...
Andy Grauch starting up the fourth pitch of Dog Ho...
Leading out P2- Dog House.
By J. Fox
From: Black Hawk, CO
Mar 30, 2009
Dude, yer killin' me with all these great routes! Now if I could just find a partner to do them with. Nice work!