Type: Trad, Alpine, 1000 ft (303 m), 9 pitches, Grade III
FA: Jon Allen & Doug Byerly, 1998
Page Views: 1,849 total · 23/month
Shared By: Andy Hansen on Jul 24, 2017
Admins: Leo Paik, John McNamee, Frances Fierst, Monty, Monomaniac, Tyler KC

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Description Suggest change

Dream of Babylon Burning is a lesser known route on the East Buttress of McHenry's Peak. It is characterized by moderately short pitches, very good rock quality, punchy cruxes, and classic alpine route finding problems. Its position and popularity allow for a true alpine experience in one of RMNP's finest venues. It is a true alpine adventure at a moderately difficult grade!

Approach McHenry's Peak via Glacier Gorge TH. Follow the trail to Black Lake, and ascend the trail leaving the SE corner of the lake. Once in Upper Glacier Gorge, traverse slabs towards the obvious East Buttress of McHenry's, and aim for the center of the triangular-shaped buttress. Depending on the season, there could likely be a "Colorado crevasse" crossing or scree to gain the base of the route. Aim for a right-facing, left-angling corner just left of center.

Pitch 1: 5.9, 150'. Locate the right-facing, left-angling corner. Ascend this steep corner to a somewhat ledgey piece of terrain, and traverse left to gain a finger crack in a steeper corner. Take this to a comfortable ledge beneath a very obvious, black streaked, right-facing corner.

Pitch 2: 5.10a, 120'. Layback and jam up the phenomenal corner to a wide pod. Bust through this wide pod and through some more corner climbing to a ledge below a small roof. Cruise to the right over the small roof, and find a comfortable belay at a horn. This pitch is fantastic!

Pitch 3: 5.6 R, 100'. This is the only pitch we could not discern from either the Rossiter or Gillett description, but there's a lot of nebulous alpine rambling on this pitch. Find the path of least resistance to a comfortable ledge with a small pine at its right end. The pro is hard to come by on the pitch and for an anchor.

Pitch 4: 5.10c, 120'. Ascend a seam/slab that is just left of the aforementioned small pine. This is protected by a small cam. Continue up to a right-facing, left-angling corner that intersects another roof feature. Take this crack/roof to the right. The crux climbing is protected by C3s. After tackling the crack/seam/roof, ascend another finger crack angling left to another large ledge with a larger pine tree at its right end. This is a good pitch though it is a bit circuitous.

Pitch 5: 5.9, 100'. There is a sharp, jagged, white flake at the left end of the ledge. Climb this to another ledge, continue straight up a corner behind a large boulder feature, and belay at another large ledge. This is a really cool pitch, but sadly the good climbing is way, way too short.

Pitch 6: 5.4, 120'. Traverse up and right aiming for the Gold Corner. Below the Gold Corner, I chose to set a hanging stance just left of the corner proper. Anchor is pro hard to come by, but the less desirable hanging stance proved to provide decent anchor pro.

Pitch 7: 5.10d, 120'. Above the hanging stance is a hummock-filled crack. Ascend this to a wide crack, but instead of tackling the wide crack, step left and protect high. Traverse back right, the crux, and regain the Gold Corner. This is a really exciting traverse and provides the crux of the route. Ascend the Gold Corner surmounting various pods, roofs, and crack features. This is an awesome pitch! There is also a death dagger midway up the pitch, so beware.... Belay at a cave-like feature to the left of a chimney.

Pitch 8: 5.7, 100'. Ascend the chimney (or climb 5.10 cracks off to the left of the chimney as per the first ascent), and step right onto the prow of the East Buttress. This is great exposure.

Pitch 9: 5.5, 100'. Step around the right side of the prow, and then work back left via the path of least resistance. This is a cool pitch though quite easy. Belay at the summit.

Descend to the south and gain Stone Man Pass. From Stone Man Pass, descend into Upper Glacier Gorge and back to your bivy or car. It is 1.5 hours from the summit to the bivy spots in the McHenry's BZ.

Location Suggest change

This is a direct line up the prow of the East Buttress of McHenry's Peak.

Protection Suggest change

Stoppers, a single set Camalots C3s to #3; doubles #0.5, 0.75, 1, and 2; and a 60m rope.