|Andrews Creek & The Gash
We geared up at the lowest, righthand, rock band.
P1- climb steep snow for 300'. (solo or Simul. as conditions allow) - aim to left side of the huge cave, at the base of the chimney system.
P2- begin M4 climbing left of the cave. (my original direct start was immediately left of the chimney. Quite thin, M5, and poorly protected) starting about 20' farther left will allow a safer, tiered start. You should fine a square horn that will girth-hitch quite nicely, then step right, over a deep narrow gap, and into the chimney proper. Climb the moderate snow gully for 150' and belay.
- *Decision- if you belay at the square horn, a 60m pitch will allow you to climb the M4 wall on the left above the snow gully, and belay at a fixed pin/nut station w/ red sling. ** If you belay lower, on the snowfield, this pitch will end below the M4 climbing about 40' below the fixed station.** Either way, it flows well.
P3- directly above the station the climbing is steep, but enjoyable w/ good pro. This is the ice Off Width. (see pic) continue up another moderate snow gulley above, and climb up into the upper chimney. Likely belaying on the left.
P4- things get steep again, pro is good and we chose the left side of the chimney. aim for the big chockstone - you can see sky under it. This pitch ends in the col behind the summit of Forbidden Tower.
P5- 5.6 - about 40' of rock climbing will deliver you onto the summit. the view over the top provides huge exposure back down the face. I would suggest you remove your crampons first. I got my boot stuck in the OW slot and had to clip gear and bend over to remove the wedged crampon :(
The summit is really cool. It's about the size of a car.
A previous visitor had left a new new sling w/ fat, locking biner which will allow a full 60m rapple to a point about 30' above the pin/nut station. There is a purple 1" sling around a boulder that will allow the short hop down to the station. From the fixed station another 60m rappel will just barely allow you to step on to the snowfield.
Be careful on this one - once the snowfield melts, you may not be able to make this last rappel in one shot. If conditions allow, you can glissade the slope back to your stash.
Approach like you're going to Sharkstooth. Skis worked well, as that Gash snowfield will easily last into late May.
300' below the northern base of Sharkstooth, look 90-degrees to your right (west).
Forbidden Tower can be seen superimposed on the right side of that Gash Wall. (see photo)
We skied up to the lower-right rock band, below the now obvious chimney system. This is a nice, moderate route for introduction to this grade of mixed climbing. Each pitch has a short crux, and protection is good. There is very low rock fall or avalanche danger noticed.
A single alpine rock rack up to #3 Camalot, with several extra small TCU/Alien-sized pieces, and doubles in the small nuts also. No pins, maybe 2 stubbie screws (although I was able to stem past the ice).
|By Greg Sievers|
From: Estes Park, CO
Apr 25, 2008
This route has great potential after good spring melt/freeze to build ice and possibly be a classic.
|By Dougald MacDonald|
Apr 28, 2008
rating: M5 Steep Snow
As Greg said, this is a good moderate route with a super-cool summit. The only note of caution is that the climb faces southeast, so it's perhaps best on a cloudy or very cool spring day; there are a few big snow mushrooms in and near the chimney that may collapse in the sun. The chimney goes into shade after noon.
Your pitch count may vary: We did four pitches, not including the 300 feet of steep snow at the bottom. If you stretched the rope in these conditions, you could do the route in three pitches; with less snow at the bottom, some parties might find as many as five or even six pitches.
|By Captain America|
From: Longmont, CO
Jun 11, 2011
Climbed route June 10, perfect weather and quite a fun outing. Steep snow below chimney in solid condition (softened by the end of the day). Some ice deep in chimney recesses but often rotten. Great holds for pick locks and torques. Good overall protection (although last short rock pitch to summit a little thin on pro). This route does not get climbed often, watch out for loose rocks and blocks sitting on ledges (hey, it's Alpine what do you expect!).
We backed up the summit rappel with new orange 6mil cord and an oval screw link (locking biner was missing). Test your rap pulls before last guy raps! Lots of loose rocks on col below summit for rope snagging and high friction over edges depending on the direction you go. We took the second rap from the purple sling down to a sold block 55m below. Slung this with black webbing. We smoothed the edges of the block and pounded in a chockstone above it, but watch for sharp edges. This rap took us well into the snowfield.