Type: Trad, Alpine, 1300 ft, 6 pitches, Grade III
FA: Jesse Morehouse, Scott Simmons
Page Views: 270 total · 16/month
Shared By: Jesse Morehouse on Aug 21, 2017
Admins: Leo Paik, John McNamee, Frances Fierst, Monty, Monomaniac

You & This Route

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I'm listing it as an FA, because I saw no signs of other parties or mention of a route here, but since we only accidentally did this after totally missing the West Buttress route, who really knows?

This is an exposed, committing route. There was 5.7-5.8 climbing on every pitch with the crux at the top, sometimes sparse gear and some definite looseness in places, especially on the first two pitches. The finish is pretty spectacular, and you will feel like you did something getting up this. We did the climb car-to-car from Molas Pass in a 22 hour day but wouldn't recommend that. We got incredibly lucky with the weather. Plan on a long day even if you camp in the vicinity. FWIW, it took us a little more than 7 hours to ascend the climb.

The route consists of 6 pitches with about half a pitch of terrain in the middle that does not require a rope. Doubles and slings are critical to mitigate rope drag.

P1. 5.7, 200 feet. Head up the dihedral. I exited right to set up a belay and to avoid an extra chossy part of the corner.

P2. 5.8, 200 feet. Move back into the corner, and continue up it surmounting a strenuous chockstone. Once again, move out right to belay avoiding another really chossy part of the corner.

P3. 5.7, 200 feet. Diagonal right and around the edge of the dihedral out onto the face. The rock gets more solid, but the gear is a little sparse. Trend right, and belay near the right side of the face.

P4. 5.8, 200 feet. Head up and slightly left from the belay attempting to follow the line of apparent weakness. Eventually you will need to surmount one of a few chimney/roof features. The one I chose was the one on the left and had a rope chopping knife of rock kind of sticking out from its base. Finish on your first comfortable ledge of the whole climb.

Intermission - simulclimb or just unrope and head up from the center right part of the ledge. We were aiming to trend right but kept being forced more up than right. After about half a rope length, the climbing gets hard enough to want to rope up again.

P5. 5.8+, 150 feet. Head up from the belay looking for an obvious, steep, perfect hand crack that takes you right and turns into a traverse almost back to the right edge of the face. Place some good gear here and step up into some committing and unprotected moves aiming for the obvious alcove above. Long slings are critical!

P6. 5.9, 60 feet. Head up the line of weakness above the alcove. The climbing becomes steep but is well-protected. Punch out the crux moves on good gear, and arrive in the pleasant little "V" slot that takes you straight to the summit. This is the first time you can see the summit on the entire route.

We rapped into the notch then down the North couloir which only had a little snow as it was mid-August. Two easy raps took us to mellow downclimbing on skier's right. We generally trended right on the way down except one zig back left to avoid a small drop by switching ramps. Eventually we got cliffed out and found a great 2 nut rap anchor all the way on skier's right of the area we were descending. A ~150' rap took us to ledges trending down and right that took us back to the scree. A very mellow descent which got us further back towards our packs down in the trees than heading South from the notch.


Hike up to the West side of Arrow Spire first on the trail from the Beaver Ponds and then on scree. Look for the huge, left-facing diehedral that starts at the base and looks to curve back on itself in a reverse "C" after 400 feet.


A double set of cams from your smallest to #3, a full set of nuts, lots of slings, and double ropes. Tat for ~3 raps and headlamps.


Ben Gleason
Durango, CO
Ben Gleason   Durango, CO
Where is this in relation to the standard "Arrow Spire" route? May 7, 2018
Jesse Morehouse
Jesse Morehouse   CO
Ben, it is a bit further if making the standard approach. It is, as far as I could tell, the westernmost aspect of the spire. There is one photo showing me at the base of a very large dihedral. That is the start. It is hard to miss. May 8, 2018
Matthias Holladay
Shiprock, Navajolands
Matthias Holladay   Shiprock, Navajolands
Per R.F.R.'s guide: "The October 1969 Trail and Timberline reports a climb of the northwest face via the Arrowhead pinnacle on Arrow's west shoulder. The route starts at the lowest point at the base of the west face and climbs eleven or twelve pitches to the top of the pinnacle. From the pinnacle, a 60-foot rappel into the notch is followed by 150 feet of scrambling to the main summit. The route is rated III 5.7." May 9, 2018
Jesse Morehouse
Jesse Morehouse   CO
Matthias, I saw that when researching after the fact. I'm guessing that lies between this line and the main route. While vague, the pitch count is double so even with older gear I'd think that is excessive. Also, this doesn't start at the lowest point. It's actually about the highest point. All that being said, who knows! May 9, 2018