Type: Trad, 1400 ft, 7 pitches, Grade III
FA: 2007
Page Views: 1,960 total · 14/month
Shared By: Orphaned on Oct 1, 2007
Admins: Andrew Gram, Nathan Fisher, Perin Blanchard, grk10vq

You & This Route

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Access Issue: Gate Buttress Area Recreational Lease: Climbs on Church Buttress above vault remain closed Details


Get to the low point on the buttress. Start 45' left/east of here.

Route Description

Seven pitches. Every pitch is about 200' long. Optional belays exist if you choose to break the route into more/shorter pitches.


I placed every bolt free & on lead. Thanks to Paul Gettings, Marlea Furlong & Casey Lee for belaying & encouragement while establishing this route.


- No Photos -
Dave Budge
North Slope of the Wrangells
Dave Budge   North Slope of the Wrangells
Looks great, is it the FA's intention to leave it with an "X" rating? Oct 2, 2007
edit - I see why you posted I guess.

does look like a nice line tc. Way to push up the butress. Oct 3, 2007
"limited to one area that I enjoy"....hehe, that one made me chuckle. If only we were that lucky. Oct 4, 2007
Right On!
Have you climbed up there, Mike? How can we be done? Oct 4, 2007
Vince Romney  
Did this route yesterday AM. Not a good route for the 5.8 climber, as the rating is a little soft and the R rating is significant. Route finding is a little difficult in some areas (see pitch descriptions below), but other than pitch 5 this was a lot of fun. The altitude gain is awesome!

Approach: From the bottom of the buttress, move up and left (east) to nearly the upper edge where you'll see a bolt about 30' up the slab.

Pitch 1: Really long runout to the first bolt, low angle, maybe 5.7, but would be a long slide to the base if you slipped. After that move up and left to belay at a dirty ledge with an annoying, rope-snagging bit of brush growing out of it.

Pitch 2: Move up and left to a bolt on the big bulge left of the obvious groove. I placed a piece in a pocket in the groove to protect the move to the bolt, as a fall prior to clipping the first bolt would be bad (this created some significant rope drag). Then move directly up the slab above to an enormous ledge and belay. This also has some long runouts.

Pitch 3: Move directly up the slab and small roof (with a manky pin of unknown origin) to a belay. I used several small cams through this section.

Pitch 4: Move up and left from to another belay just below the forested ledge at the top of this buttress.

Pitch 5: Cross through the bushes and head up just to the right of the big juniper tree, then straight up to just left of the next big juniper tree to another belay.

Pitch 6: Move up and left over two ledges (medium cams protect this), to a bolt on the big slab. Then follow the bolts up to another belay on your right (keep your eyes open to your right, or you'll pass this belay up, and you'll need a 70m rope to make it to the next belay... we ended up doing a few meters of simul-climbing because we missed this belay).

Pitch 7: Move up and left from the belay and follow the remaining bolts to the belay in the blocks in the trees.

Pitch 8: Move up and left across a slab to the base of the big slab above to the final belay. (we did not do this pitch, but just scoped it out.) Looks like there's nothing above this pitch at this point.

Descent (from the top of pitch 7): I assumed that this could be done with a single 60m rope, and we did it, but it was sketchy.

Rappel to the belay station at the top of pitch 6. Rappel to the belay station at the top of pitch 5. (This is where it got funky for us, so maybe we did this wrong.) The rappel from the belay at the top of pitch 5 placed us at the belay for another route (I'm assuming Open Heart) just above the giant forested ledge. We then scrambled back through the bushes, and did a potentially dangerous down-climb to the belay at the top of pitch 4. We then attempted to rappel to the belay at the top of pitch 3. Our single 60m rope left us about 20 feet short of the belay at the top of pitch 3. From this location, I could see a sling and rappel ring around a juniper tree up and left of my position about 25m. I'm guessing that's how this was supposed to be done, or that somewhere up and right was another set of rings but we couldn't find them if they were there. From the top of Pitch 3, we rappelled down and right to the belay on the adjacent route (again, guessing this is Open Heart). From here, we rappelled down and left to the belay at the top of pitch 2. We then rappelled down and right to the belay on the adjacent route, and from there down and left to the belay at the top of pitch 1. The rappel from the pitch 1 placed us at the base of the buttress. Aug 17, 2008

It sounds like you may have been off route for the first few pitches of the route. Heart of Darkness starts RIGHT of Slippery Slab. It sounds like you started Left, and then followed Slippery Slab for a few pitches to forested ledge.

Heart of Darkness begins with 2 closely spaced bolts just left of a Right leaning roof. Clipping the 3rd bolt offers ground fall potential, but the climbing is only 5.7...in cooler temps.

The 2nd pitch climbs Fallen Goat for a few moves. Then you traverse back left to a finger flake and a short bit higher to a really cool ledge. Unfortunately the FA party (000) established a hanging belay 20 feet above this ledge...Go figure. The rest of the climbing went straight past a few bolts to the forested ledge, This section threaded between Slippery Slab and Fallen Goat. The first 2 pitches are very good. Sep 21, 2008