Type: Trad, Alpine, 1800 ft, 15 pitches, Grade V
FA: Established by Stuart Richie, Mark Rolofson, and Annie Whitehouse. FFA Paul Piana, Todd Skinner, Tim Toula
Page Views: 7,530 total · 130/month
Shared By: j wharton on Aug 19, 2014
Admins: Lauren Heerschap, Mike Snyder, Jake Dickerson, Taylor Spiegelberg

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This is one of the best backcountry free climbs I've done. The climbing is incredibly varied, and generally very clean for such a remote, seldom traveled route. Some sections of the route feel like etched marble! Although not particularly sustained there is a fair bit of 5.11 climbing and two short stretches of 12a. Despite being short, I found the thin bolted traverse pitch to be the crux. The stemming corner up high is also tricky, but not as hard as it first appears. The rock and climbing on this pitch in particular is amazing. The old rusty bolts, and at least one piton were updated in August 2014. Big shout out to Hermes Lynn and Kate Rutherford for this great community service.

There is a quality written description in Kelsey's guide, and a topo can be found in Todd Skinner's "Big Walls!" book.

You can see some nice Rowell pics from the the FFA here:


History: Some controversy surrounds the FFA. The Colorado team put the bolts in and established the free variations, but failed to free the 12a stemming corner due to rain. The Wyoming contingent came in a few weeks later and made a continuous free ascent. I suspect Whit Magro and I did the first one day onsight free ascent in August 2013 in 10-ish hours. Kate Rutherford and Anne-Gilbert Chase did the first all female free ascent in August 2014. I would guess the route has been climbed a dozen times at 5.11 C1. I would not recommend taking bivy gear on this route, as nothing looks very comfortable until high on the wall.


Begins just beyond the nose of Hooker, climbing the northwestern aspect of the the wall.


Offset Rps, Stoppers, and double set from tiny to hands, with a single #3 and #4


LoganJamison Jamison
Salt Lake City, UT
LoganJamison Jamison   Salt Lake City, UT
This route partially follows the original aid route that was the first ascent of Hooker's North Face, put up by Royal Robbins and company in 1964. First grade VI outside the Valley? Not sure. Joey Lambert and I freed this line in 2012. Sure didn't seem like it got much traffic, but boy was it good. And cold. And windy. Aug 10, 2015
Multiple sections of R rated climbing on this route in the 5.9ish range (face). The direct start begins just right of an obvious jagged roof about 8 feet off the ground. The obvious final corner to Der Major is RIGHT facing (topo is wrong) and is correctly identified by the presence of moss. Aug 21, 2018
Mark Rolofson
Boulder, CO
Mark Rolofson   Boulder, CO
There is much I could write about this route & in fact I did, but it was never published. On our ascent in August 1990, we did a total of 19 pitches to Der Major. The Green Arete (pitch 4) was our 5th pitch & we called it the Green Door, partly because it ascends polished greenish black rock. This is where the route leaves the Robbins Route that ascends the large dihedral with a knife blade crack & then goes left up overhanging rock. On our first day, I hand drilled two bolts with aid leading right across the Slippery 5.11 face to gain the arete. Annie eventually took over the lead, drilling bolts along the arete. A hail storm forced our retreat. So we fixed ropes back to the ground. Stu completed the Green Door pitch days later. Stu & Annie established our fixed ropes to the top of the Green Door & got our haul bag to here.
I stayed on the ground that day because I was feeling a bit sick. I was sitting on boulders at the base hundreds of feet left of the route, when a rock flew down the face just to my left. Then, rocks rocketed down right in above me. I quickly rolled off the boulder. I hid behind & underneath it as rock continued to pummel the base, exploding in every direction. It finally stopped & I felt very lucky to be alive. I realized I was a lot safer on the wall than sitting on the ground at that point.
The following day we jugged our fixed lines, pulling them up with us. I led the next 5.11 pitch up a corner to a small roof where I traversed left & up to a stance. I drilled two bolts to protect .10d face climbing & fought horrendous rope drag up a small unprotected corner to the belay ledge.
Annie led the next pitch, ascending the overhanging right-facing corner to a stance where she drilled one bolt. If there are two here now, someone else drilled the second one. She continued on the long traverse across the face to the base of the short offwidth & belayed me up. I quickly led the short offwidth in the last light of the day. Stu was forced to follow in the darkness, which was rather terrifying.
Our first bivy was rather uncomfortable, with Stu lying on top of the haul bag while Annie & I sat up in our bivy sacks on a narrow ledge just below. I realized our one hammock that we left on the ground, would have made a huge difference to providing a better bivouac.
The next morning I led the 5.12a traverse (pitch 9), that we named the Golden Gateway. After drilling the first 2 close bolts with aid, I lowered back to the belay ledge to warm my frozen hands. Then I committed to what I recall as a very wild insecure vertical face traverse for 25 feet to gain a tiny corner & jug. Here, I found a hook & poor alien placement to hang from & drill the 3rd bolt. After completing the traverse, I arrived at a single bolt. I realized that I had joined the Shady Lady on the Syphiltic Crack. I drilled a second 1/4" bolt here for the belay.
I knew Jim Dockery when I lived in Salt Lake City in 1979. He is the person that first introduced me to Mt. Hooker with his slide show of the first ascent of The Shady Lady. He made a big deal about the run-out above the bolt, on the Syphiitic Crack, to reach the ledge at the end of pitch.
Annie seconded the Golden Gateway on her first try. She then led the Syphiitic Crack, via liebacking & protecting it with one 5" & one 5.5" cam. With these two pieces the .10d pitch was quite safe. I was surprised not to see this included Josh's recommended rack for the route. This pitch ends on a good ledge with two bolts that Dockery placed dubbed the Penicillin bolts.
Two pitches higher, Annie led up the crack to a huge jug atop a flake. The proved to be a loose huge block that rocked downward several feet when she pulled on. She thought she was going to fall pulling the block off with her. The block stopped because it was wedged in the crack. She ended up lowering off.
Exhausted from the previous night's lack of sleep, we bivied atop pitch 12 at the Oval Office bivy. With one big sleeping for the 3 of us, Stu got the bag & slept out in the howling wind. Annie & I sat & huddled in the chimney corner out of the wind.
The next morning, I took over the lead past the block. which proved to be quite safe, as it was wedged deeply in the crack. The pitch finished with a big traverse right to where I set up a hanging belay, from a thin horizontal crack. We saw an old sling 50 ft. higher where the original aid line must have traversed.
Stu led pitch 13 with a 5.6 traverse to an easy corner that had a few great bivy ledges. As I started leading pitch 14 (the corner pitch) it started to rain. Soon the rock was wet. I was able to free most of the pitch because there was a good crack, until I got to the last 30 feet. This section involved wet slabby terrain void of a crack. I lowered off. Low of water & food, we made the decision to keeping climbing rather than wait for the rock to dry. At this point, we hoped to top out by the end of the day. Stu finished the pitch on aid. This was unfortunate because the afternoon was sunny & beautiful. This northwest buttress got late day sun.
We would have topped out that day, except we went the wrong way on Der Minor. Only to have to reverse the 5.8 traverse we had done. So we spend our third night on on Der Minor, for a comfortable bivy where I could finally lie flat & get a good night's sleep. We drank the last of our water before bed.
The next day we traversed left on Der Minor for 200 feet to find the 300 ft long right-facing corner. Two quick 5.9 pitches put us on Der Major. Hauling was always a lot of work, most especially when hungry & dehydrated. Luckily, we were in the shade of the north face. At the upper right end of Der Major, there is a short,but very exposed scramble to the summit. The smart thing would have been to rope up, but thirst drove us to ignore the 2000 ft. drop off & quickly reach the summit in search of water. Feb 27, 2019