Pipe Organ Spire - South West face
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This obscure route is sort of like one of those “choose your own adventure” books that came out in the eighties. Only instead of different endings, all choices in this novel lead to the heinous roof at the summit cap rock. We both found the experience we had, to marginal at best and probably suited only for those true desert rats that chase down old Kor and Carter routes.
Although; future parties might have an altogether completely different experience due to our efforts. We both felt this route should be called the “Constant Gardener” for the excessive amount of exfoliated crap we trundled off of it. No one had been there in years.
There is no information for this route in any of Bjornstad books, but it has all the feel of an old Carter with its well-driven Star-drives and homemade hangars. Someone has been up there in the last ten years or so and given new life to the anchors. The important ones all sport at least one 1/2" bolt.
It should be noted that this climb sits in the perfect spot for summer ascents if you are quick you will be in the shade all day.
Choose your adventure, right or left side. Looking up; your two choices are an ugly looking chimney or an intriguing looking hand crack that roofs out. We choose WRONG and ended up battling the choss monsters. It’s probably only 5.10 or so but given the ++ for a severe garbage factor. The right side is much cleaner now; although still ugly. When we rapped down the left side, we found the chimney to look much better up close. It worms its way up moderately good stone and looks to be about 5.9.
Another choice, your two options here are to high step the belay and run up a string of bat hooks in marginal stone, or to down climb off the belay and free your way over to the start of the seam that takes you to the big ledge. I found the level of acceptable risk too great for option 1. (What? Bat hooks out here? To say the least – Bizarre) If one of them blows you are going to need a hospital no two ways about it. We chose RIGHT. I gingerly freed over to a chossy seam and proceeded to garden my way up this right angling crack finding a few C2 moves – “maybe”; some C1, lots of trundling, a few free moves, and an exciting fear factor style 5.8 top out. After gardening the calcite and sand out of the seam, a few pin scars revealed themselves. Some low balls might be helpful. It should be of note, that if you blow it down low on option two you could get hurt as well. This pitch gets you to a big ledge and some artifacts from days gone by.
Chossy free to a ledge, and then the work begins. Thrutch up some wide till it pinches out, finagle some crap till you can push that green #6 up in the the wide slot. Work up more widness till it pinches down again. Pull through into the good rest via some more thinish moves. Work up the roof via old bolts till your are below the Maw. Figure it out and make your moves to the good two bolt belay at the summit, via bust ass free climbing, bat hooking, or painfull aiding.
This route will go free at a moderate grade to someone with a sick sense of humor.
Park at the Organ Pipes Overlook parking, walk to the overlook and drop down via a 70 meter rapel. You need another short rope to anchor off of. Your knot needs to land right at the edge to make it. You are now at the base of the southwest face - enjoy. Rap the route via a single rope to the big ledge and a double rope to the ground. And jug out.
Singles from purple TCUs to a #6 Friend. Doubles from #0.5 to #5 BD
#4 Bigbro, nuts, Bathooks, small Loweballs and a birdbeak, just in case.
|Photos of Pipe Organ Spire - South West face Slideshow
Lower half of the route.
The upper half.
Busting some free moves on the second pitch.
Any one remember placing these? Relics from days ...
At the traverse on p3.
Old rap station on the very top that we decided no...
|Comments on Pipe Organ Spire - South West face
|By Ben Kiessel|
Jul 19, 2008
This route is on the taller of the two towers correct? I was under the impression that it was not Organ Pipe Spire but Pipe Organ Spire. I think that Organ Pipe is the smaller of the two farther away from the rim.
Jul 19, 2008
You are correct Ben. Changes made. Whoops.