Type: Trad, Sport, Alpine, 550 ft, 6 pitches, Grade III
FA: Mark Tarrant, Richard Wright, August, 2008
Page Views: 2,173 total · 17/month
Shared By: Mark Tarrant on Sep 24, 2008
Admins: Leo Paik, John McNamee, Frances Fierst, Monty, Monomaniac

You & This Route

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King of the Mountain is named in memory of Richard's good friend and climbing partner, Alan Nelson. Richard spied the upper portion of the route and we managed to connect it to two pitches coming off the ground that were completed last year. This is the longest continuous route at Empire taking a fairly direct line up the center of The Halidome in 6 pitches. The route can be done nicely at the 5.11 level by aiding through the short crux on pitch 4. The start of KM is shared with Cat Tracks, going straight up where Cat Tracks cuts right. Gear is required on P2 and P3.

Pitch 1: 5.10d, 10 bolts, 2-bolt anchor, 80'. Start as for Cat Tracks to a big ledge. Climb straight up a clean wall (tricky, mantle-like crux) and then up through a small overhang near the top.

P2: 5.10c, 9 bolts plus gear, 2-bolt anchor, 110'. Clip 2 bolts on the way to an arete with a thin crack. Place gear here, defy logic (crux), and move through about 30' of trad climbing. From there, 70' of bolted face climbing takes you to a big ledge below a steep corner and arete.

P3: 5.11b, 12 bolts plus gear, 3-bolt anchor, 110'. Climb good stone up a face and arete past 4 bolts (crux). After bolt 5 cut straight right and pick your way up mixed terrain (small cams) to a final seam in a shallow corner (big cam to start) on great stone (.10+). The belay is after the steep stuff on a ledge at the base of a beautiful slab.

P4: 5.13a, 10 bolts, 3-bolt anchor, 75'. Perfect stone. This pitch can be done at 5.10a, C-0 if desired...or...engage your mad stemming skills and inch your way up the steep, obtuse dihedral. Start by climbing a 40' slab (5.9) up to the crux corner, followed by 20' of .10a to a nice ledge.

P5: 5.11c, 14 bolts, 2-bolt anchor, 120'. A good and adventurous pitch. Climb the steep corner directly above the belay (.10c) for 40' to a slab. Cut straight left and then up a tottery face (.11a) aiming for a short arete. Pull right around the arete (.11b) and rest under a small roof. Crank into a flake above the roof and decipher a tricky crux. Directly above is a 3-bolt rap anchor--don't belay here. Move 15' left to a 2-bolt anchor on a ledge.

P6: 5.11a, 10 bolts, 2-bolt anchor, 80'. A nice face finishes the route with crux coming about 30' up. Lower back to the belay.

Descent: Rap the route. When rapping P5 move 15' down and right to the chain anchor. Rapping P3 can also connect to The Catwalk by angling right.

Crux pitch: The crux moves are body dependent (leg length and some flexibility) and many of the handholds are initially invisible. The 20' of crux climbing is done in no fewer than 40 micro moves and, luckily for me, require very little hand strength--you might not even be pumped at the end--making me wonder whether it's truly all that hard. But, unless you're a master stemmer (I'm not) I think this pitch will be pretty hard to onsight, though it seems to get much easier with each attempt. Perhaps it's best to give a range of ratings for this pitch --.12++ to .13 minus --in order to cover varying body types...

Catwalk Variation/Link-up: .10a, 13 bolts, 100'. It is also possible to access the upper half of the route from the far left end of The Catwalk with this one pitch link-up, joining KM at pitch 4. Behind the EIH and left of Loosey in the Sky (directly above the end of Cat Tracks), is a line of bolts up a face and shallow corner. Climb up 40', move 20' left to another corner then up good rock to a slab. Move 15' left to belay.


The 'Central Sector' at the base of The Halidome. Start is shared with Cat Tracks.

Variation/Link-up starts at the far left end of The Catwalk.


About 18 draws + gear. RPs and small cams to 2" plus one large cam (blue Camalot, 4"). 70 meter rope.