Type: Trad, Alpine, 6 pitches, Grade III
FA: Dan Hare and Jeff Bevan
Page Views: 8,817 total · 32/month
Shared By: Old Fart aka Dave Bohn on Jan 26, 2002
Admins: Leo Paik, John McNamee, Frances Fierst, Monty, Monomaniac, Tyler KC

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Description Suggest change

I almost feel bad about writing up this route as it was in virgin condition when I did it. It offers lots of climbing in the sustained 5.8-5.9 range on generally good to excellent rock and makes a great uncrowded alternative to Syke's or The Barb. Hike up to the south nose/arete of Spearhead which is fairly blunt and slabby at the start. The topo in Rossiter's guidebook is pretty much right on, but the face is a little more confusing than the topo shows in the first 2 pitches. We were using a 60m rope, so my belays were based accordingly.

P1. Start up the most prominent, right-facing dihedral slightly left of the actual prow and about 100' left of Age Axe. It's a clean, wide crack, easy 5.6; I belayed on top of the "tooth-shaped" flake just left and slightly below the "7" on Rossiter's topo. Close to a full rope length.

P2. Continue up on slightly harder climbing to the ominous roofs above and find the easiest way through (5.8). Look for a left-facing dihedral just over the roof and continue up a ways. Rossiter shows a belay just over the roof. I belayed about 40-50 feet higher just below another small roof. About 150'.

P3. Here I think I may have been off route. From the small roof, there are 2 options; straight up and over the roof in the continuation of the dihedral which turns into a small hand/fingers crack over the roof (which "MAY" be the 5.7 way that Rossiter shows) or continue up left around the roof which turns into a very shallow left-facing dihedral that I thought was more like 5.9-. In any case, both variations merge on easy ground at the junction of the true "South Arete". Belay just below a 3" crack in a beautiful orange open book. You are now on "Age Axe".

P4. Jam and stem up the open book with excellent position, (sustained 5.8), 80-100' to a wide ledge and belay. Rossiter incorrectly shows double bolts at the right end of this ledge. They're actually at the left end. Shift the belay over to the right just below some large flakes/chimney.

P5. Climb up through the large flakes to another large ledge. A short 5.4 pitch.

P6. The business: you have 2 choices here. The crack straight above is the final pitch of Age Axe (5.10c and fairly well fixed with wireds). My partner wasn't up for that so we shifted the belay a ways right and finished up the final pitch of 3 Stoners (5.9). (The mental crux of the route was climbing across the down sloping, sidewalk wide ledge that is the common last belay for Age Axe, Stone Monkey and 3 Stoners.) The final pitch up 3 Stoners is excellent. A short 5.9 chimney leads up 20' to a point you can step right and into a perfect 5.9 finger crack. The rock here is really good! Continue up this to a final roof passed on the left and up to the descent ledge.

Descent: as mentioned by others, walk down SW (leftwards-facing uphill) a long ways on a fairly open ledge/meadow. There are a few cairns. At some point, you need to downclimb a bit to gain the top of a long, NE facing (left; facing downhill) ramp. It's VERY easy to get cliffed-out here! Take some care to find the proper place to turn down. I don't remember there being any cairns to mark the point but there is a faint trail. The long ramp back down is a lot like the descent down Redguard and wouldn't be lot of fun in wet or icy conditions.

Protection Suggest change

Standard rack with a few extra pieces in the 3" range.

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