Type: Trad, 700 ft, 4 pitches, Grade II
FA: Harvey T. Carter, Don Sell, Ray Northcutt, 1954, FFA:?
Page Views: 13,954 total · 117/month
Shared By: Dirty Captain Meatsauce on Oct 16, 2010
Admins: Leo Paik, John McNamee, Frances Fierst, Monty, Monomaniac, Tyler KC

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Access Issue: Seasonal Raptor Closures Details
Access Issue: 2016 Seasonal Raptor Closure for Curecanti Needle & surrounding area Details

Northwest Rib

"Screw the Canyon Proper, this rock quality is the sh#t!" -Dirty Captain Meat Sauce.

To access this phenomenal rib of Curecanti Needle, exit North onto CO 92 from W. US Hwy 50 (right if from Gunnison) cross over Blue Mesa Dam and drive about 7 miles west to Pioneer Point. Then exit left to Pioneer Point which is a senic overlook with an outhouse. Take Curecanti Creek Trail (right of outhouse and right from the Curecanti Trail sign) for about 1.5 miles. This can be a grueling march with kayaks on the back. Once at the water, paddle toward the intrinsic tower in front of you. There will be a large rib line dropping down and right from the summit (NW) with a long, left-facing dihedral staring down at you. This dihedral is pitches 3-4 of the route (classic splitter good time). Anchor your boats up at a dead stump below a steep scree-filled gully that is right of the toe of the NW rib. Route/descent is described below. Just for a time estimate Admiral Grunge Bunny and myself Dirty Captain Meat Sauce climbed the Needle's Northwest Rib on a spectacular fall afternoon leaving Pioneer Point overlook with kayaks on heads at 1:30 PM and getting back to the car at 6:30 PM. Soloing helps the cause.

Route:
Scramble up the Ghangeous Kahn gully (you'll figure it out) heading towards the saddle of the Needle. Once you pass the first buttress on your left, two options exist for P1.

P1) a. Once past the first buttress on the left, two left-facing corners will be in front of you. Climb the one on the left. "If you got it you got it. No rope required." says Admiral Grunge Bunny (5.6)

b. Scramble up the whole gully to the saddle, then traverse far left on a large ledge toward the base of the upper NW rib. (3rd Classing).

P2) Climb obvious crack networks (5.6) up and left towards the base of the NW rib, which is hiding the glorious dihedral that sleeps on the other side. You will eventually land yourself at a large ledge. Traverse this ledge left and around the large portruding rib in front of you.

P3) "One of the best moderate splitter pitches in the valley" -Admiral Grunge Bunny. Start by climbing up the obvious, left-facing corner that leads to a 15 foot section of splitter thin hands leading to a perfect, 15 foot, fist crack of bliss. 30m (5.8)

Although you can belay at the top of P3 at a ledge with slings, a 60m rope will get you to the top of P4. Completing the dihedral in one pitch.

P4) Climb more splitter wide hands to a solid traverse leaning its way up and left to a 15 foot section of easy OW. Wowzers, this pitch is fun with exposure and stellar waterway views. Belay at large skinny vertical boulder. 30m (5.9-)

Now go left of the false summit boulder in front of you and do ~100 feet of fourth class ridge scrambling to the summit. Now smile.

Descent:
Scramble back down west for about 40 feet and then turn left, south, and find a two bolt anchor in a notch facing southwest. 2 double rope raps (bypassing the pin anchor w/ a blue sling) and one final single rope rap lands you at the top of the saddle. Scramble down the death slide to your boats and man out that 1.5 miles with a boat on your back. Hooorah brotha!

Protection

Single rack, if you really want it bring a #4 Camalot. Just feel the hand slamwiches and solo it! Bring 2 ropes to rap.

Photos