McCarthy's North Face
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This is one of the all time classic routes on the tower. Find it by heading up the North Face/ NW corner approach. When you get to the base of the tower look to your right for a large left facing corner that starts low angle and gets steeper and has a lardge roof aboiut 200 feet up. This is a few cracks to the right of the Everlasting column.
P1. Head up the low angle rock in the corner and belay from mostly fixed gear on a sloping ledge directly underneath the roof. This pitch is 5.8 and is long (~200 ft). Position your belayer as high as possible and be prepared for a bit of simul-climbing. You could rap with 2 ropes from here, but then you'd miss the real fun.
P2. Head out the right side of the roof in a finger crack with marginal feet and small stoppers for gear. Once you get past the roof follow the corner straight up with a mixed bag of thin crack, lieback, and face techniques until you hit the anchors. Make sure to look around and take in your position as it is truly spectacular. This pitch is shorter than the first, but I can't remember specifics because the climbing was so awesome.
2 double rope raps will put you back on the ground. It is possible to contiue up from here, but I haven't done it. Sorry.
Mostly small gear, lots of stoppers and small cams. You shouldn't need anything bigger than a #1 camalot for the climbing, but you might need a #2 to back up the first belay. 2 ropes to rap after the 2nd pitch.
Following the first pitch, the belayer can be seen...
Swanson on first pitch
Swanson getting ready to lead what turned out to b...
Mike following second pitch.
A creative rest by Mike on pitch 2.
Start of the thinness.
|Comments on McCarthy's North Face
|By David Benson|
May 27, 2003
Truely an excellent route.
P2 is about 125' to an arbitrary hanging belay, with well aged anchors. If anyone ever replaces the anchors, please, please move the anchors! This pitch ends in the middle of the crack, no features what so ever to stand on. There appears to be a natural small ledge about 15-20' higher (on easier ground).
Gear: The largest piece of gear that I placed on the 2nd pitch was a .5 camalot. Lots of stoppers (#1 - #7 rock, double or triples), 1 green alien, three yellow aliens, 2 red aliens. First pitch goes pretty easy on a set of nuts, the second pitch could as well (I ran out).
|By Doug Hemken|
Sep 9, 2006
What a stunning line! The moves are great, and the position can't be beat! We went through pitch 3, and every pitch was nice. Despite the note in Guillmete's guidebook, the anchors at the top of 3 are in good shape, just some minor surface rust.
|By Sergio P|
From: Idaho Springs, CO
Jul 26, 2007
rating: 5.11a 6c 22 VII+ E3 5c
With a 70m rope you can be lowered from the top of p2 to the top of p1. This allows for a more comfortable belay on the ledge while you belay the second climber.
From: Burlingame, CA
Jun 6, 2009
We just did the first pitch (a real rope-stretcher!) to the belay under the roof. I would love to come back and do the 11a above, but I still highly recommend the first pitch as a mellow and entertaining 5.8 finger/stem adventure. Especially appreciated the grassy patches between perfectly clean finger locks, and the view.
The belay was kind of painful (it's not so much a ledge as a steep ramp) so take your time setting up a comfortable belay.
|By George K. Watson|
From: Nederland, CO
Jul 6, 2010
One of my favorite leads of all time. Be comfortable with space belays and placing lots of small stuff.
When I did this years ago with Steve Ilg, we did a major stupid and left a knot in either side of the anchors at the end of P2 when we did the rappel. He ended up hand-over-handing the entire second pitch (with a prussic on the rope) to undo the idiot knot. Derek Hersey witnessed our dumbshit move and had a great deal of fun with us later.