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The easiest way up the Cake, and one of the easiest climbs in the Sandias. A nice summit with forgettable climbing; rated 5.3 in the old Hill guide, 5.4 in the new Schein guide.
From the north-west side of the Cake, scramble up to the notch between the Cake & the Candle. Step to the tower to the right (the Cake), and start up its North Face. Climb a flake, stem into a chimney and onto a ledge with 2 really old bolts. From here, work right toward the right edge of the cliff, then angle back up and left to the top of the tower. Or, from the ledge, you can climb directly up some hand cracks which look nice but pass some scary loose blocks (this was more like 5.6 and felt harder since I was trying not to touch anything).
Standard gear to 3".
Rap off the slung blocks at the top 90' back to the ground.
By Nick Davis
5 days ago
The approach is a bit of a wild bushwhack. We parked below the summit at the last switch back on the road before the top and followed the crest trail north to the turn to the trail that cuts back under the Data Towers. Obvious climbers trail drops from there.
Follow the path from the aspen grove described above towards the overlook at the top of Grande. After dropping 1/3 way down towards the open clearing, cut right/north into the woods following the contour about 100yds. You'll pass an odd-looking log structure, trend downhill/nnw here staying above the trough and below the ridge to the left/sw. Drop approximately 100 vertical through thorny bushes and trees and keep an eye on the rocks on the ridge.
Look for the "cut" that lets you around the ridge and into the couloir that has a series of ledges on the far/south side of the ridge. Ledges are narrow and full of loose dirt and spit you sliding down to the Cake and Candle. I had to lower my dog down to very steep portions he wasn't comfortable on.