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BETA PHOTO: Route is in black. Possible alternate approaches i...
P1: Entrance Exam pitch. Begin from a grassy ledge, aiming for a lone medium/small tree about 160' up and 40' right. There are 5 bolts (I think) with the first being about 25' off the deck under a small roof. Belay off tree. 5.10
P2: 25' (if that) pitch to good sized ledge with 2 bolts for belay. 5.5 Can be linked with P1 but rope drag gets very bad and it will be very tight (but doable) with a 60m rope.
P3: Slab pitch. 90' up a moderately tough slab with a cruxy akward long reach from an odd pocket. A few bolts and a think 1 pin. Leads to large ledge with double bolt belay. 5.10
P4: Traversing pitch. Climb 15' up from belay (there used to be a hidden pin that would protect from a factor 2 but it's gone now, however you can get good small cam), traverse left a little ways to nice 20' finger crack up a dihedral. Then, continue left again, to a dihedral with a bolt on its left side. Do not go up the dihedral with the bolt but continue traversing. After rounding the corner, start up, pull a small roof with good holds. Continue another 30 feet to ledge with 2 bolt belay. 5.10c 110'
P5: Hematoma pitch. Go straight up small crack with fixed pins and a bolt or two to supplement good wires and cams. Tops out at decent sized ledge with 2 bolt belay. 5.10d, 120'
P6: Red Tower Pitch. Best pitch of the route and one of the best pitches in Montana - very aesthetic.
Climb easy ground above belay, moving left to the base of the tower. Climb 100' up sustained crack on right side of the tower, laybacking and jamming. Belay off two bolts on top of tower - small but good belay. 5.10c/d
P7: Climb up and right on an easier pitch. I always seem to have trouble finding good pro on this one, but it really isn't that hard, however you may have to clear a little moss out of the cracks. Tops out on decent ledge, 2 bolt belay. 5.9, 100'
P8: Crux headwall pitch. Climb up crack from belay. 30' up moves a little left past bolt, up tough finger crack (sandbag?) for 25' feet of sustained climbing. The jams are all there but can be finicky. Top is slightly easier but not super secure. Leads to a semi-hanging belay that is now bolted, but can also continue right to alcove and belay. 5.11 100'
It seems most people rap from the top of P8 because it's so easy with all the bolted belays; however, if you traverse an easy 20' right you reach an alcove with some fixed nuts and slings, and can continue to the summit from there over short, very easy ground. My third time doing this route we finally went all the way to the top and I now regret not doing it earlier. The walk off to the back and right down a large chute is really easy and quite scenic, and it eliminates the need to drag 2 ropes up the route.
If you want to rap, two 50 meter ropes will do the trick, but if you use two 70s you can link some rappels (I've linked from the top of P5 to the top of P3, and if I remember right from top of P6 to top of P4).
A classic route by any standard. I would highly recommend it.
Approach from west side of campground on north side of creek. Trail kind of disappears but travel northwest for about .5 mile to get to the base of the Prow (the first large feature in the canyon), gaining about 800 feet of elevation from the campground. Be prepared to hike over lots of unconsolidated talus. Continue to a gully that is the dominating feature at the base of the wall, the start of the climb is just to the left of this.
There are alternate approaches to this climb on the right to skip the first two pitches of the route. However, it can be hard to find the correct ramp. Some people may want to belay a really easy traverse to the anchors at the top of the 2nd pitch. Another way I've done it is belay an easy but dirty 5.7 pitch up to the large ledge at the top of the 3rd pitch.
Standard rack will do the trick. Doubles in medium/large size cams if you like to really sew things up.
So good I stopped for a picture.
BETA PHOTO: looking up the first pitch. the bolts are extreme...
Looking down from the top of the pitch below the c...
Heading up the Red Tower Pitch, not the hardest pi...
Jeff Young following the space needle pitch.
from above before linking the pitch above.
How we started this thing. A little wacky but work...
By Ian Cavanaugh
Feb 3, 2011
I climbed this route in '09. The first ptich (at the time) had 4 bolts that led through I believe 3 roofs and up a large slab. After the bolts, we headed right into the broken crack system the angles left, finding very sparse gear. I believe I was only able to find a single trust worthy placement after the fourth bolt until the tree anchor. I would agree that linking the first two pitches would add a ton of rope drag and would not be recommended. At the top of the 8th pitch it is recommended to traverse left 20-30 feet to a small alcove and a few fixed pieces. this is a much more comfortable place to belay from and leads right to the summit if desired. I would also bring some webbing to replace what is there as it would greatly benefit from a clean up. If you dont mind the extra rope 2-70m ropes will get you down in 5 raps. A great route that will test your lead head and your slab climbing abilities. well worth a try.
By Kyle Pease
From: Missoula, MT
Jun 19, 2013
There are a few decent logs across the river at the base of the talus field on the eastern side of the prow. A short bushwhack to get to the river, but a better approach than the traverse IMO. Trundled a large block on a ledge 1/2 way up the dihedral on the traverse pitch yesterday.
By Nick Stayner
From: Billings, MT
Aug 22, 2013
If I remember right, this route gets sun most of the day, making a cooler fall day an ideal time for an ascent?
Also, anyone know if the raps can be done w/ a single 70m rope?
By Kevin Kent
From: Flagstaff, AZ
Sep 6, 2013
Nick, almost all the routes in Blodgett get all day sun. Cool fall days are nice, but a little wind and clouds go a long way for hotter days.
A single 70m won't cut it for rapping unless you leave gear, but I would highly recommend walking off. It's awesome to top out the formation and the walk off is easy, scenic, and can be quicker than rapping, especially if it's windy when it's easy to get ropes stuck.
And Ian, you want to traverse RIGHT, not left at the top of pitch 8 to get to an alternative anchor and to top out.
By Ralph Steel Dragon Dude
Oct 10, 2013
If you have already done the Red Tower pitch consider trying the finger crack variation to the right of it. I know, I know, the Red Tower is great and super fun but the finger crack variation is awesome too and adds another 5.11 pitch to the route! Off the belay head straight up past a few bolts on mediocre face climbing and pull into the splitter finger crack just up and slightly left of the last bolt. Fun and sustained fingee jams will eventually lead you back to the belay on top of the Red Tower. Excellent! Try it!!!