Trad, Alpine, 6 pitches, Grade IV,
Avg: 3.9 from 84
FA: FFA Bachar and Harrison, 1977
> Alpine Rock
> RMNP - Rock
> Long's Peak
After the Casual Route
and Pervertical Sanctuary
, this is probably the most "straight-forward" Diamond Route, although the free climbing rating is rather stiff (5.11c or d). The crux is short and protects well, and is easily aided. Climbers who find the Casual Route
jammed, and don't have enough big gear for Pervertical
, should consider attempting this at 5.9 or 5.10 C1 (or free), but plan on a longer day if you aid much (the entire climb is still strangely popular as a clean aid route). The climbing is generally clean and solid, with many relic fixed pins set as reminders that in its heyday, this was the most popular route on the Diamond (FA: Dalke, Goss, Hurley 1966 at 5.6 A2). D7 is also the unquestioned favorite for those few demented souls who climb the Diamond in winter. The descriptions in Rossiter, Gillett, Wadman and Dumais are all accurate, but if you do not have access to these what follows is a brief narrative describing the route.
You have survived North Chimney. Now locate the bivy cave up and left from the top of North Chimney and Casual Route
. Traverse left and low (below the loose ledge leading to Yellow Wall
start) to an exposed, 4th Class or lower 5th Class step which leads to the second prominent left-facing corner system from the cave (the first being the 5.11 start to Yellow Wall
Climb several pitches of finger and handcrack (5.9) in corners and around small flakes to a short wide section of low-end 5.10 (a couple of pieces to 4" useful here) to a good ledge and a fixed anchor. If aiding, this wide section may be the crux. Climb the right and smaller of 2 right-facing corners directly above to a continuous section of stiff 5.10 and belay. The free climbing crux looms above, a bulging section of white rock with parallel finger cracks splitting it (a fairly obvious feature). Launch upwards, then strut your stuff on the pumpy-to-protect 15 feet of technical pulls where the angle steepens- classic, clean, and exposed climbing. Belay on a small ledge, then climb a short difficult section (5.11a) leading to easier climbing and "Almost" Table Ledge (rap anchors). Climb the easier rock above to Table Ledge and traverse slightly left to anchors (start of the rappels, which are "climbers left" from the route) or further left to Kiener's
and the North Face Cables descent.
4 to 8 hours climbing time, although aid parties may take much longer- consider a bivy on Broadway. There are several variations to this route (Soma and D Minor 7 are the major ones)and much opportunity for "mixing and matching" (it's even possible to head into Hidden Diamond or Curving Vine at one point), but really, D7 takes on the most compelling and recommended line between Pervertical
and Yellow Wall
Double set wired nuts to 3" cams, 1 each 3.5, 4", 8 QDs, 6 slings. More gear for some, less for others. There are a large number of fixed pins on this route, especially in the first 300 feet- some of them are actually quite good. The route also goes clean aid at C1, and a hammer is not required.