The White Dike
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I don't know who did the first ascent and if they gave it a name, but I think I saw it refered to as The White Dike in Tim Toula's Rock 'n' Road. If this is the right name, it's fitting since the route follows an obvious light-colored vertical band of gneiss from the river all the way to the top. This is probably the longest, most striking line in the Narrows.
I wish I could describe how to get there more accurately, but I'm in North Carolina at the moment, and I climbed it back in '98 or '99 (before even knowing if it had been climbed) so it's been a while. I do know, however, that it's not far before the tube when driving from Estes. It's located across the river, and we did a Tyrolean on a cable just downriver and scrambled across the opposite rocky bank to get to the base. On the way back, we decided the scramble and Tyrolean was too much trouble so we found a shallow spot and waded back across.
It's an enticing feature, a cool position, and the climbing's pretty good, but the rock is exceptionally loose. The dike itself seemed more solid but was difficult to protect, so we stuck to the left side of it. I lead the 2nd pitch which seemed looser than the first, and remember being constantly on my toes to avoid killing my belayer. At one point I put a TCU in a splitter crack only to realize it was behind a 6 foot detached flake just a tilt away from separating from the wall.
I'm giving this climb an R rating, both because of the loose rock and because if you were to climb the dike itself, which is safer than the left side, it's hard to protect.
Also, the I think the Toula book calls the dike itself 5.10 and the left side 5.9. I don't remember it feeling harder than 5.7, but I suppose it could have been as hard as 5.8. I'm giving it a 5.7+ unless I hear otherwise.
I'm giving the route only one star because it's loose. Otherwise it's a really cool climb.
Between the route and the Beige Siphon Tube is a long pullout on the river side of the road. There are two cables crossing the river here. Either clip a biner you don't mind ruining to the cable and do a Tyrolean traverse, or go a little bit upstream and find the shallowest spot to ford.
Right off the deck you'll find some long rusted bolts sticking out of the rock every few feet horizontally along the river (they probably used to hold electrical lines a long time ago). Sling one of these as your first piece (and back it up) and head up to the middle of the route where there's a decent stance and maybe even some old webbing and fixed gear (for the rappel). From here, head up to the top being extra careful not to knock any rocks onto your belayer. We used double 50 meter ropes and each pitch almost stretched them out.
I remember the first rap being a little sketchy. We found several slings either around a potentially loose boulder or an insecure-looking constriction. Rap back to the first belay, double checking the fixed gear or adding your own if need be, and rap back to the base.
Nearing the top!
Scotty lookin' for a piece on the first pitch!
|Comments on The White Dike
|By allen simons|
Nov 3, 2006
rating: 5.10- 6a 18 VI+ E1 5a R
I do believe it is called the White Dike. I have climbed it on a couple of occasions by myself setting a fixed line and using an ascender to belay myself up (essentialy toproping it). I was able to reach the bottom with one full 160 foot rap and another 70 foot putting it at about 220 feet, not the 300 mentioned. It is loose for sure. I tried placing gear as I went up just to see if I felt it was something I wanted to try to lead. I even pounded in a piton only to see it was dislodging a microwave size block out of place. In general, it is 7 or 8-ish, but I did feel I did a couple of easy 5.10 moves. I did however stay in the center of the dike avoiding the edges that seemed to offer more holds. Your location description is pretty good actually. The cable system is at the long paved pullout 0.1 mile west of the tube close to a small concrete building. The dike itself is 0.2-0.3 [mile] upstream on the north side of the river. You get a good full on view if you are driving down the canyon as you make the last turn coming out. I give it two stars for its line, length, and adventure, 10a R or X (X if the gear doesn't hold). I'm not sure who first climbed it. Jim Disney, if you read this was it you, Kor, Wilford???
|By Kurt Johnson|
From: Estes Park, CO
Nov 9, 2006
Thanks for the info...It's been a while and my memory's not as good as it used to be, now that I'm in my mid 30s;) Perhaps we were using only one 60m rope and stretched that out on rappel, which would more or less confirm the 200 and some odd feet. I have slides of the climb but don't have them with me to double check, but that's probably what I was thinking when I thought it was longer. It does deserve more than one star, despite its sketchy rock, so I'm giving it another.
|By Scott Matz|
From: Loveland, CO
Jul 23, 2009
The route took me and Cale 2 100ft pitches and a short 40ft pitch. the last 40 ft is loose as shit. pretty technical, I stayed left on the final moves and felt like low 5.8, but the first two pitches are for sure runout on 5.7+. The descent is rather gruesome. We headed east at the top and found a 3rd-4th class gully that leads to the river. We thought is was an awesome route. If you can climb trad in the Big T, you can climb anywhere.
|By allen simons|
Aug 4, 2009
rating: 5.10- 6a 18 VI+ E1 5a R
Judging by the photo, it looks like you guys were using the left wall. I think this is the way most people approach this route making your rating pretty close. If you want a thrill sometime, climb just the white rock on the dike omitting the stuff left and right. I think you will find my 5.10 R stiffer grade accurate. For the record, I have just rope soloed that way, I have not led it that way. Allen
|By Cale Farnham|
Sep 17, 2009
rating: 5.7+ 5a 15 V+ MVS 4b R
Sounds good Al. I'm definitely going to give that variation a try! We were a bit confused when we climbed this, but it makes sense now with the White Area being 10a S. Stellar climb though definitely diggin' the trad lines here. Seems like theres a lot of people that don't give BTC credit which makes for a great non-crowded area! Great job on all your FAs!