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Skull Queen is a good alternative if the South Face is full. The aid is not much more difficult, a few micronut placements on pitch 8 and a few awkward placements on pitch 10. The last pitch is a stellar 5.10c finger crack. Climb to Dinner Ledge via South Face Route and do the Kor Roof pitch. Head right into the slanting crack (the bolt above the roof is for the S. Face route) and follow the rivet/bolt latter (in great condition as of June 2006). It is more or less straight up for 7 pitches from here (Supertopo or the Reid guides are accurate). Most likely will not need for a hammer or pins, and I was able to get away without using a hook either by doing a tricky free move (~.10a) on pitch 10 before the belay. I thought the quality of this route was a little better then the S. Face but they are pretty similar. Cheers, AK!
Route starts same as S. Face. After summitting stay up and right on trail that leads to N. Dome Gully decent.
Standard Free Rack (2 sets of cams including small sizes, 1-2 sets of nuts), 1 #4.5 BD Camalot or equivalent, 1-2 sets micronuts or offsets, 12 rivet hangers for pitch 5, 1 hook. Route relies on a few fixed heads to remain clean (in great shape as of 2006), so you may want to bring a few mid-sized heads and a hammer just in case.
At the crux thin crack on Skull Queen-photo Tim Kl...
Barry Collins on pitch one
Barry Collins clearing the big roof.
Robert Hecker setting up portaledge in not-so-nice...
Barry feeling great in the morning after a good ni...
Ryan leading out the bolt ladder. P5?
Trav Strong. Skull Queen, Sept 2010
|By Aaron S|
Apr 24, 2007
The supertopo recommends bringing a large cam for the ow and last pitches but I would leave it at home. The ow pitch goes from a #4 camalot size to a full squeeze (too big for a cam) within a couple feet making it worthless. My buddy used it at the start of the last pitch but it didnít look necessary. The good news is that the ow pitch is pretty easy climbing and is probably just as easy in boots as climbing shoes.
I think this route is underrated in terms of quality and just fun climbing.
May 3, 2010
A fun route for moderate aid.
Expect several bolt/rivet ladders linking cracks. If the line was continuous it would be classic.