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Routes in Snowpatch Spire

Buckingham Route (easy version) T 5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c
Bugaboo Corner T 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a C1
Flamingo Fling T 5.10- 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a
Furry Pink Arete T 5.10c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b
Kraus-McCarthy T 5.9+ 5c 17 VI 17 E1 5a
Minotaur Direct T 5.11+ 7a 24 VIII 24 E4 6a
Snowpatch Route (aka SE Corner/Wiessner's Route) T 5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c
Southwest Ridge - Direct Finish T 5.8+ 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c
Sunshine Crack T 5.11- 6c 22 VIII+ 22 E3 5c
Sunshine Wall T 5.11- 6c 22 VIII+ 22 E3 5c R
Super Direct T 5.10+ 6b+ 21 VII+ 20 E3 5b
Surfs Up T 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a
Warrior Way T 5.10- 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a A2
Wildflowers T 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a
Wile Flowers T 5.12a/b 7b 26 VIII+ 26 E5 6a R
Type: Trad, Alpine, 900 ft, 11 pitches, Grade IV
FA: Alex Lowe, S Scott, July 1980
Page Views: 33,950 total, 250/month
Shared By: Steven Lucarelli on Oct 3, 2006
Admins: Kate Lynn

You & This Route


48 Opinions

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Description

This climb is one of the best I have ever done! It follows a continuous crack system for almost 900 feet and has everything from fingers to offwidth. The following description is as my partner and I climbed it which was in six long pitches with a 60m rope. Done this way we thought that every pitch was in the 5.10 range. Bring two ropes to rap off (we had a tag line) and some warm clothes since you'll be in the shade for most of the climb.

P1: Climb up a steep right facing dihedral with two cracks and pull through a slight overhang on the left. Continue up an obvious crack bypassing the first anchor. The crack gradually widens to an offwidth as the wall gets steeper. Work your way up the solid 5.10 OW and pull onto lower angle rock to another anchor. I thought this pitch felt about 5.10c.

P2: Continue up the crack for about 10' until you get to another crack that angles slightly up and right. Hand traverse right until the crack starts heading straight up again and follow it past an anchor into a perfect 2" crack. Layback to the right off a wide crack and into a dihedral and belay at the anchor. (Note: I was about 5' short of the anchor so we had to simul-climb to reach it).

P3: Continue up the dihedral till you get to another overhang. Power through a crack near the left side of the overhang and then traverse back right to gain another crack that continues up and belays about 20' below the crux roof. This pitch is probably hard 10.

P4: The crux of this pitch and the whole climb is obvious. Climb up 20' until your beneath a large corner roof. Plug a couple pieces at the lip and fire it, I didn't think this was to hard, just don't hang out or fiddle with gear until your back on your feet. Climb past an anchor and up another overhanging bulge to a good belay stance.

P5: Follow the cracks up and slightly right in a left facing dihedral from what I can recall. The crack will gradually go back left following a large flake until you get to a stance beneath a splitter wide-hands/fist crack.

P6: This pitch is the icing on the cake. Jam the steep hand and fist crack for about 100' until the crack splits left and right. If your spent you might want to consider going left at about 5.8 but it would be a shame to miss the crack heading right. Hand traverse right with great exposure and into a perfect hand crack that heads up and back left. As the crack comes to an end place one last piece and pull a few hard face moves to top out. This pitch is long but a 60m rope will just make it.

At this point you can rap back down the way you came up or jump onto one of the other routes nearby if you want to go to the summit.

Location

This route is on the north side of Snowpatch Spire and not to hard to spot from the ground, just look for the offwidth. Head up the Snowpatch-Bugaboo Col and traverse left about halfway up to a ledge covered with loose rock. The start is almost directly below the offwidth/chimney that can be seen from the ledge and to the right of a large block dihedral. To get down just rap the route, two ropes are probably needed.

Protection

Bring doubles from probably about .5" to 3" and at least one 3.5", 4" and 4.5" (you might want two 4.5's for the OW). All the anchors are slung webbing or fixed nuts and pins so you might want to bring some extra webbing.
Phil Lauffen
The Bubble
  5.11-
Phil Lauffen   The Bubble
  5.11-
Hands-down incredible. Low commitment as you can rap at nearly every pitch.

My girlfriend linked the 5.9 pitch into the 5.11- roof by accident... and her only comment was that the roof felt hard for 5.9. Something to chew on. Sep 3, 2017
Steph Abegg
Bellingham, WA
Steph Abegg   Bellingham, WA
Just a note about whether or not you should bring a #5.....

Pitch 2 has a 4-5-inch offwidth. A #4 will not fit. We did not bring a #5. But once up there, we wished we had, especially since the crack was a bit wet. There were a few manky slings in the offwidth slung around chockstones and nuts set way back in, which provided a bit of mental comfort. This offwidth was the hardest and least enjoyable part of the route for us; I think if it had been dry and we had a #5 it would have been more enjoyable. After that, everything on the route felt well-protected.

So, unless you feel really comfortable in this size of offwidth, I would advise bringing a #5 for this pitch. You won't need it though for the rest of the route and it is a heavy piece to carry up if you don't need it. I suppose you could leave the cam hanging from the anchor at the top of Pitch 2 and collect it on the way down, but I would personally be a bit wary of leaving the cam just hanging there on such a popular route, for a few reasons. One option would be for the leader to lower down a short ways from the anchor and clean the #5 and then lower the cam on a rope to the partner still at the base of the route; this would work if you had two ropes and linked Pitches 1 and 2. Or avoid the shenanigans and just have the follower carry the cam up the route... Aug 2, 2016
Steven Lucarelli
Moab, UT
 
Steven Lucarelli   Moab, UT
 
Yes, you don't have to go all the way up the col to access the route. Late season is probably the best time to climb it. Good luck! Jul 26, 2016
crackatoa Spiesbach
Boulder,Co
crackatoa Spiesbach   Boulder,Co
Is this climb doable late in the season when the B-S col is out? Jul 26, 2016
Nelson Day
Joshua Tree, CA
  5.11-
Nelson Day   Joshua Tree, CA
  5.11-
Me and my friend rapped this route with an 80m with no problems. One of the pitches was a little close - I would hesitate to try it with a 70m. It could be done with some shenanigans (single rope rap with biner block and extending your pull line with cordilette or slings). 80 for the win!

Also, the rappel stations go down the front face of Snowpatch all the way to the snow field/glacier at the base. Using these will keep you out of the col on the way down. Aug 23, 2015
Chris Sepic
Bend, OR
Chris Sepic   Bend, OR
Definitely follow Kevin's above advice about rapping climbers left on the last rap, we got our rope stuck on the offwidth chockstone earning us a bonus pitch :/ Aug 15, 2015
Kevin Kent
Flagstaff, AZ
 
Kevin Kent   Flagstaff, AZ
 
Some clarification on the pitch breakdown here, I think some of the now bolted anchors may have moved slightly since this route was posted. We climbed this in 6 pitches and it worked well. The easy beta is just belay at every other chain anchor until at the base of the 5.8 headwall, climb the 5.8 headwall like normal, and then link the last 2 headwall 5.10 pitches (going right is mandatory!!)

As for the above description, it was generally good except for P3. I ended up belaying only 100' up below a big roof (chains) that I assumed was the crux roof, and then my partner made up for it with a monster 260' P4 that required simuling. You want to skip this belay and climb through what is actually about a 5.8 roof and belay from the fixed anchor on the slab above that actually is 20-30' below the crux 5.11- (sangbag?) roof finger crack.

Rapping this with a 70 might just work, an 80 would be fine. With 2 ropes you can skip a bunch of stations the way down. Scope out the rap anchors at the base and climber's left (north) of the first pitch beforehand, you can rap straight to these and not have to worry about ropes getting caught in the split boulder thing, and then continue rapping back down to the glacier.

Lastly (fuck this is a long comment), if the B-S col is out of shape it's sketchy to get to the base of this. We climbed a bonus pitch to get up to the normal start. It was 50' of 5.10ish cracks in a dihedral where the wall turns from NE to NW facing, followed by 100' of 4th class to the normal start. Aug 12, 2015
Mike Mellenthin
San Francisco, CA
 
Mike Mellenthin   San Francisco, CA
 
It hailed on us for the last two pitches, we went left at the end, and this is still the best rock climb I have ever climbed. Aug 3, 2015
Steven Lucarelli
Moab, UT
 
Steven Lucarelli   Moab, UT
 
Mostly vertical with a few small sections that are a little steeper and some less than vertical as well. May 17, 2015
Richard Dana
Eugene, OR
Richard Dana   Eugene, OR
What is the general angle of this climb? slightly off vertical? dead vertical? May 17, 2015
Jared Spaulding
Central WY
Jared Spaulding   Central WY
If you are here later season, or when the B-S Col is in poor shape, be sure to look for the rappel station near the base that will take you straight down to the glacier below. Two single rope rappels should do it. Aug 6, 2014
Hans
Squamish, BC
 
Hans   Squamish, BC
 
I stand corrected. BD 3's will fit in the final pitch, in spots.

On the 3rd pitch, the roof that used to be there fell off. There is just a scar there now, with good pro. Aug 12, 2013
Hans
Squamish, BC
 
Hans   Squamish, BC
 
Maybe the best climb I've ever done. Every pitch is amazing.

We followed the guidebook description for pitches, with the exception of linking the last two. It would make sense to link pitches 6 and 7 though, and I would do this the next time.

One BD 5 was plenty for the offwidth as there was a fixed chockstone with tat on it that you could clip. This pitch was easier than expected.

Bring all your 4's for the penultimate pitch. That's all it will take. Old 3.5's will fit.

I'm sure it's been said, but it's cold. We had long johns and shared a puffy. The only sun is near the top of the route. Dec 19, 2012
Michael Ybarra
on the road
Michael Ybarra   on the road
I'd strongly suggest linking the last two pitches, for one of the best rope lengths you'll ever get. Otherwise you'll need a gear belay between them and since the first part takes only 4s and doesn't have a ledge, you might as well keep going. Definitely go right. Aug 30, 2010
As the above description reduces it to 6 pitches I would suggest the following version referencing the guidebook:

Link pitches 1 & 2, so easy climbing to the offwidth (need #5 camalot but there is a chalkstone with tat halfway up) and then belay at the second chain anchor.

Pitch 3 on it's own, as it's draggy, belay at the chains.

Link pitches 4 & 5

Link pitches 6 & 7 as the belay for pitch 6 would be a gear belay and it's all straight.

Pitches 8,9,10 on their own.

Note! The final pitch requires #4 camalots and you'll be bumbing them if you don't have a bunch, unless you like to run it out and the right hand variation takes #2's. Mega! Aug 19, 2010
And at the top- definitely go right! Aug 3, 2010
As good as it gets, anywhere... Aug 3, 2010
Steven Lucarelli
Moab, UT
 
Steven Lucarelli   Moab, UT
 
Those stainless bolt anchors must be new since I was there in 2006. Jan 12, 2009
This is one hell of a route. Definitely some of the most spectacular pitches I have ever climbed with every pitch being high quality. There are two stainless bolts w/ rap rings at every anchor (man those Canadians know how to do it) and two ropes make rapping very quick. We took two #5's and I sure used them (my OW technique is pretty pathetic) We ended on pitch 6 when we got 5 inches of snow in a few minutes but this line made the whole trip. Aug 6, 2008
Steven Lucarelli
Moab, UT
 
Steven Lucarelli   Moab, UT
 
Yes they start in the same place and share the first two pitches. On the third pitch Sunshine crack breaks right after about 20' or 30' and follows a hand size crack that traverses up and right into a different crack system. Mar 28, 2007
George Bell
Boulder, CO
George Bell   Boulder, CO
I've climbed "Bugaboo Corner", where is that in relation to this climb? Don't they share some pitches? Mar 23, 2007