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Routes in Powell Peak

Northeast Ridge II T 4th 1 2 I 2 M 1b R
Snark T 5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b
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Type: Trad, Alpine, Grade II
FA: unknown
Page Views: 2,410 total · 18/month
Shared By: Ernie Port on Aug 19, 2007 with updates from Jamie B Simpson
Admins: Leo Paik, John McNamee, Frances Fierst, Monty, Monomaniac

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Access Issue: Seasonal Closures Details


This is the long, jagged ridge connecting Thatchtop to Powell Peak. This ridge traverse starts out easy but becomes very exposed for a hundred meters or so.
Steep on the northwest side and near vertical on the southeast side, make for some interesting class 4 and 5 slab and crack climbing in a spectacular, remote alpine setting. The position and length of ridge here are hard to beat.


Rocky Mountain National Park
Start by hiking/bushwacking to the summit of Thatchtop Mountain at 12,668', head west from the summit toward the ridge and the continental divide. Powell Peak is on the other side of this ridge.
To descend from the summit of Powell Peak, follow the divide north (for approx. 2 miles) to Andrews Glacier and descend back to Bear Lake or Glacier Gorge TH.
This is a long Grade II outting, 12 hours for us as we bagged Taylor Peak for good measure under ideal conditions. Expect epic under adverse conditions.


Light rack


Ernie Port
Boulder, Colorado
Ernie Port   Boulder, Colorado
We did this 8/11/07 under perfect, dry conditions. We did not bring a rope, but there were a couple sections where being roped up would be recommended, especially under wet conditions. I recommend staying as close to the ridge line as possible, yet going down and around the giant rock tower half way up the ridge. The crux area for us were the upper slabs, where we found good edges and cracks, and where the route finding got interesting. One of the very best mountain ridge link ups I've ever done in the park! I hope to do this one again! Aug 19, 2007
Grand Junction
  5.2 R
Merlin   Grand Junction
  5.2 R
Good route, I did it today. I definitely came across harder than 4th class but wasn't trying to keep it at its easiest. Be prepared for lower fifth class stuff which, coupled with the exposure might not make this the best intro 4th class ridge for newer scramblers. Sep 12, 2007
Elijah Flenner
Fort Collins, CO
Elijah Flenner   Fort Collins, CO
Great. I went from Powell to Thatchtop, which makes for lots of downclimbing. Probably easier in the other direction. Might be able to keep it at fourth class if one finds the easiest path, but do not expect to do that the first time.

If using a rope, I cannot imagine not being able to get in lots of gear. Cracks everywhere. Jul 29, 2012
Andy Nelson
Fort Collins, Colorado
Andy Nelson   Fort Collins, Colorado
Climbed this today in a Thatchtop>Powell>McHenry's linkup. Excellent secluded ridge! Wouldn't want to blow it on the exposed sections, you'd tumble to the talus above Sky Pond. Jul 17, 2015
Jamie B Simpson
Denver, CO
Jamie B Simpson   Denver, CO
We descended this route from Powell to Thatchtop on 9/2/18, and it is definitely something to take seriously. It is a lot of fun but it is long with sustained exposure and a few challenging moves. Richard Rossiter rates this route as 5.2 in his Rocky Mountain National Park climbing guide. My climbing companions, who climb moderate trad and lots of Class 4, definitely had their comfort zone pushed. Perhaps it is less intimidating going up. Sep 4, 2018

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