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Octopussy

WI6 M6+ R, Trad, Mixed, Ice, 150 ft, 2 pitches,  Avg: 4 from 6 votes
FA: Jeff Lowe
Colorado > CO Ice & Mixed > Vail Ice > Rigid Designator Amph…

Description

I felt obligated to add this route to the database as it was the route that really started the modern mixed climbing era. Octopussy, when put up in 1994, was the start of the classification of "M8." It took Lowe a couple trips before finally getting up it which included a couple figure fours. What vision! Though the route does not get climbed often, it still awaits those with a sense of adventure and perhaps a little insanity.

The climbing is simply wild and not your ordinary "all bolt" route. Though most of it's fixed, it has the "trad" sense to it.

The Seventh Tentacle is usually the route used to approach Octopussy. You could either belay at the bolts for the top of The Seventh Tentacle or traverse left for a few feet to another set of bolts for Reptile. A traverse left at M4ish is made with some interesting gear and potential for some interesting falls before you're behind the curtain.

Inspect the curtain, perhaps rap down before you get on it to make sure it's safe to climb on as sometimes the fracture line cannot be seen until you're face to face with it. If the curtain is really well formed, you can stem accross and skip the chossy, overhang drytooling sometimes called "Octowussy." If it's not that fat, clip all the mank at the ledge (#1 BD cam can be placed around here to back it up) and equalize it. Use a screamer here and there.

Commit to the overhung corner for a couple moves to a very strenous clip to the hanging tat (two equalized pins). The transfer to the ice can be very strenuous. Whether it involves figure fours, front levers, or if you're lucky, it can be straightforward! Once on the front, cruise for 10 feet of WI5+ ice to the top. Make sure to place a screw a bit above the roof and not on the hanging curtain, and try to keep the rope from running directly underneath the curtain.

Location

Start with The Seventh Tentacle. A 70m rope barely makes it. Two ropes are usually used for the rappel descent. The curtain is just to the left of The Fang.

Protection

I would bring a #0.3 and #1 C4 BD cam. About 5 screws will be more then enough. Bring lots of alpine draws as there is a few pieces to clip before the roof. Double ropes work better on this, though I got away with a single. See JR's old guidebook for more details.

Photos [Hide ALL Photos]

Jeff Lowe on the first attempt of Octopussy.
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Photo by Brad Johnson.
[Hide Photo] Jeff Lowe on the first attempt of Octopussy. Photo by Brad Johnson.
Noah McKelvin sends Octopussy in style.
[Hide Photo] Noah McKelvin sends Octopussy in style.
Kacper Tekieli leading ice-crux of the route (March 2015. Photo: Przemek Jurczyk).
[Hide Photo] Kacper Tekieli leading ice-crux of the route (March 2015. Photo: Przemek Jurczyk).
Octopussy. Vail, sometime in the mid '90s.
[Hide Photo] Octopussy. Vail, sometime in the mid '90s.
Ice was kind of in the condition of the first ascent it seemed requiring some very strenous climbing and creative weird moves.
[Hide Photo] Ice was kind of in the condition of the first ascent it seemed requiring some very strenous climbing and creative weird moves.
Amazing position.
[Hide Photo] Amazing position.
Octopussy.
[Hide Photo] Octopussy.

Comments [Hide ALL Comments]

Aaron M
Westminster, CO
 
[Hide Comment] I think that it is worth noting that a lot of the fixed gear from the ledge (pins and nuts) is for Octowussy, and that the last piece of gear that you would use in that crack system would be the pink tricam. You would then break climber's right to the fixed pins. Dec 20, 2013
[Hide Comment] Huh? The Charlet-Moser fixed pegs two in the roof and two more out by the dagger were placed by Jeff Lowe for the first ascent. They were there in April 1995 when I first did the route, the same day I met Jeff Lowe and Teri Ebel there as they had returned to do some photography on the route. He clipped all of it leading the route after me.... Jan 22, 2014
Noah McKelvin
Colorado Springs
  WI6 M7-8
[Hide Comment] I remember clipping a lot of the gear on the ledge, committing to the overhang, and clipping Jeff Lowe's two pins in the roof. Made sense to me at the time. Rope drag wasn't bad. Jan 23, 2014
GMax Maxson
Denver, Colorado
[Hide Comment] Noah8000 added a new draw with a gate that will close yesterday. Super fat, you can make it M1 from the second set of anchors with some crazy moves. Jan 16, 2015
Noah McKelvin
Colorado Springs
  WI6 M7-8
[Hide Comment] Super fat this year. And hacked out now.

Worth noting: only a #1 is needed to back up a tricam, maybe a screw or two, 4 alpine draws, and 4 regular draws. You really don't need much. The M4 finish is rad. Dig the dirt!!!!

I cleaned up a lot of the fixed junk a couple days ago. So now it's really just Lowe's pins. In me doing that, it probably made the "Octowussy" conditions scarier, but there shouldn't be any A0'ing to get to the dagger! Get on it! It's kind of cruiser this year. Jan 18, 2015
Rob Griz
Frisco
 
[Hide Comment] Noah, thanks for the newer draw donation. Led the line today with 40+degree temps, the top out was delamed and unglued, and I tore through a fair bit of mud and hucked a few chunks of stone before making the rap tree. I guess if things really go south, you can work left to the 2-bolt anchor on Little Higher for the "Octoultrawussy" line. Feb 8, 2015
Noah McKelvin
Colorado Springs
  WI6 M7-8
[Hide Comment] You're the man, Griz! These warm temps are a bit much. Feb 10, 2015