Type: Trad, Alpine, 600 ft (182 m), 8 pitches, Grade III
FA: Doug Robinson and Tom Frost (July 1973)
Page Views: 1,670 total · 20/month
Shared By: Viren Perumal on Aug 22, 2014
Admins: Chris Owen, Lurker -, Mike Morley, Adam Stackhouse, Salamanizer suchoski, Vicki Schwantes, Justin Johnsen

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Blacksmith Peak (11,680')
From Glacier Lake, hike up gentle slopes, slabs, and talus until you reach the left corner of the face. You will scramble up a gully to a cliff at the base of what Secor describes as hawks head notch.

The gully up towards Hawks Head Notch

This is supposed to be gained by a "steep chute (class 3/4)" but looked wet loose and not fun at all. We did an alternative starting variation to the standard route (I think by who knows) where from the base of the dirty chute we traversed up and right on an angling 3 rd class ramp to some small sandy ledges. Roping up at the ledge we climbed a short (70') 5.8 pitch to a ledge at the base of a clean dihedral. The crack in the dihedral looked too small to take gear so we chose the wide crack (50' 5.8) to the right that had a few steep moves over chock stones that put you inside a wild chimney that is formed by the backside of the formation on the north skyline called the "Hawks Nest".

Epic Chimney behind the "hawks nest"
but with a "heart of darkness" (J-tree) style crack splitting the left wall that sucks up stoppers and fingers

Belay a few feet in the center of the base of this wild improbable chimney at the bottom of a perfect finger splitter crack that is one of the coolest, most unique pitches I've done on an alpine route. The chimney/ finger crack pitch is like a moderate 5.9 version of Joshua Trees's "heart of darkness". Climb the finger crack and go to the right of the block at the top of the chimney and tunnel through to a nice ledge (80'). Above this head up another 100' to the ridge proper on some looser rock and belay a the base of the steep crux pitch corner. Go up a steep left facing dihedral starting with fun fist crack climbing up towards a few moves of nice hands. (90' 5.10-).

Mathieu enjoying classic High Sierra ridge climbing high on the N. Arete

Above this scramble up a few more pitches of 4 th and east 5th to the summit at the top of the ridge the summit is the right hand of the two towers you see from the ridge and can be gained by a face climb up to a left trending ramp (5.6) or by dropping down into the loose gulley to the left until you can climb up a steep wide crack to the summit (5.8).

Options on the last pitch to the summit - face climb right to a left leaning ramp or drop into the gully and climb a wide crack to the summit

The summit block is non descript with little pro to build a belay so we just climbed through and stepped to the next block to the south and down climbed a few moves to a belay stance. The summit register is ~30' below this step across at the gap. ( not sure why it's not on top?). From her about 30' of down climbing leads to the class 2/3 descent.


The route is on the left skyline of the peak as seen from glacier lake. Our variation went directly behind the formation known as the Hawks nest, and the ridge proper begins at Hawks head Notch.


There are a few options but we followed Peter Croft's beta for the descent from his day on the sawtooth traverse (good, great, awesome) and found it mellow and quick. Besides about 50' of 4th class down climbing below the summit the rest is class 2/3. Follow ledges on the south side of the peak that start around 100' below the summit and head southwest. Do not loose to much elevation but when possible scramble right and over a rib into nice sandy slopes to a low spot and the notch where a steep loose gully heads down to the west and to talus fields and slabs that take you back to the lake. Unfortunately all the glaciers that are shown on topo maps for this are around blacksmith are fully melted out and we walked down steep sandy slopes to the talus.
Descent Gully


Alpine Rack up to #3 Camalot, 30 M rope