|North Face of Pike's Peak
Total Abandon is a stellar route in an awesome setting. It is the gully/chimney system that is located on the right side of the Corinthian Column on Pike's Peak's north face. With deluxe access from the Hero Rock Traverse, what more could you ask for? OK. How about 300 to 1000 feet of mixed climbing?
From 13,000 feet on the troll road (yuck, I hate paying trolls), park at the last major curve before the road heads up to the summit. Cross the road and head east until you can drop off into the void. Traverse south along the Hero Rock Traverse. This will involve mainly dropping elevation at first and then traversing. Allow at least an hour if you are unfamiliar with the traverse.
Locate the chimney system on the right hand side of the Corinthian Column. This is a giant buttress of rock on the Hero Rock Traverse. Work up into the chimney system. The crux is going to be the second or third pitch and involves a steep, thin wall of ice with a mixed move at the top. Continue up the gully to the summit or bail off to the right and descend to your car.
This route is probably in condition most of the year. Watch out for death avalanche potential in the spring and thin conditions in the fall. The gate at the bottom of the mountain is the most problematic issue. Based on current gate opening times, it seems as if early May or late September would be best for an attempt. Remember, you can always walk up from Manitou Springs. Use Rock and Ice #85 for a reference.
This is a stellar route in an awesome setting. Enjoy.
[Eds. This submission had been listed under RMNP/Alpine then non-RMNP/Alpine and now here by request & for better organization.]
You might need a little bit of everything for this one. A few knife blades and Lost Arrows would be nice. Bring some bigger passive pro as well. Camming units suck in icy cracks. A couple of shorter ice screws (mids and stubbies) will round out the rack nicely.
|By Bosier Parsons|
From: Colorado Springs, CO
Sep 18, 2004
This route does not often come into shape and definitely does not hang around all year. The first section below the steep crux is low-angle rock that often gets covered with a few inches of ice, rendering stubbies pretty much useless, and not offering too much for rock pro. The climbing here is not bad but a little awkward. I have never finished the route. My best attempt ended abruptly when the snow just below the steep section unexpectedly detached from the rock and sent my partner sailing. Pretty scary.
The main reason I'm writing right now -- I was on the Peak today, and Total Abadnon is in! Ice looks great, still thin, but definitely climbable. Hero Traverse is dry. Blind Assumption also looks likes it's in, though much skinnier than when I've climbed it before.
Also, watch for these routes in May, especially if we get a big, late season dump. Have fun!
From: Boulder, CO
Apr 23, 2006
Phil Wortman and I climbed this route yesterday. We completed it but without much ICE. I'd say the first pitch had about half of an inch of sketchy ice on it. The second pitch had NO ice on it. Just about a foot or so of snow that had to be cleared to get to the rock below it. This was a sketchy lead. It was crumbly up to about the third pitch when finally we found some ice (just above the overhanging crux...and Thank GOD it was there because it was a struggle to clear that bulge and just when we needed it... ICE!). The ice on the third pitch was several inches thick in spots...thick enough for stubbies. The third pitch ended above another (much easier) overhanging boulder and a snow field to the top. I'd say that because there was little or no ice on most of the route, that it was about M6. With ice, it would have been very enjoyable WI4+. I can't wait til next year when hopefully it will be in completely. Great route!
From: Dysfunctional, CO
May 11, 2009
Anyone been up here lately? Anybody have any idea what the conditions are like? Anybody want to go climb this?
From: Estes Park, CO
Jun 8, 2012
Climbed this on June 2, '12 and found great (albeit wet) conditions. The road access via Rock Hero Traverse rules, but the "rangers" are a real travesty with the road. Climbing routes like this in the Spring require early starts, but the staff is clueless about climbing...and in general. We learned to be prepared for sitting in the car for an indeterminant amount of time and/or be prepared for multiple attempts. Getting up to the parking spot on the road was definitely the crux for us.
Having never been there before, the Traverse took us 22 minutes and was 85% dry with a few sections of isothermal, sloppy snow. We did a pitch on snow to gain the steeper stuff and then completed the route in 4 more pitches. There's a piton anchor above a large chockstone (on the right) on the first pitch; we stopped here for convenience and safety as it's relatively sheltered from falling ice. The pins are ok but can be backed up with cams above and right...not the most comfy belay. There are two fixed "anchors" on pitch two; the first one, well, I don't even know what it was comprised of, just looked like a bunch of tat culminating in some sort of master-point and the second was directly above the other (a purple cordelette connecting a nut with other components I couldn't see). These anchors could be useful if you needed to bail for some reason.
The crux pitch was burly for us, dripping like a shower and super chandeliered (we were there hours later than we'd hoped thanks to the "rangers"). We pulled it off by skirting up the better ice around right of the main pillar in an awkward chimney-thing that was icy on both sides and exciting in soft boots. The final pitches were easier, could've been combined easily, but we did a quick pitch above the crux to get out from under some objective hazard looming above the belay (lots of ice in the sun). Then it was just slamming up soft snow towards the summit. Awesome climbing, great temps, great stone...can't wait to go back and explore some more.
|By Pete J. Lardy|
Oct 16, 2012
What you should know about the Pike Peak Highway (toll road):
Hours of operation for winter hours (Oct. 1-Memorial day) 9am, gate closes at 5pm. You need to be heading down by 4pm. If you don't get your work done by 5pm, the rangers will close and lock the gate for the night. If you want the gate opened after hours, they charge $500 to come and open it. Otherwise your car stays on the uphill side of the gate overnight. We are not allowed to intentionally park overnight and may be fined.
Fee for the road is $12 per person ($10 after Dec. 1st.) in vehicle, if you pay for fishing ($4) drive up to the approach for these climbs the Rangers will send you back down to pay the full $12. Don't make climbers look bad on the highway or they could restrict parking for us.
The highway (pro's and con's) is the price we pay for a 20 minute approach (and descent) on an early season multi-pitch ice climbs. Let's keep a good relationship going with the Rangers and fellow climbers on it.
From: colorado springs, CO
Mar 17, 2013
Does anybody have any beta on this route for early early spring? Any info on current conditions would be great. I'm not sure how much ice would be on it right now, but if there is a bit and mainly a mixed climb, I think the route would still be interesting.
|By Kerr Adams|
From: Albuquerque, NM
Sep 29, 2013
Does anyone have any idea of the conditions? Hoping to climb in a couple weeks.
|By phil wortmann|
From: Colorado Springs, Co.
Oct 18, 2013
Hi Kevin, why would you need to access this from the top? Or feel the need to establish anchors for this purpose?