Type: Trad, Aid, Alpine, 540 ft (164 m), 5 pitches
FA: Aug. 16, 2010 Aaron Gams, Toby Stegman (and Brian Mulvihill on previous attempt)
Page Views: 3,160 total · 19/month
Shared By: Gams on Aug 29, 2010
Admins: Mike Snyder, Taylor Spiegelberg, Jake Dickerson

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Location Suggest change

The Crystal Tower is the first tower on the Underhill Ridge on the South side of the Grand. It's named for a Jim Beyer route on the SE aspect. The Crystal Right route starts near the base of the arête delineating the South and East faces. The East face consists of orange colored granite of a very fine quality.

Description Suggest change

During the initial attempt, Brian Mulvihill unlocked the horrific mystery of the traverse pitch. Due to the runout nature immmediately above the break in the roof, he elected to continue directly left into severely runout 5.9 terrain to gain the regular Crystal Tower route. A couple weeks later Toby and I installed a bolt and climbed through the dog-leg transition to the well-protected upper traverse, thus greatly reducing the potential for injury to the leader.

P1 We started on the Lev route, which begins on the left (SouthEast) side of the base of the Tower (where the arête which delineates the South and East aspects of the Tower rises from 4th class ramps and ledges above the Glencoe Col area). After about 30 feet, head up left (away from the right-tending diagonal Lev ramp) toward the orange face of the Crystal Tower. Follow cracks (5.7) to gain an easy right-tending trough and belay at its top, below a left-facing dihedral. ~45 meters.

A more difficult and perhaps desirable start would begin with the first pitch of the Crystal Tower route (5.9 hands, short pitch), then easily continue straight (north) into the trough to the belay stance at the base of the left-facing dihedral.

P2 The traverse pitch! Left-facing dihedral (5.10-) to black roof. Finger traverse left (green alien pro, 5.10-) to a bolt at the break in the roof. Go up from bolt to 5.9 LB, then continue left traverse (5.10-, good gear) to belay stance on top of an obvious flake. 30m.

P3 Go up left to where the crack becomes a very steep left-facing dihedral 5.10 A0 (aiders not necessary; we hang-dogged our way up (5.11b/c?)). Continue up past bulge and belay on small stance out left (5.8). 30m.

P4 Climb up and right on crystals over a couple small slanting roofs to gain right-tending crack (5.8). Belay on gravel ledge at the base of the Crystal Tower pinnacle. 27m.

P5 Climb the last pitch of the Crystal Tower route, 5.7 crack and face on the NE side of the pinnacle to a two-bolt rappel anchor on top. 30m.

Protection Suggest change

Double set of cams from green alien to blue #3 camalot, and one gray #4 camalot. We had two sets of nuts, one of which were offset nuts. One new bolt hand-drilled on lead. Bolted anchor at top to initiate rappels.