Type: Trad, Alpine, 115 ft (35 m), 2 pitches, Grade III
FA: R. Rossiter, P. Johns, 2008
Page Views: 833 total · 12/month
Shared By: Tony B on Jul 14, 2018
Admins: Leo Paik, John McNamee, Frances Fierst, Monty, Monomaniac, Tyler KC

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Description Suggest change

This route is a variation to P2 of Sidewinder and is best linked into P3, whereupon is takes on a unique character. The protection on P1 is sufficiently bad to merit mention here, and although perhaps with slightly different gear I might have had more or something better, there is certainly 5.10 climbing in a no-fall zone at the beginning of the pitch. The seldom-traveled line was a bit scaly underfoot, and that added a bit to the excitement.

We did clean it up a bit and brush holds and scrape off some small chips, but it is best to consider this something well beyond an "entry level" alpine route, regardless. The proper P2 of Sidewinder is similar but sports 3 bolts along its length to supplement natural gear placements and might be a less serious undertaking.

Still, the climbing is good, unique, and fun, and there are essentially 2 pitches that should be linked as one 115' pitch to give the best climb. While the unique climbing is short (one pitch, thus), the overall route if linked to Ripsaw/Sidewinder and on to the summit is 1.08 miles long by GPS.


Access: (4th Class) start from Solitude Lake by approaching on a 50' slab  as for Ripsaw. After 50', cut sharply left onto a ledge, and belay if you roped up at all. Unrope and scramble DOWN and left about 80' to a healthy ledge with grass and a large dead conifer next to a smaller live one. The 3x bolts of Sidewinder loom just overhead, and the start of the pitch is defined by a large pillar of rock trapped from above and below, leaning up and right. Stop and belay here just below the pillar and a few meters to the right of the large, standing, dead pine.

P1. 5.7, 65'. Climb as for Sidewinder. Climb up and right on the leaning pillar. Wide gear could go behind it if you brought a 4" cam, but really, if you are going to climb a runout 5.10  one pitch later, you're presumably OK forgoing that. Save a  #2/#3 Camalot for the belay.

P2/P3. 5.10, R, 115'  The P2 is independent and avoids the big left traverse to get to Sidewinder. Instead, you head directly up some flakes and flares that rise up and left, and face left. These rise about 50' to meet the bottom end of a left-facing, left-leaning overhanging corner. Climb up and into that corner (good gear now available), and proceed to its end on a few jams between flares and liebacks. You will reach a ledge that is listed as the original belay, which would kind of break up an otherwise good pitch. Continue up 8' into a second, similar corner, and climb that to the top for several more meters. After 35 meters total, you will arrive on a ledge between 2 flakes with a spike/horn of rock that can be slung with webbing but should be backed up with gear. If you lean back and look 15 meters out to the right to the arete, you will see the rap station as for Ripsaw.

P4. 5.8, 110'. Above lies the next pitch of Sidewinder, which can be climbed to reach the top of the buttress and to access Ripsaw. This pitch is mostly 5.7 with a move or two at perhaps 5.8. It both climbs and protects better than it appears. Go up and over the top to a belay as for Ripsaw, and then continue with that route.

P5/6, etc...  5.7 or easier, 1 mile of ridgeline. Continue up a series of towers and ridges to the summit of Arrowhead Peak. This is 1.08 miles total (by GPS) from the base of the route. There is one rap along the way which we replaced, and we had noted that almost all webbing/cord had been critter-shredded and sunbleached. Bring cord to refurbish or replace anchors in case this has happened again prior to your climb.

Choose a descent according to your preference. We were able to sniff out a walk/scramble off down to Solitude Lake and found a single rap station right where it got steep by a cairn, as described in the book.

Location Suggest change

Start as per Ripsaw or as per Sidewinder. Rossiter's latest book has reasonably good topos and info.

Protection Suggest change

A set of nuts including BD #4-7 and a few larger ones, and a set of cams from tiny to 3", with doubles at 0.3" and up to 2" or larger.