Type: Trad, Alpine, 800 ft, 8 pitches, Grade IV
FA: Greg Cameron, George Lowe
Page Views: 4,739 total · 29/month
Shared By: Greg Cameron on Sep 24, 2005
Admins: Leo Paik, John McNamee, Frances Fierst, Monty, Monomaniac

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Roofer Madness is the biggest route in the Black Wall cirque, as it starts a little lower and tops out a little higher than every other route. It ascends the beautiful, north-facing buttress that can be seen from the top of the main (east-facing) Black Wall when looking southeast. In fact, most of the route can be seen from this vantage.

The route was partly cleaned on rappel in 1990 (only the first two pitches) and both the 1st and most of the 2nd halves of the route were climbed by Greg Cameron and Clare Dunning prior to the first bottom to top ascent by Cameron and Lowe in 1991 or 1992.

The upper half of the climb, beginning with the crux pitch, can be accessed by descending down 3rd and 4th class grassy ledges from the southeast and then traversing right (5th class) immediately beneath the lower of the two huge roofs. This path intersects Mer Dascht near the top of the third pitch, below the three bolts. This is a good strategy on a day in which rain is expected early. This part of the climb faces west (unlike Mer Dascht, which faces northeast, and the lower part of Roofer Madness, which faces north.).

The recommended access is via rappel down the Black Wall and then scrambling on scree to the prominent north-facing apron that forms the beginning of the buttress. This allows you to see the route before climbing it. An alternate access (now) is to do the Mer Dascht rappels. Roofer Madness starts a little right of the first pitch of this climb.

The route starts in a hand and fist crack situated in the middle of the apron that forms the bottom of the Roofer Madness buttress. You are in the right place if you see two huge roofs looming a few hundred feet above you, one directly on the prow, and a higher one just on the right side of the prow.  You will have to kick steps in some snow to get to the base of the route.

P1 (160 feet, 5.10). Follow the hand and fist crack up and left past a grassy depression. The crack thins to fingers and, after another 30 feet or so, a branch of the crack goes straight up for another 80 feet to a small ledge. This crack involved a fair amount of cleaning prior to and during the first ascent.

P2 (90 feet).  Follow the finger crack up and a bit left to a blackish-colored slot, which is the continuation of a prominent right-facing dihedral that begins at the base of the buttress. Ascend the slot (5.9 - 5.10), and find a belay stance.

P3 (100 feet). Work up easier ground, staying on the left side of the prow, to a belay on the left side of a large roof.

P4 (40 feet). When nearly even with the roof, traverse straight right along a prominent but crumbly, horizontal fracture system to a ledge. At this point, you are on the right side of the prow and about 70 feet beneath a huge roof with a crack leading to it that branches into two after about 15 feet.

P5 (70 feet). Ascend the rightmost crack (hand and fingers, 5.11b, crux) to a hanging belay immediately beneath the roof. If feeling particularly strong, this pitch and the next can be done as one (hey, it's only 110 feet of climbing).

P6 (40 feet). This is the defining pitch of the climb. Follow the (now) wide crack up and right and through the roof (5.11a) to a very exposed belay on the right side of the prow. I've done a lot of routes here -- this is the most exposed belay, period. Your rope will hang nearly 40 feet from the wall, and if you have to bail, you will need to down-aid this roof (I've done this twice). Although it is 40 feet of roof climbing for your arms and hands, your feet are on a lower-angle face. This is a spectacular pitch. There is one fixed pin in the middle as well as a pin at the belay. Note that parts of this pitch can be wet at times.

P7 (120 feet). Work up and a bit right past three horizontal fractures to a decent ledge below a roof (5.9? - I really can't remember).

P8 (140 feet). Traverse left along the ledge and then up a crack and through two roof systems (5.10?) to a prominent, horizontal fracture system laced with ledges.

P9 (120 feet).  At this point you are just on the right side of the prow. Traverse left, crossing the prow, and then work up on easier ground to the top.


Standard rack augmented with extra large pieces (doubles on #3 and #4 Camalot, and a (new) 5 Camalot and/or Big Bro).


Greg Cameron
Greg Cameron  
I'm kind of flabbergasted that nobody has commented on this route after all of these years (12 since posting to MP). I still believe it is one of the very best in the Black Wall cirque and possibly the most striking profile. I was more proud of this one than Cary Granite. It was definitely looking dry yesterday. You should get on it before the monsoon season. Jul 5, 2018