Type: Trad, Alpine, Grade II
FA: Rich Perch & Randy Harrington - Aug 9, 1981
Page Views: 1,035 total · 25/month
Shared By: Vic Zeilman on Jun 10, 2018
Admins: Mike Snyder, Taylor Spiegelberg, Jake Dickerson

You & This Route

8 Opinions

Your To-Do List:

Add To-Do · View List

Your Star Rating:

     Clear Rating

Your Difficulty Rating:

-none- Change

Your Ticks:

Add New Tick


Cardiac Arêtes provides fun climbing on generally great rock. It’s a worthy objective in and of itself, but it would also be a nice Plan B if there is a party on Dihedral of Horrors.  The following three pitch description is how we climbed it, which seemed pretty reasonable, but might not be spot on the original line. There are a lot of options for belay stances throughout, and the five original pitches can be linked in a number of different ways.
 P1 - (55m 5.8+) - Start in the same spot as Dihedral of Horrors and Annals of Time.  Climb up the sparsely protected slab, or start in the more prominent 4th class trough/weakness to the right. Eventually move up and left through some obvious blocks (marked 5.6 on the Gams guidebook topo) to reach a ledge. At this point, we continued up the first blocky dihedral we encountered, which was steep, right-leaning, a bit licheny, but provided good climbing. Pull some exposed 5.8/5.9 moves and belay on a comfortable ledge at the top of the dihedral. The anchor took small nuts and micro cams, but you could also sling a big block at another stance about 5-10’ lower.

In hindsight, it seems like this blocky corner may be off route of the original line, or the “easy 5th” described in the Gams guide, but either way, it was a fun pitch and appears far more engaging than the alternative. For easier access to the upper portion of the climb, perhaps bypass this initial corner system and continue up the ramp leading toward Dihedral of Horrors. Look for another “easy 5th” weakness leading up and right.

P2 – (60m 5.9 or 5.10-) – From the top of P1, follow a foot traverse on the slab out right, cut back hard left, then head straight up, shooting for a prominent tree. Pull through some awkwardness here and there to gain easier climbing above. Move up and right (out of view of the belay) to access the east-facing aspect of the wall which you have thus far been unable to see. Either belay here if you want to watch your partner as they lead the crux, or if you’ve managed your rope drag, continue into the 5.9 (or 5.10- variation) crux section.

We chose the left variation as it looked cleaner and more appealing than the original 5.9 water streaked crack to the right. The Gams guide gives the left variation a rating of 5.10- as a “steep, thin hand crack,” but there is actually a variety of hand sizes on this steep, clean splitter with lots of good incuts and edges. It felt like 5.9, maybe 5.10a, and was undoubtedly the best part of the climb. Belay on a ledge directly above the steep splitter.  Excellent!

P3 – (40m 5.8) – Continue up the obvious system of cracks and weaknesses, eventually pulling through a few bulges at 5.8 or so. Belay on top. Another fun pitch!

Locate the descent rappel on a large tree, uphill and to the right (two ropes needed). Complete the rappel then navigate some loose, exposed, shitty downclimbing (or single rope rappel again for another obvious tree). Slog down the drainage back to your gear at the base of the wall. Extra suffer points are awarded if you decided to leave your approach shoes at the base.


This route starts in the same location as Dihedral of Horrors.  Follow the approach description for Ships Prow and rack up just to the left of an obvious trough weakness/ramp that moves up and left across the lower portion of the formation.


Standard rack with doubles of .5 to #2, (1) #3, microcams were helpful for P1 anchor in this description