Avg: 2.5 from 33 votes
|Type:||Trad, Alpine, 10 pitches|
|FA:||Layton Kor and Dean Moore|
|Page Views:||7,743 total, 40/month|
|Shared By:||Kurt Johnson on Dec 28, 2001|
|Admins:||Leo Paik, John McNamee, Frances Fierst, Monty, Monomaniac|
DescriptionI don't remember much about this route except that it was harder than I expected. Not only the supposed 5.8 crux pitch, which almost everyone considers a sandbag, but nearly every pitch on the route. Even the last of the three "initial pitches," a so-called 5.6, bulged out slightly with delicate moves and tricky protection, and although it's possible that I was off-route, nothing to the left or right looked any easier. Apparently, that's just the nature of routes on The Saber. I heard a story of a well-known Estes climber who struggled on the Southwest Corner route even though he was capable of leading several grades higher. The Saber is no Petit Grepon, and climbers, especially more moderate or less-seasoned leaders, should prepare accordingly.
We began the route high up the east side, near the base of the righthand gully/chimney, on a steep grassy slope (which required a bit of easy 5th class climbing over a short band of rock). From the here, look around for the line of least resistance and traverse diagonally up and left, and eventually staight up for 3 pitches until you reach the large and obvious ledge from where the route officially starts. Move your belay right along the ledge to the base of a distinct left-facing dihedral. This is pitch 1 as discribed in the Rossiter guidebook.
P1) Head up the dihedral to where it peters out, pulling left at a small roof and then up another left-facing dihedral (to the left) to a good ledge. This is the crux pitch and is definitely 5.9 climbing. There's a thin parallel crack running straight up from the belay ledge in which I placed the 2 smallest aliens and the smallest tcu as my anchor; maybe I missed some more obvious gear placements but that was all I could find. It made for a solid set-up, but I'd have had a harder time finding a belay if I hadn't had those small cams. Also, after the small roof before the second dihedral, there's another dihedral directly overhead which leads to the same ledge that confused me at first, and which I'm glad I didn't take as I'm sure it's harder.
P2) Traverse right and up the edge of the face into an easy dihedral which ends at a long grassy ledge. Move your belay right along the ledge to the bottom of a large and obvious left-facing dihedral.
P3) Head up the steep dihedral to a belay behind a pinnacle which you can sling with a cordelette.
P4) Continue up the next dihedral and follow the crack system to the second grassy ledge.
P5) Head up and right into what the Rossiter guide calls "nebulous" terrain. He's right: you just have to pick and choose the way that looks easiest and the most straightforward. Ther's a lot of potentially loose-looking flakes and features up here, and the angle stays steep, so climb carefully. You're aiming for a ledge with rappel slings, and it's not that easy to find.
P6) We got stormed off at the base of this pitch, and descended the rap route, but this pitch supposedly goes straight up through a bulge and a v-slot to a notch on the ridge crest, where you can either continue on to the summit (several more easy pitches along a ridge) or start the rappel route.
Descent options are explained in the discription for The Saber.