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North Early Winter Spire
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Northwest Corner (a.k.a. Boving-Pollack Route) T 
West Face, The T 

Northwest Corner (a.k.a. Boving-Pollack Route) 

YDS: 5.9 French: 5c Ewbanks: 17 UIAA: VI ZA: 17 British: HVS 5a

   
Type:  Trad, Alpine, 4 pitches, Grade III
Consensus:  YDS: 5.9 French: 5c Ewbanks: 17 UIAA: VI ZA: 17 British: HVS 5a [details]
FA: Paul Boving, Steve Pollack
Page Views: 7,350
Submitted By: Lizzy Trower on Jan 30, 2006

You & This Route  |  Other Opinions (42)
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BETA PHOTO: Climbers on p4. Photo from Concord Tower.

Description 

Typically done in 5 pitches, some can be strung together to do it in 4. There are some wide bits, but they are actually quite fun and don't require the use of wide crack techniques. The climb starts by scrambling up a trail traversing north along the base of North Early Winter to the base of a corner/crack that leads up to a ledge with lots of trees. P1 - Climb the crack/corner to the ledge. Part of it is a chimney that doesn't have much in terms of protection, but this section is short and fairly easy. P2 - From the left edge of the ledge, continue up and left through some more trees and up a corner to another belay ledge. P3 - Continue up a left-leading flake/wide crack (remember the big gear!!!) to another belay ledge with many slings wrapped around the tip of a small pillar. You don't want to skip this belay because you will want to have all your big gear for the next pitch. P4 - Continue up the "surprisingly secure offwidth" pitch. It seems like the best way to do this pitch is to smear up the face and stick your right arm in the crack for balance. Continue up to another sloping ledge below a roof. P5 - Traverse leftwards around the roof (watch rope drag!) and continue up the crack system as the angle eases and you reach the summit.

Protection 

A standard trad rack to 4" or 5". As usual on alpine routes, make sure to bring long runners to help reduce rope drag on the long, sometimes traversing pitches.


Photos of Northwest Corner (a.k.a. Boving-Pollack Route) Slideshow Add Photo
Off width pitch belay
Off width pitch belay
After pulling the last roof
BETA PHOTO: After pulling the last roof
Following the second pitch of the Boving-Pollack. (Photo thanks to Matt Farmer)
Following the second pitch of the Boving-Pollack. ...
Matt Farmer leading the infamous offwidth pitch of the Boving-Pollack. It's not as bad as it may look or sound. (Photo thanks to Matt Farmer)
Matt Farmer leading the infamous offwidth pitch of...
Looking south on the Northwest Corner route of North Early Winters Spire (taken from Liberty Bell summit).  Note the large flake/crack that is the offwidth 4th pitch.
BETA PHOTO: Looking south on the Northwest Corner route of Nor...
Climbing the 5.8 wide layback pitch.  Photo by Brad J.
BETA PHOTO: Climbing the 5.8 wide layback pitch. Photo by Bra...
The Early Winter Spires. North Early Winter is on the left. The Boving-Pollack Route heads up slightly left of center to the tree-covered ledge, then continues up and left. (Photo thanks to Matt Farmer)
The Early Winter Spires. North Early Winter is on ...
The great flake system on the third pitch.
The great flake system on the third pitch.
The 5.9 corner pitch
BETA PHOTO: The 5.9 corner pitch

Comments on Northwest Corner (a.k.a. Boving-Pollack Route) Add Comment
Show which comments
By rpc
Mar 21, 2008

A spectacular line - best we've done so far on the Liberty Bell Group (but have not done West Face yet).
By Greg Kuchyt
From: Richmond, VT
Aug 16, 2012

P1 move past some suspect flakes and a crack to the base of the chimney (plentiful solid gear at the mouth of the chimney and 5.7ish moves with minimal involvement in the chimney).

P2 move up and through the trees through easy terrain to a big belay ledge with two opposing corners, easily traverse left briefly around the small buttress of rock that forms the right-facing corner. This brings you to a left-facing corner/flake system that forms the lower NW corner. There is an obvious flake/horn and a tree (had a sling at one point) here. It may be possible to not hit the big belay ledge and opposing corners if you are trending left through out this pitch? The essential note is if you see two opposing corners at a nice flat belay ledge, go left around the buttress on the left.

P3 Follow the wide corner/flake past the first roof and a good ledge (optional belay) past a wide layback flake section to the "scary" undercling layback to a ledge with the pillar loaded with tat at the base of the NW corner proper.

P4 Obvious up the corner until you reach the obvious belay alcove.

P5 Up unprotected face (5.7ish) to the roof/left-facing corner transition. Up the corner past a short crux to an interesting exit move to easy terrain. From here it is your choice how to proceed (stop short and belay, run to the end of the technical climbing, etc). At one point it becomes very obvious the technical climbing is over.

Regarding gear recommendations. Double 4s (or a 4 and 3.5 works but is not as ideal) would be helpful, the 4" crack on the corner pitch is fairly consistently 4" for the first half to two-thirds of the pitch. As mentioned above a 5" piece could be helpful in a couple spots but is not necessary.

For the rap find the obvious bolted anchor on the SW side that leads into the W gully that splits North and South Early. A 70m rope would be ideal. A 60m rope will work, but you will rap off the ends of the rope for the first two rappels on to "easy" but exposed terrain (i.e. do not rap off the ropes uncontrolled or it could be bad). Double ropes obviously would work, though I'm not sure if it would allow you to skip a rappel or not. At the second rappel anchor (from the top) rappel into the skier's left gully to reach the next anchor.
By eric schweitzer
From: Bend, Oregon
Aug 24, 2012

really good route! The route description in the comments section is an improvement on the official description. Our 60m got us through the rappels without having to rappel off the ends and downclimb (just barely though).