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The Saber

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Kor Route T 
Pocketknife, The T 
Razor's Edge T 
Southeast Corner T 
Southwest Corner T 

The Saber  


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Location: 40.28193, -105.67356 View Map  Incorrect?
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Administrators: Ben Mottinger, Leo Paik, John McNamee, Frances Fierst, Monomaniac, Kristine Hoffman (sitewide)
Submitted By: Kurt Johnson on Dec 31, 2001
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The Foil (R) the Sabre (C) and the Petite (L) from...

Description 

Towering over Sky Pond, just right of the Petit Grepon, is a massive spire named after its first route, "The Saber." Though most parties bypass it in favor of The Petit, it's truly an inspiring sight, taller and steeper than it's more famous neighbor. Layton Kor put up it's namesake Route in 1962, calling it 5.8. But don't be fooled - every pitch will feel a number grade harder, and it'll make the Petit's equally rated "South Face" route feel like a walk in the park. No need to worry about crowds either, thanks to the Petit. I'm willing to bet that even its two classics (The Kor Route and the Southwest Corner) have rarely been climbed more than once on the same day.

Descent: You can either climb all the way to the summit (which involves a lot of 4th and easy 5th class ups and downs) and down the back side into The Gash (may require some easy 5th class downclimbing). Once on the talus slope, you can either head down towards the Andrews Glacier trail and back out to the trail you came in on, or traverse east beneath a few smaller spires and descend the gully marked with a cairn, which, after one short rappel puts you back near Sky Pond. The other option is to do the rappel route which starts at the beginning of the summit ridge and which heads down the east face and eventually into the gully on the east side of the formation. It's a good and fairly straightforward route, and from what I remember, most or all of the anchors are slings around blocks or constrictions (except for possibly a couple that are bolted near the bottom) and are set up for double 50 meter ropes. There may also be intermediate slings put in place by retreating climbers who only had one rope.

Getting There 

From the Glacier Gorge parking lot, head up the trail to Sky Pond (about 3 1/2 miles) and scramble up the talus to the base. If you find yourself at a rock that looks like the Eiffel tower with crowds of people on it, you've gone too far.

Climbing Season



Weather station 8.5 miles from here

5 Total Routes

['4 Stars',1],['3 Stars',4],['2 Stars',0],['1 Star',0],['Bomb',0]
['<=5.6',0],['5.7',0],['5.8',0],['5.9',1],['5.10',3],['5.11',1],['5.12',0],['5.13',0],['>=5.14',0],['',0],['<=V1',0],['V2-3',0],['V4-5',0],['V6-7',0],['V8-9',0],['V10-11',0],['V12-13',0],['>=V14',0]

The Classics

Mountain Project's determination of some of the classic, most popular, highest rated routes for The Saber:
Kor Route   5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a     Trad, Alpine, 10 pitches   
Southwest Corner   5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a     Trad, Alpine, 8 pitches   
Southeast Corner   5.10 6b 20 VII- 19 E2 5b     Trad, Alpine, 7 pitches, 1300'   
The Pocketknife   5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c R     Trad, Alpine, 5 pitches, 850'   
Browse More Classics in The Saber

Featured Route For The Saber
Solid line is the version of the SE corner that we did. We found the climbing to be consistently 5.9 with the second pitch being one of the most beautiful pitches I've ever done. <br /> <br />P1. Start in Kor's Dihedral, climbing straight up and above it to a large grassy ledge at 55m, and then continue to a belay ledge 10m further under the huge, hanging corner of the SW Corner route.  <br /> <br />P2. Move left and into the wide, hanging corner, traversing right once on top of it. Continue upwards and right until you spot a beautiful RF dihedral/ramp with crisp finger crack. Follow this as it widens to hand crack and reaches a narrow belay ledge below a hanging roof. 70m.  <br /> <br />P3. Climb what is now a fist crack past the hanging roof on the left via faceholds. Continue to the top of the Saber, 50m. <br /> <br />The dotted line is a more direct and steeper connection to the beautiful fingercrack/dihedral on pitch 2.

Southeast Corner 5.10 6b 20 VII- 19 E2 5b  CO : Alpine Rock : ... : The Saber
This route is a nice outing and represents several possibilities in a general area. This is on the S.E. corner of the Saber, left of the Kor Route and Right of the SW corner. The climbing can be generally summarized as good moves on good rock and occasionally lacking protection, but not where it matters. Cruxes are reasonably well protected and also vary in difficulty upon the precise line taken.P1-2, 5.6, 500': Make your way up the SE end of the Saber on moderate and easy terrain (5.6, tops) to...[more]   Browse More Classics in CO

Photos of The Saber Slideshow Add Photo
Ran Glennon on the second rappel. The last pitch of the Kor Route climbs the "nebulous terrain" to the left of the grass.
Ran Glennon on the second rappel. The last pitch o...
The Petit and the Sabre in early morning light.
The Petit and the Sabre in early morning light.
Dawn hits the Saber and Petite.
Dawn hits the Saber and Petite.
Petit Grepon left  and the Saber right
BETA PHOTO: Petit Grepon left and the Saber right
Ran Glennon on the fifth and last rappel.
Ran Glennon on the fifth and last rappel.
Petit Grepon, Saber and Foil.
Petit Grepon, Saber and Foil.
Frosty belaying at the top of the main buttress.
Frosty belaying at the top of the main buttress.

Comments on The Saber Add Comment
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By Charles Vernon
From: Tucson, AZ
Jun 29, 2003
We did the rap route from the top of the "South Buttress" (beginning of the summit ridge), and what we found for the first anchor was very disturbing: it looked like a deliberate death trap, or at the very least someone's idea of a bad joke. Slings were somewhat loosely arranged around a horn, which upon further inspection proved to be completely detached from the rock, and the back-up sling, which went up and out of sight from this, was attached to...nothing at all. Had I clipped into and weighted this anchor, it would have failed instantly and I would have fallen about 80 feet. Disturbing, to say the least.

We rearranged these slings around a different horn and hopefully that's where they'll stay. The rest of the raps are all off of slings around horns and constrictions, and seemed solid--no problems pulling the rope, not too much loose stuff, etc. 2 ropes are mandatory--we only saw one intermediate anchor.
By Tony B
From: Around Boulder, CO
Jun 9, 2006
The first rap anchor at the top of the first summit (= south buttress = spire proper) has now been refurbished. It *was* 2 stoppers set within 2 inches of eachother in the same piece of rock clipped with a single bent-gate biner on them. This is where the book topos show slings. I put a new sling around the summit and fixed this to the stoppers and put on a new 3/8" Mallion Rapide (8,800 lb.-tested). This is now a better anchor, but was limited by what I had on me for replacement.
This first rap is ~110' to a good anchor. (Est. we used a 70m, which had length to spare.)
The second rap is ~100 to a 'not so comforting' anchor. (Est. w/70m)
The third rap is ~150' over the edge into space and down to a ledge...
The next two raps can be combined with 60 or 70m ropes, skipping a not-so-inspiring anchor at the end of the gully with loose rocks to pull down when you pull your rope- so stay on the E-facing wall and skip the one at the back of the gully with the long 'leash' on it.
After that, you rap to the ground on double ropes again.
By Tony B
From: Around Boulder, CO
Aug 13, 2006
A few notes on this, particularly for the descent:
#1) Someone rearranged the infamous top anchor since I did in May. They have added some cord on a second pinnacle and bound this to the sling I put on the summit. While this is probably stronger than I left it, they removed the good fixed stopper on the right (BD #8 or 9). This anchor still needs a little more work. The two slings are presently joined with a third sling which is rapped from. There are single points of failure in this that could still produce "very exciting" results, or in the case of the adjoining sling, deadly ones. I was fine rapping off of it, but it does stand in harsh conditions and will erode with time, a finite amount of time. The stopper should be replaced and tied into the anchor and/or the slings should be made redundant, particularly the low one from which the link is hanging. Perhaps someone that knows this anchor can suggest an even better alternative. Backing uo the main sling placed would require ~30' of webbing. Sorry I did not do this- I feel like I am asking for something I was not willing to do myself. Actually we took the gear to do it, (small wired hexes and some webbing) but a storm was coming in and speed was our most immediate concern.

#2) The suggestion I made about avoiding a particular rap was a darn good one. After getting my rope stuck TWICE trying to pull from the station I said was a bad idea this time, I cursed the darn thing for hours. There is a natural "notch" for the rope to slip into that is a total locker. We eventually pull rope from the far end of the ledge, out to the East end on the chockstone rap. This was after climbing back up and untwisting the junk that popped into it as it rolled into the notch. Read the first set of notes and follow them.
By claramie
From: Boulder, CO
Jun 29, 2008
Climbed the Southwest Corner yesterday and it was AWESOME!!! Ended up doing the last two 9 pitches of Southeast corner because we were a little far right at the belay but it was such a great route. Highly recommend simul climbing to the main belay ledge (350 - 400~) where both Kor route and SW start.

Rap the east face / gully with double ropes. 5 raps in all if I remember correctly. Despite what I read about the raps on this site, we both thought the raps were all good, comfy ledges (one was so-so), easy to find, and plenty strong.

12 hours car to car. I feel pretty good about that! Yeah summertime in the Park!!!

CL
By J. Thompson
From: denver, co
Jun 24, 2010
The rap route now goes with a single 70m.
We added 1 station, all but 1 are obvious.
The inobvious station is the last rap. Instead of using the obvious anchor off the overhanging chock stone...look off to skier's left, there's another rap off a chockstone.

josh
By Dan G0D5H411
From: Colorado Springs, CO
Jul 19, 2010
Tony B's rap instructions are dead on. On 7-18-2010 added a secondary biner to the single quicklink on raps 2 and 3. All rap stations mentioned in the above instructions now have either 2 quicklinks, biners, rings or combination of the above.
By Martin le Roux
From: Superior, CO
Aug 13, 2011
As J. Thompson mentions, the rap route now goes with a single 70m. If you're using double 60s, Tony B's 2006 description is still accurate, but the 3rd rap (150' over the edge into space and down to a ledge) now has an intermediate rap station. Something to be aware of if you're counting rap stations and trying to follow Tony's description.

It's not hard to arrange the ropes so they don't run through the rope-eating notch that Tony mentions. This is at station #5 (Tony's original count) or #6 if you count the new rap station mentioned above.
By Eric and Lucie
From: Boulder, CO
Jun 22, 2012
As of June 2012, all rap stations are in good shape with fresh slings/cords and good rings or 'biners.

The third anchor is still less than comforting given what it is attached to (large, wedged block whose stability is hard to judge), but I could not find any obvious way to improve/replace it. I for one would not have any problem with a pair of bolts on the nice solid rock 30 feet or so below this one and right at the edge of the drop....

Also, one minor correction to Tony's rap instructions:
  • the second rap is also ~110', i.e. if you have double 60s, you'll need to use both ropes all the way down.

Finally, the last two raps are very long. Only a couple to a few feet to spare on our 60m doubles.