Type: Trad, Grade III
FA: Ed Webster, Lauren Husted
Page Views: 4,055 total · 19/month
Shared By: Steve "Crusher" Bartlett on Aug 31, 2001
Admins: Leo Paik, John McNamee, Frances Fierst, Monty, Monomaniac

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Lauren's Arete is the ridge/arete forming the west side of SOB Gully. The climb feels more like some old-time mountaineering classic in the Tetons than a modern rock climb. It is very satisfying.

To get to the start, hike down SOB Gully until not too far from the river, then skirt around west around the toe of the arete/buttress. Ascend a little till at the base of an easy chimney/gully heading upwards and right (east) to the arete proper. Scramble up this and belay on the crest under a face.

Climb up and right past bushes to gain better rock, cracks, a fixed pin (if you are lucky), and a nice stance. From here, scramble thirty feet down to an obvious notch. Climb up a steep flake crack slightly to your left. This rapidly gets easier, though is an excellent 5.8 crack for a long ways. This gains some airy ledges. Here forge boldly upwards (5.9) up the steep prow above. I found some 5.10 moves hereabouts, but I may have been slightly off-route, or maybe not.... The rock drops very steeply on both sides, making the climbing exposed, and retreat very tricky. Continue directly up the arete for two more pitches, until the angle eases off. After gaining a larger notch, there is another steep and fun 5.8+ pitch up some pegmatite, which gains easier ground and a large ledge system. Here the "descent" continues slightly upwards along a narrow, loose, and dangerous ledge to the upper reaches of the SOB Gully. Though nominally third class, this is hairy, and if the hour is late or the party is tired or inexperienced, it may be safer to rap from trees to join SOB Gully lower down (likely two raps from here with double ropes).

When we climbed this, we had a blast, and finished in maybe four or five hours, but we passed a party on the second pitch. They had started much earlier than us and ended up getting back to their car long after dark. It would be real easy to have a hideous epic on this long and hard-to-escape route.


A general rack up to maybe 3 inches. Maybe a few extra long slings.


Well... after reading the route description above, I can't say that i recognize the route description. I also know that I don't lead 5.9. So, there are obviously some variations that can be made on this climb. We climbed the route in late September of '01 using Green's guidebook, it was adequate. I would not consider this a classic climb; however, I would recommend it to friends just so that they could suffer like we did... it is a long day. Jul 15, 2002
The climb does feel much more like a mountaineering route than a modern rock climb, but that is true of many routes in the Black. The views from the belays are some of the finest of any route in the Black Canyon. The climb was one of the better easy routes I have done there. I would recommend to those looking for a good adventure. A few comments worth noting about the route itself: There is a lot of poison ivy near the base of the route. Finding it can be the crux. There is a ledge system that cuts across arete near the toe. It goes up and over to the West side where the gully mentioned above can be found. The climbing is better than it looks, though there is some bushes. We never found it to be above 5.8 and I would not be surprised if some would consider it 5.7. I could see where one could make it harder, but judicious route finding will keep you on the path of least resistance. After climbing the crest of the arete to the larger notch, there is a 300' traverse to the base of the final headwall. This is where the final "5.8+" pitch is, though we found it to be more like 5.7. The headwall seemed to be best climbed via a crack system on its left side. Atop of this, there is another 400' of traversing along the crest of the ridge to the final ledge system that takes you back to the SOB gully. This ledge system is by far the loosest climbing encountered, though it is truely only 3rd class. It is easy to belay across it as a pitch and there is sufficient protection. We climbed about 8 pitches including one on the "descent" ledge traverse. It took us five hours climbing and we took our time. Apr 28, 2003
Ken Heiser
Boulder, CO
Ken Heiser   Boulder, CO
I did this route with my friend Niel 9/3/05. I decided to make a post here to perhaps understand better where the route goes, rating etc..

So we hike down the SOB gully all the way to the base of the gully to the toe of the buttress that forms Lauren's arete. As we we were roping up at the very toe the climbing ranger came along (I feel like a dope for not know his name). He suggested that we were not at the start of the route and we follow him to the start. He showed us a gully/ledge that led up to a face with a large white peg chimney about 100 ft up from the very toe of the buttress that had a fixed pin visible about 50ft up and a large chockstone with bail slings on it. I attempted to lead this pitch but could not deal with the rock as every hold I touched came off in my hands. After hemming and hawing for a while and doing some exploring we found that if we followed the same ledge with the chimney to the left (west) into the gully, almost as soon as reaching the gully another ledge/gully was intersected which led us back (east) to the ridge crest at the top of the chimney about 100 ft higher.

Our P1. starting from a nice flat spot/ledge above the chimney, up the face for a while .5, up the steeper section maybe 6 or so to a belay.This is the pic of Neil following P1 below- already starting to pick up some big air. 200ftOur P2 We downclimbed 30 ft and climbed a [beautiful] crack corner on the left side of the arete, the pitch finished for us by going to the top of the step in the ridge and belaying where the climb gets very steep .8. 200ftOur p3. Our crux pitch. The arete becomes a true fin at this point. I decided to stay directly on the ridge for this section. I went up the ridge to a steep section .9s boulder problem (this can be avoided to the left), from there I went up an easier section (the ridge is about 4 ft wide here), I put in a good [piece] and did a wild step across 9 and up the face 9 to a final bulge/roof .8 with good pro if the rock does not break. 200 ft This was an amazing pitch with spectacular air. This pitch is shown on the 2 photos showing Neil following our p3. below.Our p4, We went on up the arete on great rock .7 200ft.Our p5 We went up the arete on great rock to the top of the step below the final headwall. I lead the rope out across the ridge to a good point to unrope. .6 200ft. Hiking: It started to sprinkle so we escaped left on ledges instead of doing the "final 8+" headwall. This is the first really decent escape from the route in 1000' of climbing. After hiking for a bit around the left side of the final headwall we headed up some Flatironesque scrambling and scree till we reached the ridge again. Our pitch 6. After hiking a ways up the ledge system we encountered a section where the ledge narrows down. I led our pitch 6 across this in hiking shoes. We roped up because it is only 3rd class but some of the foot hold are right on the edge of a cliff that drops off for several hundred ft. and a fall would surely be fatal if one of these hold broke. From there we followed the ledge that leads all the way to the top of SOB. So the total route for us was 6 200ft pitches and lots of hiking. My ratings are completely subjective and are completely contingent on the exact line followed. I really loved this route for the good climbing, fantastic position, and wonderful atmosphere. I also recognized that this is a big route with some [routefinding] challenges, that would be very difficult to escape from in the event of injury or bad weather.

So as to the first pitch with the chimney, bail slings around the chockstone and the piton out to the right that we went around, if anyone knows where this goes exactly and what the rating is I would appreciate getting some beta on this pitch. Sep 6, 2005
No way is this scrappy little rib better than Russian Arete or Great White Wall. I even thought Porcelain Arete was better. Decent climbing, pretty easy by Canyon standards, some interesting route finding, and short hike add up to a fun day when you don't feel like going for something bigger (almost everything else). Have fun.

III 5.8

Christian Apr 18, 2006
Jeremy Werlin
Cedaredge, CO
Jeremy Werlin   Cedaredge, CO
Maybe I was off route a bit (don't think so. . . ), but be prepared to run it out at times. Good face climbing at a moderate grade. Overall, a much better quality route than I expected. Wild views. Don't even think about NOT roping up for the last 3rd class traverse--very loose.

Well worth doing. Like every route in the Black, be SOLID at the grade. Oct 15, 2008
George Bell
Boulder, CO
George Bell   Boulder, CO
Be extremely careful after unroping on this route. Ed named it for Lauren after the first ascent when she fell to her death on the descent. Oct 15, 2008
Tom Bowker
somewhere in the USA
Tom Bowker   somewhere in the USA
If you're looking for adventure, this climb is it. If you're looking for great rock climbing, this isn't it. May 8, 2019