Avg: 2.3 from 10 votes
|Type:||Trad, Alpine, 600 ft, 6 pitches|
|FA:||Ajax Greene, Chris Reveley, 1975|
|Page Views:||4,129 total · 25/month|
|Shared By:||Ivan Rezucha on Aug 13, 2004|
|Admins:||Leo Paik, John McNamee, Frances Fierst, Monty, Monomaniac|
DescriptionAjax Green is alive and well, living and climbing in the Gunks, where I first met him when he was as a teenager back in the '70s.
My partner Chuck thinks this is a 2 star climb. He awards extra points for the alpine experience. I'm thinking maybe 1.5 stars. The second pitch of Age Axe is very good but a little dangerous. P1, 3, 4, and 5 are pretty easy but pleasant. P6 is hard, but a little grungy with a death block. So, I'm thinking 1.5 stars.
Rossiter calls P2 10b/c and P6, the last pitch, 10c. Gillett calls these pitches 10a. So I'll split the difference and call P2 and P6 10b.
Approach: Hike to the left side of the NE face. As you round the prow to the SE face, there is a nice "apron" slab with right-facing flakes on its right side. 100' above is a large, low-angle, right-leaning, right-facing corner capped by a roof. This is about 100' right of the start of East Prow.
P1 5.7: Angle right onto the apron to a thin RP crack. A few tiny nuts protect some 7ish moves. Easier climbing leads up and left onto a low-angle slab. Angle left and belay at the base of the large, right-facing dihedral.
P1: 5.10b s?: Place gear high in the dihedral, step down a bit, and traverse left around the arête to a low angle slab. Climb up to a fixed pin at the base of a crack. Back this pin up, and try to get gear at least several feet higher (may want to aid on the pin to place the higher gear). The problem is is that if you fall on the crux moves above you will hit the slab unless you get gear high in the crack. Reach left for good holds and mantle (crux). Clip an original 1/4" bolt (Screamer) and do a few more hard moves to get established on the lower angle slab above. Good gear here. Angle slightly right staying just left of the arête with no gear (maybe an RP at an overlap) but on big knobs for maybe 30'. Gillett implies that you are following the crack, but in reality, the crack is around the arête to the right on a very steep face. This climbing is exposed and fun, but be careful. At a left-angling, almost horizontal flake/thin crack, finger traverse left to a ledge.
P3: 5.8: Step right and climb an easy fun shallow right facing corner. Harder moves lead up opposing corners. Continue up the right hand crack system until it is possible to move left to a small ledge with an old 1/4" bolt. This bolt is unnecessary since there are good nuts in a crack just to the right, and the climbing is easy. Perhaps the FA party belayed here. Move left from the bolt and up and left on flakes to a ledge. Climb a shallow, left-facing corner (or a looser corner further left) to a good ledge with a block that can be slung. This is the "horn" mentioned in Gillett. East Prow joins here.
P4 5.8: Climb an open book with a hand/fist crack. There are only a few mandatory fist moves, since most of the way there are good knobs and other holds. Be careful of loose rock, since you are directly above your belayer. Clip two old bolts for a directional and walk to the right end of the ledge.
P5 5.7: Climb up and right along an easy ramp to the base of some big left facing flakes. Climb these or, as we did, traverse further right and then up some thin flakes. At the grassy ledge, move far left. If you climbed via the right hand variation, you will notice what appears to be a chipped hold that makes the walk left on the grassy ledge reasonable. Before seeing this hold I was considering crawling the ledge.
P6 10b: The difficulties begin right off the ledge. Climb the sustained crack for about 20' to a stance on some grass bogs. This involves a few handjams, fingerjams and laybacks. Gillett mentions 3 fixed nuts, but they are not longer there. The crux for me was hanging in, getting the gear. This crack is a little grungy and very different in character from the climbing to this point. A little higher is a large block wedged in the corner that thumps and looks very dangerous. Gingerly climb over this, and don't put gear in it. Higher up, step left at a bulge around the corner onto a welcome rest ledge on the face. Step back right and climb a short crack to the huge loose ledge. You can get gear for the belay about 20' back from the edge at some hand-sized cracks. I linked P5 and P6 using double ropes, running one rope directly up the corner above the belayer to the crux crack.
Descent: As described under East Prow, it is possible to walk towards Chiefshead and then back down along a ramp that is not visible from above. We chose the safer alternative of continuing further along the grassy ledge until it was possible to zig zag easily down to the talus. This descent is clearly visible from above and totally safe, with no fall potential, with a couple of short 3rd class sections.