Type: Trad, Alpine, 7 pitches, Grade II
FA: Pete Soby, Charles Schobinger, 1958 (from Gillett)?
Page Views: 75,489 total · 322/month
Shared By: Patrick Vernon on Dec 31, 2000
Admins: Leo Paik, John McNamee, Frances Fierst, Monty, Monomaniac

You & This Route


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Access Issue: Seasonal Closures Details

Description

The North Ridge is a good beginner alpine route. The first half is forgettable, but the last two pitches are perfect for their grade. Stay to the left of the ridge to find the last two pitches.

Expect 6-8 pitches depending on your rope, your belay spots.

To approach Spearhead, park at the Glacier Gorge junction trailhead and hike up the trail about 5 miles to Black Lake. From there, head east up an unmarked trail to tree-line, then contour over to the base of Spearheads NE face. The North Ridge route begins at the NW corner of the mountain. Be careful to chose the correct line at the start; parties have gotten off-route here onto much more difficult terrain. Look for a pronounced groove above a slab near the highest point of ground.

Climb up poorly protected slab to the base of the slot, then pull huge jugs up the left side of the slot with good pro. Continue up easier grooves and slabs for several hundred feet, angling to the left. At that point you should reach the very crest of the ridge, and the prominent flake/pillar of the Barb should be visible down and to your left. These initial pitches are often simul-climbed, but most parties rope up here.

Climb a shallow corner on beautiful rock right of the crest, traverse somewhat right and head up more cracks and corners to a belay (5.6). The final pitch head for an awkward, acute dihedral, also 5.6. The route-finding can be confusing on the upper ridge, although many lines are climbable. Mountaineering judgment is essential. The summit, a short scramble up to your left, is absolutely spectacular and totally worth a visit if the weather is good. Descend significantly to the southwest, to avoid getting cliffed, down slabs and scree until you can contour around to the base of the climb.

Protection

Standard rack.

Photos