Avg: 3.6 from 452 votes
|Type:||Trad, Alpine, 8 pitches, Grade III|
|FA:||Bob Culp & Tex Bossier|
|Page Views:||91,967 total · 342/month|
|Shared By:||Patrick Vernon on Dec 31, 2000 · Updates|
|Admins:||Leo Paik, John McNamee, Frances Fierst, Monty, Monomaniac, Tyler KC|
For additional information about raptor closures, please visit the Rocky Mountain National Parks area closures website.
General NPS climbing regulations for RMNP posted here.
From the Bear Lake parking lot, follow the trail to Emerald Lake. Go left around the lake, scrambling through some talus and taking a climbers' trail that closely follows the base of the peak.
You are aiming for the second buttress. Look for the white/pink band or rock that intersects the base of the mountain - the route starts right there, about halfway across the second buttress. It is about 100 feet to the right of a huge right-facing dihedral, and just right of a couple much smaller dihedrals.
Per C. Vernon:
Begin in a light colored band of rock about 30 feet high in the middle of the Second Buttress, to the right of the huge corner/gully of the Love Route.
P1. Climb up the light band to a good ledge, head up a left-leaning, right-facing corner about 40 feet, traverse right on a grassy ledge to a short thin crack, and climb that to another ledge (5.6, 140 feet).
P2. Go up past rappel slings, climb a crack through a roof and head up and LEFT up a slab into a nice right facing corner (the middle of three such corners) that ends below a large white roof. Belay at the bottom of the corner (5.6, 120 feet). Be sure to traverse LEFT to the larger corner - going straight up the smaller dihedral above the roof is much harder and dead-ends. There are also several sets of bail slings to the right in the vicinity of the Jackson-Johnson - don't get sucked over there.
Pitches one and two can be combined with a 70 meter rope. Alternatively, you can stretch P2 to the top of the corner, which then allows you to combine pitches 3 & 4 with a 60. However, the stance at the base of the corner is more comfortable.
P3. Climb the corner to its top below the white roof, and bypass the roof up a slab (pin) to the right. Turn the roof where it is much smaller (pin), and continue up crack to face (more pins) right of a right-facing corner to a ledge (5.8, 160 feet).
P4. Head sharply left and up on easier, broken terrain to a huge grassy ledge on the left side of a prow (5.4, 75 feet)
The next two pitches are where many parties get off route, ending up to the left of the route in the vicinity of the more runout Hesse-Ferguson.
P5. From the right end of the big ledge, there is an obvious prow, and just left of that, a wide, left-facing flake/corner about 60 feet high. Climb incipient cracks just left of the flake (lots of good nut placements) and belay at the base of a left-leaning, left-facing corner that is just to the left of the prow. An amazing pitch. (5.6, 140').
P6. At this point, many people climb up the left-leaning corner, but that spits you out off-route in nebulous terrain. Instead, step up and right around the prow into a short corner, then work steadily up and right with occasional gear, eventually gaining a ramp with a detached flake. The ramp leads to a short right-facing corner with a good belay stance at the bottom of the corner (you could also belay on the ramp) (5.6 R, 130').
There are all sorts of opportunities to get off-route on this pitch. You're aiming to get below a notch or weakness up and right that allows passage through a long roof band into a continuous crack/corner system.
P7. Climb the runout face (5.7) left of the short corner that you are belaying in (looks like the corner itself could also be climbed, but it looks chossy), and then work up into a steep, exposed crack (pin) that eventually turns into a right-facing corner. Belay below another roof band. (5.8, 150 feet).
Alternatively, P7. Per Aaron Glasenapp: you can climb the corner itself, which is well-protected and also 5.7. We did not find the corner chossy, as the previous description suggested. After the short corner or face, work up into a steep, exposed crack (with a very loose pin - back it up!) that eventually turns into a right-facing corner, and then into a left-facing corner with some dirt & chockstones. Belay below another roof band. (5.8, 150 feet).
P8. There are two ways to do the last pitch. The most obvious continues up the dirty crack directly through the roof (#3 Camalot). However, a less obvious but better way is to traverse right below the roof onto a slab (often wet) and climb a seam with good small gear (micro-nuts helpful) through the right side of the roof where it is smaller. This feels hard for 5.8 but is great climbing with good gear. Also note that, contrary to Richard Rossiter's description in his High Peaks guidebook, there is no bolt out here.
Continue up more broken terrain right of a right-facing corner to a loose ledge just below the top. *It's best to belay on this ledge rather than dragging the rope up through the extremely loose rock above to the top* (5.8+, ~100').
Then, scramble or belay to the top. Be very careful on this loose top-out, as any rocks that come off will head directly down toward the staging area that is common to Culp-Bossier, Jackson-Johnson, and the Love Route.
Hike about 1/3 mile down the ridgeline (maybe 200 vertical feet), pass the first major incut gully (which faces north) and then go down another 50-60 vertical feet, 400 feet or so of horizontal walking. Look for the cairns marking the rappel to your left (northeast). Rap one 60m drop if you have two ropes, or two 30m drops to a ledge. Downclimb the sections below you, then follow the cairns as the wrap around to the left (to the north, and then to the west, back towards the beginning of the climb). You will NOT be going down the huge gully to the right (east), which looks very tempting. You will end up a couple hundred feet below the start of the route (5 minutes back to the base).