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Routes in Notchtop

Direct South Ridge T 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a
Finding Religion on the Spiral T 5.10 6b 20 VII- 19 E2 5b R
Instant Clarification (AKA Rap Route) T 5.9+ 5c 17 VI 17 E1 5a
Laid Back (a.k.a. NE Ridge) T 5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c
Mornin' T 5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b
Optimismus T 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a
Relief Train T 5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b
Religion T 5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c R
Spiral Route T 5.4 4a 12 IV 10 VD 3c
Topnotch T 5.11b 6c 23 VIII- 23 E3 5c
White Room T 5.11 6c+ 23 VIII- 23 E4 5c X
Unsorted Routes:
Type: Trad, Alpine, 600 ft, 7 pitches, Grade III
FA: Roger Briggs and Larry Hamilton, June 1974
Page Views: 2,198 total, 12/month
Shared By: L. Hamilton on Apr 10, 2003
Admins: Leo Paik, John McNamee, Frances Fierst, Monty, Monomaniac

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White Room wanders up the broad wall to the right of Optimismus, finishing up a prominent corner. The climbing is excellent but serious. The first ascent party, who climbed this route hammerless and without camming gear, wrote afterwards that they were "impressed by the steep, usually difficult, inobvious and solid nature of the rock, and also by the occasional poorness of protection and belay anchors." Fortunately, no falls were taken. They rated the route IV 5.10.

The poorly-protected 5.11 section at mid-height on the current line was originally bypassed via devious and poorly-protected 5.8. Escape is possible at several points above, but the final two pitches are the climb's best.

The route name refers to the climactic inside corner, with overtones of madness and electric guitar.


Modern rack, mostly thin with some wider pieces up to 3.5 or 4".
Kudos to Jason for leading the hard pitches on this route. It was a great climb, and I only wish I had a camera on me to give him some due credit for this great ascent. Sep 7, 2010
jason seaver
Estes Park, CO
  5.11+ R
jason seaver   Estes Park, CO
  5.11+ R
A buddy and I had an incredible day on this route last weekend, and I wanted to announce officially that Roger and Larry are my heroes, straight up. Just thinking about freeclimbing this route 36 years ago, with no cams and no hammer, makes me want to go hide under the covers.
White Room is certainly one of the most historically important milestones in freeclimbing not just in the mountains (it included the first 5.11 leads in the high peaks), but at any elevation.

Some thoughts and stuff from our ascent:
We bypassed the original two pitches in order to save time for the meat of the upper wall. A 350' pitch angling in from the left got us to the base of the beautiful, slim, left-facing corner that arches left in its second half (the original 3rd pitch). A 100' pitch up this corner got us to a stance 20' below the right edge of the dark roof. From there, we did an 80' traverse to the left, dropping down slightly at first, then straight left, and up a bit at the end to a crappy stance with an inobvious anchor. This stance was about 20' down and left from the left edge of the big, dark roof. I found two pieces of gear on that spectacularly exposed pitch. We may have diverged from the original line on the next pitch. I took what seemed like the most logical line, angling gently up to the right, over an overlap with good holds and up another 20' to where the rock changes from gneiss to silver plume granite. I followed devious thin cracks and edges up to a sloping ledge on the right where I wanted to belay. There was absolutely no gear there though, let alone an anchor, so I continued up the beautiful thin crack up and left from the sloping ledge. This turned out to be devastatingly hard and I was REALLY wishing my partner was in sight. I pulled on two pieces of gear and STILL felt like I had done some 11+ climbing. The crack system ended at a sloping stance after at least 200'. A short traverse pitch with a fun overlap took us left to the base of the big, white corner. A short, hard section of clean crack climbing leads to the White Room proper where things get ugly. The corner is very dirty and sports massive turf blobs that make it a stressful, poorly protected lead. Some cool stemmimg was to be had, but it was definitely the worst pitch on the route.

In summation, White Room is an awesome mountain route that deserves more attention. At least the way we did it, there is no X-rated climbing, R-rated climbing only in the 5.8-5.10 range, and a well-protected 11+ crux. Wild exposure on a pretty big wall (about 700'), leading to a bunch of ridge-scrambling before the time-consuming descent, makes for a pretty big day. Enjoy! Sep 5, 2010