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Routes in Keyboard of the Winds

Cold Blooded Boys T 5.10 6b 20 VII- 19 E2 5b PG13
Forgotten Arete T 5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b
Forgotten Left Prow T 5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c
Glissando Link-up, The T 5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c PG13
Key of Free T 5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b
Quien Sabe Arete T 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a
Southwest Ridge T 5.4 4a 12 IV 10 VD 3c
Type: Trad, Alpine, 800 ft, 4 pitches, Grade II
FA: Richard Rossiter, solo, 15 July 2009
Page Views: 2,064 total, 20/month
Shared By: Richard Rossiter on Jul 19, 2009
Admins: Leo Paik, John McNamee, Frances Fierst, Monty, Monomaniac

You & This Route


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Seasonal Closures Details

Description

This route is reminiscent of the White Whale at Lumpy Ridge, but is a bit more serious at the top and longer overall. The rock quality is excellent. The route ascends the rounded arete and left-facing dihedral system up the center of farthest left tower of significance in the Keyboard of the Winds. Let's call it Tower One, which is maybe 500 feet right (SW) from the top of The Trough on the Keyhole Route. The easy going ends at overlapping rock near the top. Move left into a left-facing corner system and climb it straight to the summit. This can be avoided by traversing around to the left, but then you miss the spectacular summit.

Approach via Black Lake and the trail that continues to the broad shelf beneath Spearhead. Hike to a point just east of Spearhead then head east and scramble up the low rib just south of the lower section of The Trough. Work around the right or left side of a prominent spire low on the arete of Tower One and gain the crest of the ridge.

To descend from the summit, down-climb to a notch on the Longs Peak side of the tower. Unfortunately the easiest return to Black Lake is to go back whence you came. From the notch, scramble around to the southwest side of the tower and descend the gully (Tower Gully) between Tower One and Tower Two. Another option is to traverse several hundred feet east and climb to the Narrows of The Keyhole route (Class 4) and descend The Trough all the way to trail above Black Lake. It is NOT easier to descend behind the Keyboard towers to the col at the east ridge of Pagoda, though it may seem a good idea in theory. The west side of the Dark Tower forms a steep cliff band that continues without interruption into the cirque of Keplinger's Couloir. An old iron piton (stamped "MADE IN AUSTRIA") indicates a previous rappel of the cliff. I down-climbed the cliff in approach shoes, though this is not recommended.

Location

Viewed from Glacier Gorge, this beautiful tower is the penultimate feature in the Keyboard of the Winds counting left from the Longs-Pagoda Col. There is one more pinnacle to the left, but it does not look to have much merrit as a climb.

Protection

Crack gear from 0.25 inches to 2 inches. Keep in mind that I free soloed this climb so I am just guessing on gear and number of pitches.
Tony B
Around Boulder, CO
Tony B   Around Boulder, CO
Looks cool Richard! There's one to add to my list of to-do's if I ever make it back to the Keyhole area again! Jul 20, 2009