Avg: 4 from 2 votes
|Type:||Trad, Mixed, Ice, 1400 ft (424 m), 7 pitches, Grade V|
|FA:||Ice Cube, Phil Wortmann, Noah McKelvin|
|Page Views:||2,453 total · 37/month|
|Shared By:||Noah McKelvin on Jan 26, 2016|
|Admins:||Edward Medina, Leo Paik, John McNamee, Frances Fierst, Monty, Monomaniac, Tyler KC|
Please refrain from blocking the road, yield to oncoming mining vehicle traffic, and be careful of rockfall and icefall. Please share the road to minimize future access issues with the road's multiple user groups.
Pass this exam, and the beers are on me for you and your partner!
This is the best route I've done on the Dark Side, without a doubt. It was the biggest day I've had over there. Long sustained pitches, serious runouts and a complicated descent make this pretty Grade V in our opinion. Any future ascents can comment there thoughts. Also, fair warning, this is real deal unsponsored M6, not Bird Brain M6. This could be the mental testpiece of the dark side. This route follows terrain right of Bird Brain Boulevard. You top out above BBB and all the other routes on the buttress. It has an awesome position! This was established ground up without bolts. For me, it was a completion of the long goal of establishing a boltless line on the biggest part of the bird brain buttress, and it barely went without bolts.
Below is what we encountered. The pitch lengths and grades are very approximate.
P1 (WI3 M5, 50ish meters). Start in the obvious groove/chimney. Climb up steep M5 terrain for a while until it mellows out. It then gets steep again. Tunnel through overhanging, M5+ snow (time consuming), and then cut right to a sweet, smallish roof. Mantel by tree hugging. There is a bit of ice at the very end!
P2 (M3, 50ish meters). Cut left, and then slog up steep snow until you get to a slab. Cut left and around the corner to a point where moss heads up the slab. Belay at the last tree before the SWEET, M4 corner.
P3 (M4, 40m). Beg your partner to let you lead this pitch! Ice climb a dead tree, and head up the mossy corner, the crux being near the top before the tree hugging mantel. You get moss sticks for days! Belay at a tree right after the mantel.
P4 (M5+, 70m). This pitch is awesome! Head up the obvious groove above until it turns into a very unique chimney. Steep and sustained M5+ finds you at a tree after 73 meters or so.
P5 (M3, 60ish m). This is the hardest slog pitch by far! Head up and left, and cut left into a gully. Follow it with some M3 climbing to a snow mushroom mantel. Now you're in a big cave looking up, thinking to yourself "What the hell is this?"
P6, "The Graduate Exam" pitch (5.10 M6/7, 55ish meters). This is THE pitch of the route, a wild one. Ice Cube brought out his AK for this one. I'd recommend you do the same. The cave is about 30 to 40 feet deep. You get an awesome belay! Chimney up, place some gear, and then chimney back down and around the roof to a fixed #2 Pecker - wild position. Hold your breath, and traverse straight right from the Pecker around the corner to a no hands rest. Now climb up the (harder than it looks!) steep groove to a difficult bulge. Mantel and follow the low angle groove to a dicey snow mushroom you pull around to a belay in an alcove. Honest! Have your head screwed on tight for this one.
P7 (M5/+, 50+ meters). For us, it was starting to get dark. Pull a couple short, M5+ roofs with bomber gear to glorious moss sticks. Traverse steep snow to the a hidden M4 ramp. This is harder than it looks. Mantel and start digging a trench up the 60/70 degree snow for maybe 50 feet. Mantel again to the top. Woohoo!!! An awesome position right here!!!
Rappel back down the route using whatever trees nearby. We used most of our alpine draws to rig rappel anchors. You may not find some of them.
Watch out for stuck ropes.