Type: Trad, Alpine, 1000 ft, 8 pitches, Grade III
FA: Andraski and Zia
Page Views: 387 total · 13/month
Shared By: Matt Zia on Aug 27, 2016
Admins: Lauren Heerschap, Mike Snyder, Jake Dickerson, Taylor Spiegelberg

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Standing in the meadow below the SE Face of Warbonnet, staring up at Black Elk and Brown Cow, we got interested in a sweeping roof on the lower right side of the wall that led into what looked like a system of cracks and corners on the nose of the E Buttress. So naturally, we decided to investigate...

Approach as for Black Elk from the boulder field. As you walk along the base of the blocky ledges below the main face, keep an eye out for an obvious grassy/sandy 3rd and 4th class gully leading up and right. Scramble this gully to its end. Pitch 1 begins at the top of the gully below the obvious curving roof of pitch 2.

Pitch 1: Climb the low angle face and flakes to a corner that leads to a ledge below the curving R-facing corner. 5.9+, 140'

Pitch 2: Climb the corner and roof past an ancient fixed pin. Leaving the roof, follow an excellent finger crack that leads up and right to a ramp and grassy ledge. 5.10, 190'

Pitch 3: Climb straight up from the right side of the grassy ledge following seams that connect two roofs. Head left out the upper roof. Move past a slot to gain a right angling ramp and crack system. Belay off the ramp to avoid an uncomfortable belay. 5.10+, 90'

Pitch 4: Head up to the next roof. Work your way out and left, and pull the lip to a balancy tips crack in a corner. Take the corner until it intersects a right trending ramp. Bypass the ramp by making an airy move left into the next left facing corner system. Take this second corner system to a grassy ledge. 5.11-, 110'

Pitch 5: Take the blocky corner on the right through 5.8 terrain that leads to a hand crack. Follow the hand crack up and then trend left, aiming for a grassy alcove below the upper-left of two parallel, right angling crack systems. 5.8, 160'

Pitch 6: Climb a thin flake/seam and then pull left into the fantastic hands and finger corner. Follow the crack system for 100' to a large ledge. 5.10, 110'

Pitch 7: Step left from the belay around a corner and wide ramp towards a steep chimney/slot. Traverse in (sweet!) and stem, jam, and thrutch your way up to the bottom of an innocuous looking overhanging handcrack. Pull the bulge and scramble up and left to belay below a gorgeous white R-facing corner. 5.10+, 160'

Pitch 8: Fire the steep, thin, white corner for 60'. Above the corner head up easier ground to belay on 4th class ledges. 5.11, 190'

From the top of pitch 8, scramble fun 4th class terrain to the summit.

Alternate Finish: From the top of pitch 8, skip the summit for now and scramble/downclimb the large loose gully behind the top-out of Who's On First. Aim for a chimney system at the base of a prominent semi-independent tower with a large curving off-width up the face. Scramble the chimney and then step up into a spectacular splitter hand crack to corner. Giggle for 200' as you climb one of the most fun 5.9 pitches you'll ever climb in the mountains. From the ledge on top, climb to the airy tower summit (f'ing cool) and then climb one more pitch along the crest to regain the main summit ridge of Warbonnet.

Side note: We found evidence of a previous ascent on pitch 1 and up to the curving roof on pitch 2 (fixed pin), but did not find any sign of passage above the curving roof. If anyone has information of previous passage on or near this route, please leave a comment so we can properly credit those before us.


Far right end of the SE face where the main wall wraps around towards Arrowhead Lake.


Doubles #.2 to #3, 1.5 sets of nuts (offsets handy)


Chris Dickson
Sometimes Lander and someti…
Chris Dickson   Sometimes Lander and someti…
Nice work, fellas! Hmm.... I'll have to check this out next summer! Sep 2, 2016