Avg: 2.3 from 14 votes
|Type:||Trad, Alpine, 950 ft, 7 pitches, Grade III|
|Page Views:||5,232 total, 28/month|
|Shared By:||Leo Paik on Jul 17, 2002|
|Admins:||Leo Paik, John McNamee, Frances Fierst, Monty, Monomaniac|
Description"An enjoyable romp up the obvious South prow of the tower" (Gillett) with lots of option climbing (a la Gill). You can dial up and down the difficulty up this alpine rock between 5.7 and 5.11. This felt more mountaineering-ish due to the many rests/ledges. Due to the wandering nature of the route, a camera seemed underutilized.
Approach: Approach via Loch Vale, Sky Pond, to the base of the Petit Grepon (allow 2-2 1/4h). From here, angle left and up around a 300 foot-high rock buttress (left and higher than the base of the Petit). Scramble 3rd class (with sections you don't want to fall) towards the base of the SW face (shady). Stay left of this last 100 foot buttress and find a ledge system. Allow 30-40 minutes for this last bit.
Description: There are probably nearly infinite variations to this route. We tried to aim for the prow and generally take the path of least resistance with a few detours. I'll describe one possibility, our path. There is lots of rocks on ledges. It was a 4 1/2 hour climb for slugs like us.
P1. We geared up on the left side of a fading, slightly-sloping ledge system. To the left, there was a previously-climbed crack in a dihedral system angling left (away from the prow). Instead, we traversed perhaps 45 feet right to a big flake with a wide crack on its left side. Face climb up to a crack and ledge system. Move right perhaps 20 feet to a chimney-like system. Continue up and right to a big ledge system in the sun. This is the only pitch in the shade. 5.7, 195 feet.
P2. We angled up and right (rather than traversing to the prow). Follow a big groove via face holds. Pass a set of 3 precariously-balanced rocks on the left, stand on the top of these rocks, move right and continue up to a ledge system 100 feet up. You could continue up this groove, but the holds seemed less positive here, so I traversed right to a ledge on the prow. 5.7, 110 feet.
P3. From here, pop up and on to the prow on excellent rock. Continue up past short walls, angling slightly right. We aimed for a good-sized, rightward-pointing flake. Find a 5.8 move here. Move up easier terrain to another big ledge. 5.8, 195 feet.
P4. Here there are certainly more challenging options. A sling above entices up on to more challenging ground. Seeking a path of least resistance, we traversed right around the prow and found a wonderful dihedral system just right of the prow. You can continue up and stretch it to a nice ledge. 5.7, 200+ feet. There are nice views down of the Petit Grepon and Penknife summits.
P5. Here you are again enticed onto more challenging terrain on the left up the bulging prow. We angled right to an obvious notch. There is a stretch of fractured rock just below the notch. Protect this judiciously. Rope drag prompted a short pitch. 5.7, 100 feet. There is a fixed HB quadcam up here.
P6. You can traverse the slab to the right, or down-scramble the ramp into the East gully system. It appears you can make the top but not so quickly. Find an anchor somewhere. 4th or 5.2, 190 feet.
P7. You can take a direct line to the top 5.6? or we traversed left to the prow again. Nice exposure on your left. We found 2 fixed pitons and then the top. 5.4, 150 feet.
The shark in the summit register seems to be gone!
Descent: From the South end of the summit area, find a 3 pin rap (one is blue) station just a few feet below the top. Rap down the East Gully 180 feet to a big slung flake with an old piton (you pass this on your 2nd to last pitch). You can rap and down-scramble this last bit if you have 50m ropes. The 2nd anchor, described by Rossiter, 100 feet right via a grassy traverse (that we used previously), did not seem to be there. Rap 195 feet, passing 2 less-confidence-inspiring rap stations, to a rap station with a piton, chockstone, a Wild Country Rock on the right. A much shorter rap gets you to The Gash. A marmot, however, easily scrambled up to this last rap station and continued upward. Gillett describes doing this descent with 1 rope. I would recommend 2 ropes, ideally 60m. From here, scramble down to the boulder field, to a cliff. Either find a grassy ramp system E->W (or descend the snow slot) past this cliff. Pass another large boulder field and connect with the Andrews Glacier trail. Allow 2-3 hours to descend.