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Snowpatch Spire
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Surfs Up 

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

   
Type:  Trad, Alpine, 7 pitches, 500', Grade II
Consensus:  YDS: 5.9 French: 5c Ewbanks: 17 UIAA: VI ZA: 17 British: HVS 5a [details]
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Page Views: 4,274
Submitted By: Hans on Dec 2, 2007

You & This Route  |  Other Opinions (16)
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BETA PHOTO: Looking down from the belay on top of pitch one.

Description 

A popular climb on the right side of the west face of Snowpatch Spire, Surfs Up follows broken cracks on somewhat poor rock for three pitches to Surfs Up ledge, then finishes with another two or three pitches of beautiful cracks on excellent granite.

Begin at the right side of the west face of Snowpatch Spire, near the Pigeon icefall. Climb 3 pitches of indistinct cracks leading up and right to an alcove. Protection is somewhat limited but the climbing is easy. Many parties get lost and climb up too far.

Pitch 4 is a traverse right from the alcove to reach Surfs Up ledge. This is another place where it's easy to go wrong and go up instead.

The crack pitches above Surfs Up ledge are excellent, and make the route worthwhile. Follow an obvious handcrack for 2 pitches to the top of the wall.

Scramble or simulclimb to the south summit from here, and descend the Kraus-McCarthy rappel route.

Overall, a good route, and perhaps a bit soft at 5.9. Avoid the alpine start, as it's pretty cold over there until the sun hits the route.

Location 

Located on the far right (south) side of the west face of Snowpatch Spire, and well described in the guidebooks. Descend via the Kraus-McCarthy rappel route (chain anchors). Four 60m or eight 30m rappels reach the bottom. If rapping with a single 60m rope, a couple of the rappels are rope stretchers so be careful and be sure to knot the ends of your rope.

Protection 

A standard rack will do (set of cams, nuts). An extra 1" piece may be useful but not necessary.

Description 

The lower part of the route is not great, with somewhat gravelly granite, limited protection, and uninteresting climbing.

Traverse right from the bay (top of pitch 3) to reach Surfs Up ledge. I believe some people get lost here and do the inferior Surfs Up Direct.

The crack pitches above Surfs Up ledge are excellent, and make the route worthwhile.

Overall, a good route, and perhaps a bit soft at 5.9. Avoid the alpine start, as it's pretty cold over there until the sun hits the route.

Location 

Located on the far right (south) side of the west face of Snowpatch Spire, and well described in the guidebooks. Descend via the Kraus-McCarthy rappel route (chain anchors). Four 60m or eight 30m rappels reach the bottom. If rapping with a single 60m rope, a couple of the rappels are rope stretchers so be careful and be sure to knot the ends of your rope.

Protection 

A standard rack will do (set of cams, nuts). An extra 1" piece may be useful but not necessary.


Photos of Surfs Up Slideshow Add Photo
Looking down at the first pitch above Surf's Up le...
Looking down at the first pitch above Surf's Up le...
Upper part of Surfs Up - beautiful granite and cra...
Upper part of Surfs Up - beautiful granite and cra...
The start of Surfs Up. It's easy to wander around ...
The start of Surfs Up. It's easy to wander around ...
Pigeon Spire and the Howsers as seen from Surfs Up...
Pigeon Spire and the Howsers as seen from Surfs Up...
On Surfs Up ledge
On Surfs Up ledge

Comments on Surfs Up Add Comment
Show which comments
By Brad Brandewie
Jan 4, 2009

More pictures and a TR at piquaclimber.com
Cheers,
Brad
By Jared Spaulding
From: Central WY
Jul 30, 2014

It would seem that the picture in the Atkinson/Piche guide is a bit off. It shows a traverse at the top of pitch two. Instead go up and right to the dihedral, then straight up on pitch two to the "flake" belay, a giant slung flake or horn. Then on pitch three's start, move right, back towards the "corner" and up to the "alcove" belay, also with a slung horn.

Overall an excellent route. Route finding challenges can be had on first four pitches, but protection is readily available. Granite is not too gravelly at all.
By Mike Sullivan
From: Durango, CO
Sep 23, 2014
rating: 5.9+ 5c 17 VI 17 E1 5a

First few pitches can be cold and windy, and the climbing is fun but not amazing. Once you hit the Surf's Up ledge, the upper part of this route is FANTASTIC -- great climbing and great fun.