Type: Trad, Alpine, 9 pitches, Grade III
FA: FA: Fricke & Logan, 1970. FFA: McClure & Gulley, 1975
Page Views: 56,013 total · 198/month
Shared By: Mike Sofranko on Dec 31, 2000
Admins: Leo Paik, John McNamee, Frances Fierst, Monty, Monomaniac, Tyler KC

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Description Suggest change

The Barb is a fantastic route, a great first 5.10 alpine climb. Nearly every pitch is a gem. It has a boulder problem crux with lots of sustained 5.9.

P1. Start up a left facing flake, 5.6. (Per Doug Haller: near the top, step right into a v-grove and continue up the face across blocky round to the middle earth ledge. Many parties combine pitches 1 and 2 or 1-3.)

P2. Scramble up to Middle Earth Ledge, and move left, 4th Class.

P3. Wander up the face and find a left-leaning slot. Follow this to its end, step left across the face, climb a right facing corner, and belay as high as possible, 5.6. (Per Doug Haller: the slot is not obvious or required. Many parties belay at a fixed anchor with a quicklink and continue up a series of flakes, some more loose than others, to the base of the right-facing corner. (The Rossiter guidebook suggests climbing the corner and setting up a belay. The ledge is good, but the gear is sparse and small, so there is a benefit of belaying from the base of the right-facing corner.) 

P4. Finish the corner, then follow an amazing left-leaning crack at 5.9, ~120'.

P5. Starting on the left, climb through an A-shaped roof, and follow a beautiful crack. Find a belay in a shallow, left-facing corner, don't go too high. This is a shorter pitch. (Or per Doug Haller: from the alcove, follow a left-facing and left-leaning corner for about 30 feet. The crack and wall "turn" vertical. Follow the crack up and then along right to gain a ledge below the A-shaped roof. Climb through the roof, and belay at one of two locations: 1) a ramp with some small pro or 2) 20 feet higher with larger gear but a semi-hanging belay, 5.9, 110 to 130 feet or less.) 

P6. Continue in the crack system until you see a (seemingly solid) pin to the right in a right-leaning crack. Climb past this (5.10 crux) and up to a belay. (Or per Doug Haller: make a relatively long reach, and step left to join a near parallel sided crack. Climb a few more feet up, and look right to spot a pin in a right-trending crack. Make a long reach with delicate footholfd to gain a stance below the pin. Make a couple of more bouldery moves to gain a wider crack with solid gear. Follow this to where the headwall slopes back to a slab. Belay here, 10a/b, ~120 feet.)

P7-9. Work your way over to the North Ridge, and follow that route to the top.

I called the route 10- because of the short crux, but it is graded as high as 10c in other guidebooks. The crux is only 2 or 3 moves, but the feet are kind of insecure. I've heard P4 compared favorably to P2 of Over the Hill in Eldo, and I have to agree. It is easy to climb too high on P5 in search of a better belay stance. This is my favorite route (out of a pitifully small sample size) that I have done in RMNP, and I would definitely repeat it. It is lots of fun. If possible, don't forget to scramble to the summit. It's wild!

Protection Suggest change

SR. RPs and TCUs help. Maybe bring some extra fingers to thin hands.