Type: Trad, Alpine, 5 pitches
FA: unknown
Page Views: 583 total · 27/month
Shared By: Hans on Apr 20, 2017
Admins: Kate Lynn

You & This Route

8 Opinions

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The Route

Essentially a variation of the first 3 pitches of Paddle Flake direct, the original indirect Paddle Flake route is an excellent route, and is arguably better than the crowded McTech Arete at a similar grade.

Having said that, I thought the route description in the guidebook was just a bit off. Hopefully the following description is a bit more accurate. Grades and pitch lengths are only estimates.

Paddle Flake topo

P1: 5.9, 50m. Start well right of the main corner, and follow broken cracks up through a tricky wide section. Keep following cracks until you can make an easy traverse left along a ledge system back to a belay in the main corner.

Pitch 1 of Paddle Flake

Note that this is actually the first pitch of the route West Side Story. The original first pitch of Paddle Flake ascended the corner, but the variation provides better climbing.

P2: 5.10a, 35m. Climb the main corner (easy fifth) for about 25-30m to a point where the corner gets steeper and the cracks get flaring. Plug in whatever gear you can find and traverse left and up to a short crack that leads to a belay at the base of the first smaller paddle flake. I thought this pitch was pretty spicy, as the crux was the rising traverse out of the corner and the fall would have been a bit ugly.

P3: 5.10b, 15m. Climb the finger and hand crack in the corner of the right side of the small paddle flake to a two bolt belay at its top. A bit burly. Alternatively, climb the squeeze chimney on the left side of the flake, which is the 3rd pitch of Paddle Flake Direct.

The final two pitches are shared with Paddle Flake direct.

P4: 5.10b, 35m. Climb the hand crack on the left of the larger paddle flake past many good rests. A steep section at the top leads through a bulge to a stance and a gear belay. Awesome!

Note that there were two good belay stances here. The lower right hand one had two pitons, and led to a wide crack, but the upper left hand one was what we chose as this looked like the best way for the next pitch.

Climbers on pitch 4 of Paddle Flake

Many variations are possible for the last pitch. This is what we did.

P5: 5.10b, 55m. Climb up from the belay using parallel cracks (finger crack on the right) for 5m. Hand traverse right beneath a large boulder until you can pull up into a crack that widens into a chimney. Chimb the chimney to its top then up through a bulge. Broken rock leads to the ridge crest.

The rappel route is down the wall to the left of McTech Arete, and I don't recommend it. There was a lot of climber induced rockfall from people rappelling, and this was really dangerous for anyone below. As well, there seemed to be a lot of people getting their ropes stuck.

I would recommend carrying over approach shoes, and then down climbing the easy gully between Crescent Spire and Crescent Towers. There is an easy trail. If you do this, you can rack up on one of several boulders sticking out of the snow near the base of the gully, so you don't have to return to the base of the route.


To the left of McTech Arete and McTech Roof is a large corner. The orginal start to Paddle Flake is up the corner, though the described route begins on the wall that is right of the corner. Paddle Flake direct begins on the wall that is left of the corner


Bring a wide selection of cams and nuts from the smallest sizes to a BD #4. Long slings are a must,


  5.10c PG13
  5.10c PG13
Interesting! We climbed this route, more or less as per the book's description in mid-July 2018 and I found the first pitch very spicy for a 5.9 (hard moves and hard to protect in places). I led the 5.10c (4th pitch) and found it much more secure. Great route however you do it. (5 years earlier I climbed the Paddle Flake Direct route and found that to be excellent, throughout.) The other consideration to doing the "original" 1st pitch is that you are in the line of fire from rocks knocked down from parties above rappelling that face (after completing McTech or other nearby routes) AND you have to start on 6 to 8 metres of snow...Totally agree with bringing lots of slings (many double shoulder length). Aug 14, 2018