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North Face

5.6, Trad, Alpine, 600 ft, 5 pitches, Grade II,  Avg: 2.6 from 38 votes
FA: Jack Curtin and John Wells 1965
Wyoming > Wind River Range > Deep Lake Area > Haystack Mountain

Description

A clean, moderate route on the North Face, seen in profile from Clear Lake. A nice warmup climb or for those wanting an easy day.

The first three and a half pitches are the best with clean rock and continuous moderate climbing. The first pitch is a hand crack in a left facing corner which leads to an obvious ramp leading up and left. The second pitch is a thin crack in a right facing dihedral, which leads to an overhang - which can be climbed directly via the thin crack (5.7 variation) which peters out (and is hard to protect). The easiest way is to traverse around to the right until a crack and hand traverse leads back to the left and connects with the 5.7 variation. Above here, there is a hand crack, and the angle starts to diminish, so there are many options for the last pitch and a half.

Location

On the North Face of Haystack.

A ridge separates the Clear Lake/Deep Lake and Black Joe drainages and rises to meet the North Face of Haystack - the route begins where this ridge steepens to become the North Face.

From Clear Lake, some third or fourth class scrambling is required to make the top of the ridge, which is then followed southeastward to the North Face of Haystack.

The route starts in the right hand of two left facing dihedrals. Look for the steep ramp which leads back left at the top of the left facing dihedral which is pitch one.

The descent is via the Grassy Goat Trail. After unroping, continue southeastward toward the north summit of Haystack. If you try to cut south too soon, a steep drop off will be encountered on a rib of red rock. This is the rib of reddish rock which is just south of the top of the Minor Dihedral route. Once you clear the east end of the red rib of rock, trend southwestward to the top of the Grassy Goat Trail. Look for some cairns which lead to the top of the Grassy Goat Trail.

Protection

A standard rack. Some of the thin cracks have crystals in them (reminiscent of Vedauwoo) which make them hard to protect with stoppers - alien sized cams solve this problem.

A piece of hand to fist-sized protection to protect the hand traverse back to the left.

Photos [Hide ALL Photos]

The North Face of Haystack Peak.  The route follows broken shadow through any number of corners and weaknesses.  We descended by the gully that is visible, splitting the shadow, with one short rap at the bottom.
[Hide Photo] The North Face of Haystack Peak. The route follows broken shadow through any number of corners and weaknesses. We descended by the gully that is visible, splitting the shadow, with one short rap…
Hailey and I midroute
[Hide Photo] Hailey and I midroute
Ryan Nicholson and Lee Timmons at the top of Haystack Peak's North Face.  Big Sandy and Clear lakes are behind and the Cirque of the Towers is obvious in the right corner.  Wolf's Head is lit up bright white with Pingora in front.
[Hide Photo] Ryan Nicholson and Lee Timmons at the top of Haystack Peak's North Face. Big Sandy and Clear lakes are behind and the Cirque of the Towers is obvious in the right corner. Wolf's Head is lit up br…
Haystack Mountain
[Hide Photo] Haystack Mountain
North Face of Haystack - an always windy place
[Hide Photo] North Face of Haystack - an always windy place
Climbing the North ridge route of Haystack
[Hide Photo] Climbing the North ridge route of Haystack
View down-ridge.
[Hide Photo] View down-ridge.
Topping out on the haystack!
[Hide Photo] Topping out on the haystack!
top of haystack
[Hide Photo] top of haystack
Jason, Chuck, and I on the North Face.
[Hide Photo] Jason, Chuck, and I on the North Face.
Chuck, the "cleaner" on our simul-climb.
[Hide Photo] Chuck, the "cleaner" on our simul-climb.

Comments [Hide ALL Comments]

[Hide Comment] This is a great route at the grade on very good rock. Climbing this and descending the Grassy Goat Trail to climb Railroad Tracks or Steeple Peak's North Ridge would make for a really fun day. Jun 26, 2009
themostdirect
  5.6
[Hide Comment] This was a fun route with great access, only a few hours from the Big Sandy trail head. There was so much feature at such a low difficulty, it didn't seem to follow any defined line, so we just picked a crack system and started going for it.

The North Face is well shaded, of course, and was VERY windy the day we climbed. Oct 18, 2009
Jared Spaulding
Central WY
 
[Hide Comment] A quicker, alternative descent is to descend the north gully and wind up just 20 yards east of your packs at the base of the North Face route. This is downclimbable but there is a rap station at the hardest part (5.2) near the base. Mar 28, 2012
[Hide Comment] Doing the more direct 5.7 variation, this can be done in 3p with a 60m rope, all on good belay ledges and some 4th class scrambling at the top. It was a fun morning out when rain was forcast. Jul 13, 2013
Austin Pethan
Madison, WI
 
[Hide Comment] We did this route in four pitches. The first pitch led to a block with webbing around it, and a nice belay ledge. That was a 60m rope stretcher. Second pitch led up to a nice ledge found after you traverse around an overhang, and then traverse back left to get back on the route. Third pitch led up to a nice ledge as well (choose your own adventure at this point). Fourth pitch led to summit, and is mostly, if not entirely 4th class. I placed two pieces of gear on the last pitch. Make sure you look for the register in a PVC tube at the summit!

To descend, take the gully that is left of the route. Downclimb until you run into a rap station, which will take you to the bottom, where you left your packs. You only need one 60m rope for this. Sep 12, 2013
Tim Kessel
Fort Collins
 
[Hide Comment] First multi i ever did, looking back, you cant beat the setting and the easy climbing for a first multi Mar 6, 2017
[Hide Comment] Fun climbing! We did this on a cold windy day. The wind seems the norm here. Climbed mostly in gloves and found snow ice that would take a pick in the 3rd class gully on the way down (August 29th).
On the descent the wind was so strong it blew a tiny rock in my eye, which embedded pretty hard and took several hours to dig and wash out. For some reason I neglected to wear sun glasses!
There are 3 rocks in a triangle on the main trail that marks the start of the way up. These rocks look out of place (about 8" rocks). Sep 5, 2018
Kyle McCrohan
Brier, WA
  5.6
[Hide Comment] Only one hour approach from the end of Clear Lake, fun 3 pitch climb with a 60m rope. There are many ways to go, so the routefinding isn't stressful. We were back at camp by 10:30 in the morning. Nice for a rest day or if the afternoon weather is looking bad. Gully descent was quick and involved only one rappel at the end. Sep 13, 2018