Avg: 1 from 1 vote
|Type:||Trad, Alpine, 900 ft, 6 pitches, Grade II|
|FA:||Jack & LaDonna Kutz, Bob Kyrlach, Pete Skaates, Paul Wohlt, Dave Logan May 1966|
|Page Views:||1,131 total · 11/month|
|Shared By:||Bill Lawry on Aug 17, 2009|
|Admins:||Aaron Hobson, Jason Halladay, Anthony Stout, LeeAB Brinckerhoff, Marta Reece, Drew Chojnowski|
Seasonal Falcon Closure Details
The Shield is closed from February through mid-August for peregrine falcon nesting. The Knife Edge is open year-round.
Juan Tabo Canyon is subject to annual access closures from March 1 to August 15. Details
The USFS-imposed closure applies to UNM Spire, the Prow, the Ramp, and the Shield (but not the Knife Edge). The Needle, and its south and east approaches, are unaffected.
DescriptionI had labeled this as Hill's Route 2. Then Chris Wenker pointed out that it appears that the description in Hill's guide was copied out of Kline's. So I've shortened the name to just Route 2.
Dean Kuethe and I started at the middle of the base of the buttress. For us the mystery about this route is whether there really is a 5.6 way to do the first two pitches. Both the left side side and the right side side of the buttress have viable starting pitches. There is a bushy crevice in the left side of the buttress. We did not try it, but suspect it might be the original start that goes at 5.6. We were drawn by rock to the right, which lookes more like a rock climb than a scrambling bush wack, but by no means claim this was a wise decision.
P1 (5.7+, PG13): This above photo shows our start. Start up near the middle of the buttress (possibly a little right of the middle) over large cracked blocks to a ledge ~20 feet up. Work through the steep hand crack formed by a curving orange-lichen flake with black waterstains to the right of it. Continue to follow the weakness above, which directs you up a right-facing corner. At about 25 meters of rope there are precariously stacked blocks in the corner with hand and finger cracks on respective sides. DOK vaguely recalls (from an ascent over a decade ago) that continuing past them reduces the grade of the first two pitches to 5.7. Being over a decade older, we struck out right and up to find occasional protection in solid rock. Continuing up and right, an unexpected and welcome small belay ledge in a right facing corner appears at about 30 m of rope.
P2 (5.8+, PG13): Work slightly left and then up through a short and shallow chimney to a small roof; there is some crumbling rock in the back of the chimney. Pass through the roof (crux) and slightly higher until possible to trend left on very run-out moderate terrain back into the weakness we left in P1 (back "on route"?). Continue straight up through continuing sections of run-out on moderate terrain to a ledge at the top of the buttress. The ledge is larger than a dinner table and covered with grass. A 50 meter pitch.
P3 (5.4R): Now one can boogie for a few pitches . . . Head straight up off the ledge and onto easy runout slab for 60 meters to large trees. If the belayer does not use the rope to tie in, a 60 m rope will make it to the trees. This is the nice pitch.
P4 (a few 5.5 moves): Now, the climb follows the obvious ledge that diagonals left and up for two pitches. Ascend easy ledges about 60 meters to a ~10 inch diameter tree that is about 7 feet higher than a large flat platform. Tree is two thirds dead (Aug 2009) and not the only option for an anchor. 60 m.
P5 (a few 5.5 moves): Continue in about the same trajectory as P4 for roughly 30 more meters. There is a small tree out on the end of the ledge but we went up before reaching the tree and set a gear anchor in good cracks. 35 m. The below photo was taken from the end of our P5, and identifies some features around P6.
P6 (couple 5.7 moves): This pitch trends rightward and up, at first on good quality rock which soon deteriorates. This pitch would probably be 5.6 if one follows the obvious weakness and pulls on the spectacularly-precarious-looking, bus-size broken block. Rather we stayed to the left of it to climb atop a less-precarious-looking boulder whose underside forms an overhang. The route ends at the "W" of the Knife Edge, near the lowest SE point of the "W". Removed a fixed nut with a rusty wire on this pitch.
We then went down the Knife Edge to pick up dropped gear at its base (and water!!) and then returned via established trails.
Thanks to mtnrobb for posting the below photo. Hill's Route 2 starts just to the right of the darkest waterstains that are in the sun. The snow in the photo made it possible to identify the end of Pitch 3 at the big trees as well as the general trend of the traverse ledges of Pitches 4 & 5.