Type: Trad, Alpine, 800 ft, 5 pitches, Grade III
FA: Peter Croft and Lisa Rands - 8/2011
Page Views: 6,416 total · 76/month
Shared By: Luke Stefurak on Jul 10, 2012
Admins: Chris Owen, Lurker, M. Morley, Adam Stackhouse, Salamanizer suchoski, Justin Johnsen, Vicki Schwantes

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Description

This route takes an improbable and steep line straight up the North Buttress of Merriam. This was originally reported to the AAC as the Croft-Rands Left. After one approach pitch there are four stunning pitches of steep cracks and exciting moves before the route rejoins the North Buttress route.

P1. 5.8 45m From the small ledge on top of the toe of Merriam head up a shallow dihedral for 50 feet before stepping right around the corner onto easier ground. Continue up until you can step left onto a decent ledge. There is a balanced loose block on the left side of the ledge.

P2. 5.11 30m
This pitch is visible from the ground and the P1 belay. For refernece you can see a piton halfway up the first seam/corner. From the belay traverse left past a large balanced block. Move past the block with care to reach a thin crack. Layback up past the piton to a small alcove with more opportunities for gear. Tricky moves lead to a stance and a thin hands crack that takes you left towards a roof. Belay at a small ledge with two fixed nuts and small gear.

P3. 5.11 40m
This is the incredible roof crack pitch visible from the ground. Work up a 4" crack in pristine granite towards the roof. Plug and chug out the steep hands roof until the angle kicks back and you are rewarded with 30' of blissful hands. The crack thins down to 1" and a set of face holds appear to the left. Traverse across these carefully to another crack. This thin hands crack leads you through a small roof (cruxy). Build a belay when possible.

P4. 5.11- 40m
Pitch four follows a large flake system also visible from the ground which then becomes two amazing thin fingers cracks at the end of the pitch. From the belay work up the flakes climbing carefully due to some brittle rock. A steep section in the middle adds excitement before the crack starts to pinch out at the end. A technical and thin crux, with occasional face holds, leads you to a large sloping ledge and a comfortable belay.

P5. 5.11 25m
The golden face above the belay is the the final obstacle before the larger cracks that lead to the summit. Crimp and finesse your way up the face, placing barely enough gear to keep you off the deck. After 10 feet, a few good pods open up and you are rewarded with killer jugs. Romp up the golden granite and take a step of faith across stacked blocks to gain another killer ledge.

P6. 5.10 60m
There are two options here and we took the left side since it looked cleaner. They meet up after about 50 feet of climbing.

Follow the wide crack on the left using the arete to gain a small ledge with many loose blocks. Continue up the corner until you meet up with the North Buttress route a the first, and easier, of two offwidths. Save your large gear for the second and plug your way up the wide cracks. Eventually you will reach easier ground and the detached summit block.

An exciting traverse, under the massive summit block, leads right to the summit ridge where you can build a belay.

P7/8 - 5.5
Additional traversing is required to get to the true summit. This section is shared by all routes and is about 500' with occasional moves up to 5.5

Location

This route climbs the skyline of the North Buttress. The first pitch is just right of the start of that route.

After gaining the ridge the standard traverse is required to get to the true summit of Merriam.

Protection

Double set of cams from Green C3 to #2 Camalot. Single #3 camalot and #4 camalot or #4 friend.
Small nuts useful.
Extra #1 or #2 camalot

Photos