This route is one of the most often over-looked classics around. Totally worth the approach. Located on the way to the "Adventure's of Bill-Bolting Baggins"...
There are several classics on this same formation that will provide a days worth of climbing in the spicy but safe 5.7 to 5.10 range.
Climb the bolted groove until it becomes possible to jam up under Smaug's Left Wing.
Setting a belay at the top of the notch is possible. A short distance around the corner is a set of bolted anchors located on the south side of the formation to belay from.
The summit of the Dragon's Head can be climbed from the notch belay stance. Follow a rising diagonal counter-clockwise starting on the north side of the Dragon's Head.
There currently are no fixed anchors at the Dragon's Head summit. Be prepared to down lead back to the notch. A great little 5.7 summit.
Protection is possible on the way up. Some longer slings are useful to set a tope rope for those who aren't up to down lead from the Dragon's Head.
If you don't mind walking a short distance back around to the north face you, can safely rappel from the south side anchors with one 60 meter rope.
It is possible to climb a little higher and belay at a set of bolted anchors in a smaller notch on the east/left side of the groove. Two ropes are required to rappel back down the route from these anchors.
This route is located on the north face of the Far Downs. Look for the bolted groove located behind a spruce tree just left of "Of Quartz It Goes". The groove leads to a notch with a large boulder/ledge just below the "Dragons Head Pinnacle".
The Dragon's Head is quite visible as you drive from Hill City along Highway 87/89. Smaug's Head is best viewed from the lower two switch-backs.
Modern Bolts & a set of 1/2" to 4"+ cams, one set of stoppers, q.d.s & over the shoulder slings, Bolted Anchors
|By Mark Orsag|
May 2, 2013
rating: 5.9- 5c 17 VI 16 HVS 4c
Wow!!!! Talk about a superb route that almost no one mentions... Totally unforgettable. This climb is magic from the moment you see it... best single pitch route that I have ever climbed. Thanks for posting this-- this route merits WAY more notoriety and traffic than it gets.
|By Wilson On The Drums|
From: Woodbury, MN
Jun 27, 2013
rating: 5.8+ 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c
Thought provoking moves and consistent climbing make this a great route. Felt 5.8 but it keeps you on your toes for awhile so come prepared. It would have been nice to know a little more info before I headed into this though b/c I nearly found myself in R rated territory. There is no "jamming" on this route and it's really a bolt protected route that can take 1 or 2 pieces of gear all the way up top after the last bolt. When looking at the water groove from the bottom you will see a large separation in the rock, its basically a chimney, I headed straight for this and the last bolt will put you right into it. It looked like you could go left here and climb the face, but it would be a long, 50ft or so, of unprotected climbing, there was maybe one very small gear placement. Take the chimney, follow until you are on top of a large chockstone, here you should be able to see the bolted anchors out left. If you belay from those anchors and avoid placing gear in the chimney it sets the follower up to climb the aforementioned face... Highly recommended.