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Routes in Chimneys of Treasure

Donkey Ear T 5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b
Roger's Route T 5.8+ 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c PG13
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Type: Trad, Alpine, 250 ft, 2 pitches, Grade III
FA: who knows?
Page Views: 1,775 total · 18/month
Shared By: Colter on Sep 20, 2010
Admins: Leo Paik, John McNamee, Frances Fierst, Monty, Monomaniac

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A super adventureous alpine route! The climbing is moderate but exposed! It is probably 5.8 climbing, but the loose rocks and the exposure sure makes it a lot headier. Don't get me wrong tho, a lot of the rock is pretty good. All the route needs is a good cleaning. The route climbs out of a chasm between the largest tower and Treasure Mountain, into a ramp, into a dihedral.

The belay ledge is on top of the dihedral. We had a 70m rope and had a bit extra to spare when we got to the belay. A 60m should make it but not a 50m. The gear the the belay isn't amazing. We ended up finding a couple pieces and slinging a chockstone. From here, the route continues up broken rock with nice, thin cracks, but a lot of this rock consists of huge, loose blocks, be careful here. There are actually two OLD pegs barely worth clipping, and then another, better peg just as you are about to crest the wall. Carefully construct a belay once you've made it to the top. There are looooooose rocks everywhere, and it takes lots of care not to knock rocks onto the second below you. Be extra careful of the rope running through the rocks.

We left an anchor to rappel off on the south side of the chimney. Two pitons and a tricam, equalized with green webbing and a locker. We rapped with a 70m, but a 60m tag line, and barely got to the bottom. Quite the rappel!


The approach is long and difficult. See the comments for full approach beta. Once you are at the top of Bear Basin, you can plainly see the chimneys. Head for the largest one. It would be a good idea to climb the Donkey Ear first, though. Easy warm up. One pitch. It has good webbing anchor on top. Once you head for the largest tower, go to the south side of it. There is a chasm in between the chimney and what is essentially Treasure Mountain itself. Walk up into that chasm and look for a right-angling ramp on the lower part of the tower. That marks the beginning part of the route. It is a bit tricky climbing out of the chasm up into the ramp. Probably the hardest move of the day.


There are plenty of cracks to protect yourself with, but you must check each and every rock on the way up! Sme of them are giant, loose blocks! Unfortunately, it seems to get worse near the top, and especially on top. Hence, the PG-13. I wouldn't call it runnout though. Bring a full rack. Plenty of slings, cordalette x 2. Nuts!


The approach can be difficult, especially if you don't have a really badass 4 wheel drive car. The road is treacherous to say the least. You'll need to make it to the town of Crystal, wich is a tiny little mountain town at the base of Schofeild Pass, on the Carbondale side. Head up from Carbondale towards Marble, and continue past Marble to Crystal. Just before you get to the town of Crystal, you'll get a classic view of the Crystal River Mill from the road. Pass through town slowly, and after you're through bear right (south) and you'll end up in some campsites. There are a few good river crossings from these campsites, which is what you'll need to do. At this point you'll be bushwhacking, but if you continue straight up the slope on the other side of the river you'll eventually run into a trail within a half an hour or so. You can't miss the trail as it's traversing the slope you'll be going straight up. The trail will lead you all the way up the gorgeous, remote drainage. You can't miss the awesome towers, and the best camping is far up in the drainage. Really nice flat grassy/tundra lawns with granite humps surrounding, just below the spires. I'd give it 5 miles from the car camping sites to the bivy sites. No water purifier is needed up at the top of the drainage, and there seems to be melt off thru September, even on poor snow years due to massive wind loading on the upper slopes of treasure mountain. Car to car is do able, but the chimneys are intimidating and it could take a few days to enjoy them properly. We used dirt bikes to get from Marble to Crystal, parking at Beaver Lake in Marble. It would take a jeep or a smaller truck to breach the road into Crystal otherwise. Sep 22, 2010
I am calling our route a first ascent, because we didn't find any pitons or anything human at all on the first gigantic pitch. I think our route collided with a route previously ascended long time ago on our second pitch. I am naming out Route Roger's Route, because tragically, my partner Roger, who picked the route, died a week or two after our great adventure to the top of the chimney. He didn't die climbing but rather in a boating accident. He was a great, great partner. We shared tons of laughs on our jouney and climbed well together. RIP, Roger. Epic route named after you. GO CLIMB IT FOR HIM! :) Oct 4, 2010
David Hertel
Haines, Alaska
David Hertel   Haines, Alaska
I appreciate what you have done in naming the route after your friend. I never fail to feel a churning in my stomach at the news of a fallen climber. Even though the tragedy was beckoned from another cause than climbing, it is no less devastating than a climber killed on route. I am adding Roger's Route to my to-do list not only to offer amends to a fallen comrade, but for the beauty and exposure of an admirable alpine climb as well. RIP. Dec 31, 2010
For some reason I just saw that comment above for Roger. Awesome comment and I really hope you do come climb this route! It's so full on and awesome. The reason I went back to the link was to show it off as the most adventuresome and one of the best routes I've ever done. Mar 16, 2012

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