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YDS: 5.13 French: 8a Ewbanks: 29 UIAA: X- ZA: 30 British: E7 6c A0

Type:  Trad, Aid, Alpine, 12 pitches, 1200', Grade IV
Consensus:  YDS: 5.13 French: 8a Ewbanks: 29 UIAA: X- ZA: 30 British: E7 6c A0 [details]
FA: FA Jeff Lowe 1970?
Season: Summer
Page Views: 1,767
Submitted By: hkennedy on Jan 23, 2014

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Kyle and I decided to give Jeff a visit after our ...


The Lowe-Spark is a free var of an old Jeff Lowe aid line. This route has it all from steep roofs to super thin face climbing. By far one of the best alpine rock routes in the US!! This thing needs to get some traffic. FFA Team -- Justin Griffin, Hayden Kennedy and Kyle Dempster September 2013

P1: 5.6R corner to slab climbing with not much gear to a good ledge.

P2: 5.9R face climbing. From the belay ledge trend left until a thin crack leads back right -- some Jeff Lowe pitons are on this pitch, cool history for sure!!

P3: 5.10R face climbing strait up from the belay -- there are some old bolts to the right, do not follow them. Belay is on 2 bolts just underneath the huge roof

P4: 5.13 A0 1st crux pitch -- start off with wild 5.12 climbing off the belay protected by bolts to a left leaning traverse with cams. Long slings help with the drag -- climb strait up to a 4 bolt 5.13 traverse just above the lip of the roof. This pitch still hasn't been fully free climbed -- all the moves have been done but not linked. Belay on 2 bolts at a small stance. MEGA PITCH!!

P5: Unreal 5.12 climbing with bolts and gear with two amazing crux sections. After the second crux follow the left trending crack to the slung block belay.

P6: A short 5.9 pitch that gains a nice ledge just bellow the second crux pitch. Belay on 2 bolts on a good stance.

P7: 5.13 second crux -- this pitch is as technical as it gets! Natural gear just off the belay to 5.12 face climbing with bolts. Wild mantle moves and steaming leads to the crux -- desperate boulder problem on the edge of an arete to a hard mantle finish. Thin 5.11 slab climbing to a pumpy roof with #3/#4 Cams. Truly amazing climbing!! Belay on a great ledge with 2 bolts

P8: 5.10+ crack climbing up twin cracks. Natural gear anchor on a ramp.

P9: 5.10+ face/crack climbing to a strange flare section. Belay on small ledge with natural gear.

P10: Burly 5.11 wide climbing right out of the gate to a small roof and then amazing 5.11+ fingers in a corner. Belay on slung blocks.

P11/12: Easy 5.8 and easier terrain to the summit.

You can walk off Haystack or rappel the route with two 70 meter ropes


Doubles in fingers/hand size cams, #3 & #4 Cams, set of wires -- the purple C3 is helpful on the first 5.13 pitch.

Photos of Lowe-Spark Slideshow Add Photo
Hayden on the start of the 2nd crux pitch
Hayden on the start of the 2nd crux pitch
Kyle leads the 2nd pitch
Kyle leads the 2nd pitch
Looking down the 2nd crux pitch
Looking down the 2nd crux pitch
Hayden on the the 2nd crux pitch -- the mantle sec...
Hayden on the the 2nd crux pitch -- the mantle sec...
Looking down the third pitch -- 5.10R
Looking down the third pitch -- 5.10R
Justin on the amazing 4th pitch -- this is the res...
Justin on the amazing 4th pitch -- this is the res...
The crux traverse on the 4th pitch -- this is the ...
The crux traverse on the 4th pitch -- this is the ...
The final roof on the 2nd crux -- wild moves pulli...
The final roof on the 2nd crux -- wild moves pulli...
A good topo drawn by Justin Griffin
A good topo drawn by Justin Griffin
Evening light on Haystack
Evening light on Haystack
Kyle on first crux on the 5th pitch -- So good!
Kyle on first crux on the 5th pitch -- So good!

Comments on Lowe-Spark Add Comment
Show which comments
By SteveBechtel
Jan 25, 2014

Don't you have to free the route to call it a FFA?
By hkennedy
Jan 26, 2014

Thats totally true Steve...The route still needs a proper FFA. Someone should get after it!
By Dennis Horning
Feb 1, 2014

The route still needs a proper FFA

And this discription lacks the right rating?

How about 5.13, A0 to be consistent with the rest of the tale?
By SteveBechtel
Feb 4, 2014

Well, Hayden, you know how well I fared... psyched you figured out how to climb the 13b pitch up high! Maybe you should come back for a day and fire it...I'll even go belay you.
By hkennedy
Apr 20, 2014

Steve that would be rad...
By j wharton
Jul 14, 2014

This thing still needs a true FFA. I red pointed pitch 4 properly. (Climbing it from the triangle jug as HK did, is really a minor difference since it's such a good rest...maybe a letter grade at most. However, it is psychologically tough since the traverse is so low percentage, and the first part of the pitch isn't that fun.) I also sent the other crux pitch, so we were on our way to the first true FFA. Unfortunately we had to bail in an epic thunderstorm two pitches from the top.

Some tips: you can 3rd class to the big grassy ledge a 100' off the ground, and save a pitch down low. Also if you don't put any gear in on the 5.9 section, you can skip the belay atop pitch 5. Offset RPs help on pitch 7, but offset cams seemed unnecessary. The pitch 7 crux will be really hard if you're short.

It's a stretch to call this one of the best alpine rock routes in North America--just a little too much scabby rock--but it is pretty damn fun, and located in an amazingly beautiful place. Approach is a casual three hours. This route would make for a nice 5.12 if you pulled past the 12ft of 5.13 climbing. Thanks to the folks that put in the hard work to turn this into a free climb!
By Justin Griffin
From: Bozeman, Montana
Aug 24, 2014

This is an amazing route.. Most anyone that enters the winds walks below this formidable face. Following lowe's framing nails for protection and considering he and partner were teenagers was truly humbling. These men freeclimbed through 5.11 high on the face in Robbins boots armed with passive pro. Unbelievable!! As for a modern free climb, I've climbed few finer. Regardless of a one hang ascent or retreat due to storm, this route has been established and named as such. The truly awesome part is connecting multiple generations effort and vision. A future generation will surely onsite. Nonetheless, this is a big boy route, watch your mouth unless you've gone up and taken the falls
By Arlo F Niederer
From: Fort Collins, CO
Aug 18, 2015

Congrats! I've been walking under that face for many years and wondered exactly where the "North Tower Crack route" was located. Nice to see the new generation of climbers free climbing at a high standard in the wilderness.

I'm curious about the bolts. I noticed shiny new bolts in several of the pictures - did the Forest Service finally remove the ban from wilderness areas and come up with a policy similar to the NPS Wilderness bolting that came out a few years ago?

I'm curious because we wanted to put up a route on East Temple a few years back but had to retreat when we reached a blank section that would require a few bolts to connect to the next crack system.
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