Type: Sport, Alpine, 700 ft (212 m), 7 pitches, Grade III
FA: Darin Berdinka and Rad Roberts
Page Views: 28,647 total · 327/month
Shared By: Rad Roberts on Mar 15, 2017 · Updates
Admins: Jon Nelson, Micah Klesick, Zachary Winters

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Description Suggest change

This modern classic may have it all: excellent climbing, solid rock, an outstanding position and summit, grand alpine views, and a quick and easy approach and descent. The route follows the striking Southwest arete of the Vega North Tower, North of the Morning Star peak. It can be popular so plan accordingly.

Although this route is fully bolted, climbers must be prepared to handle steep snow in spring, multiple rappels on the descent, and some loose rock on ledges. Care should be taken to avoid knocking rocks off the right side of the route as these will shoot down the approach gully. Climbers are advised to wear helmets in the approach gully and avoid lingering there. Note that there is clean drinking water available just before the gully at the base of the route if this area is snow-free.  

Descent: Many people make mistakes. Consider bringing this description to avoid an epic. It is possible to rap with a single 60 meter rope. Use the rap rings set back from the top of the route. Put your rope over the least sharp part of the edge (we hammered this a lot). From the summit, go down and angle to the lower anchor at the base of pitch 7. To rap p6, toss your rope slightly left of the bolt line to avoid hitting anyone below you. Be careful not to knock off loose rock as it could hit climbers below you. Rap down the p6 face and move to a rap anchor about 10ft  skiers left and 10ft above the anchor at the top of the dihedral pitch. Do not go to the top of the dihedral pitch. Make a short rappel to an anchor on a ledge to the side of the dihedral pitch (short free hanging rappel above ledge). Rap p4 to one of the two anchors available, again making sure not to throw your rope onto other climbers. Rap the low angle upper section of p3 (mostly walking), aiming for a 10ft tall tree about 15ft skiers left of the climbing line (we will flag this tree soon). Find the dedicated rappel anchor tucked in a nook just below the 10ft tree. This is 15 ft skiers left of the climbing line and just above the vertical section at the start of p3. Do NOT rap down the vertical face unless you have two ropes as you'll not reach the next anchors. From the nook anchor, rap down to either of the anchors at the top of p2. Rap to the p1 anchor. Rap from there to the base of the route. The starting ledge is several hundred feet above the ground and rather exposed. Consider staying on rappel and walking back to the belay bolt at the start of the route. You can pull your rope from there. If there are climbers above you, keep your helmet on until you are clear of the gully.


Pitch 1: Hero climbing up and left on steep jugs leads to a beautiful face and arête. 115 feet, 5.10a.

Pitch 2: Continue up the featured face to a belay on the crest. 70 feet, 5.9.

Pitch 3: Cross a large ledge and ascend a 30 foot headwall with some cracks and good holds. Easier climbing leads to the base of the next headwall. Note that there is an intermediate anchor about 15 feet right of the climbing line and 10 feet above the lip of the lower headwall is used on the descent. You cannot see this on your way up. 150 feet, 5.9.

Pitch 4: Step right and climb a clean face to the base of a dihedral. 70 feet, 5.10a.

Pitch 5: Climb the stunning dihedral and exit up and right to an airy belay. 80 feet, 5.10a.

Pitch 6: Head up the lower arête (notice rap anchor on 10 ft up and right from dihedral anchor), balance on top of a large flake, ascend the beautiful face (crux), move left to a spectacular arête and finish on the crest. 115 feet, 5.10a.

Pitch 7: Make a tricky move or two past bolts on a vertical face, then move right across ledges to the final headwall. Follow a clean ramp to the summit. Watch for loose rock on this pitch. Sign the summit register. You've earned it! 100 feet, 5.8

Descent: see above,

FA write up:


Nice write up and photos from Steph Abegg:


Location Suggest change

Follow the Sunrise Mine trail approximately two and a half miles to the last major switchback (~4300 foot elevation) before the trail begins zig zagging up to Headlee Pass. Leave the trail and begin a surprisingly easy traverse northeast across talus toward the Mile High buttress. Cairns mark the way well enough. Pass just above a large flat-topped boulder near the first set of trees. Follow a natural passage through the small stand of trees to a second open talus field. Continue across open heather and talus, cross a strip of trees near a rocky bluff, and ascend to the obvious red gully right of the Mile High Buttress. A convenient seep just before the Mile High gully provides water through mid-season and for a few days after rain. Scramble up and left on rubble-strewn ledges to a lone fir tree. Pass the tree on a ledge to a single belay bolt at the beginning of the route.

Protection Suggest change

Draws and a 60m rope. A couple alpine draws could be nice to cut back on drag.