Type: Trad, Alpine, 600 ft (182 m), 5 pitches
FA: Dan Bradford, Angelo de La Cruz, 1985.
Page Views: 3,754 total · 14/month
Shared By: Leo Paik on Jul 25, 2002
Admins: Leo Paik, John McNamee, Frances Fierst, Monty, Monomaniac, Tyler KC

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Description Suggest change

Here is another obscure backcountry RMNP route whose description from the guidebooks leaves you wondering. Though certainly not a classic, this route may merit your attention for a short adventure with a mellow approach walk, and modest walk/scramble off descent. Ultra-early starts are not required...brainbuckets are. The original ratings may reflect utlizing offwidth techniques in the chimney that we may have neglected to use.

Approach: Hike from Glacier Gorge parking lot to Loch Vale, continue past the Andrews Tarn/Glacier turnoff to near the waterfall below Lake of Glass. Cathedral Wall is obvious. This route is on the 1st buttress, one buttress left of the Tourist Tragedy route. The big dihedral/ chimney is the prominent feature on buttress and is followed for the upper half of the route. Contour in to the base. 1 hour 15 minutes utilizing the climber's cutoff.

The 5.4 start of this route described by Rossiter and Gillett is not obvious to oafs like us. The description from both guidebooks describe starting right of the obvious dihedral/chimney of the upper 3 pitches; however, as far right as these describe the route, you find terrain that seemed too steep to be 5.4 this side of the Gunks. Both authors describe going up and right, belaying beneath the black stained roof, crossing the black stained area to a tree on a ledge and belaying, and following cracks to another belay ledge below the chimney. So, if you can decipher the description, climb on, or use this alternate start described here.

P1. There is an obvious, featured area a short distance to the right of the dihedral/chimney section that we started up. At some points this felt 5.6. Aim up for a small, right-facing dihedral, left of a wide black groove, perhaps 25 feet up. Continue up on a slab to a small ledge behind a big block. Move R and up, then angle left to the dihedral/chimney. Continue up to a ledge with a #3 Camalot slot above. You are just short of a few short trees here. Beware of rope drag. 5.6, 200 feet.

P2. Traverse right briefly, head up before you get to a tree, angle R up the dihedral/chimney or slab on the R. Belay in the chimney or link the next bit. 5.6, 150 feet.

P3. Work up the chimney. There are optional #4 & 5 Camalot slots in here. Rope drag exiting this chimney require a belay here. There is a perfect #11 hex slot and black (0.33) Alien slot for the belay. 5.6, 40feet.

P4. Here comes the exposure. Move up the dihedral for perhaps the crux moves, move R below a large block and jam the crack with stems out L. Briefly move to the L crack and back R. Gain a stance. Move up to a large ledge. Beware of a precarious block hanging off this ledge. You could link the next pitch. 5.7+, 120 feet?

P5. Chimney facing R up this large slot. Many moves can be done sans hands and no offwidth moves are required. However beware of objects hanging off your back like camelbacks, cams. Small pro plus a #4 Camalot. There is another loose block R and below the "chockstone". Encounter a mini-forest and belay. 5.7, 40-120 feet depending on your belay tree.

If anyone has done the upper chimneys, please post & we can incorporate the info into the description.

From here, you can see the wall could continue up perhaps 3 pitches or more chimneys to the right. If you've been chimneyed out use the descent described here.

Descent: Traverse on a treed/shrubbed ledge left perhaps 300 yards to an obvious scree/boulder slope and head for Lake of Glass. Do not cut off early or risk being cliffed.

Protection Suggest change

Single wires, single set of cams (0.33 to #4 Camalot), some hexes (include #10, 11), optional #5 Camalot, optional 2nd #11 hex (for 2nd to last belay). No big bros required. Long runners.