Avg: 2.5 from 2 votes
|Type:||Trad, Alpine, 1200 ft (364 m), 8 pitches, Grade III|
|FA:||Derek Field, Steven Stosky, and Dave Spies (July 2018)|
|Page Views:||1,647 total · 28/month|
|Shared By:||Derek Field on Oct 24, 2018|
|Admins:||Chris Owen, Lurk Er, Mike Morley, Adam Stackhouse, Salamanizer Ski, Justin Johnsen, Vicki Schwantes|
This route ascends the center of the very prominent pillar on the far right (north) side of the large, dissected east face of Mount Humphreys. Rowell originally described this aspect as the Southeast Face (in his 1975 AAJ report of the South Pillar); however, we feel it is more of an east face. Hop on Google Earth and judge for yourself.
Our intention was to aim for a highly conspicuous string of splitter cracks poised high on the face. The lower half's "mixed bag" of rock quality gradually gave way to increasingly solid stone, and the splitters were indeed a worthy reward. Even though it's not a good introductory Sierra route, seasoned veterans may enjoy it. Pitches 4-6 are excellent, though sadly the same can't be said for the other pitches in terms of pure climbing quality. The final pitch is very spooky and perhaps an alternate escape might be sought at some point on the 7th pitch. The route tops out on the upper part of the East Arête. On the FA, we continued up to Married Men's Point - a fitting conclusion considering I got married six days later.
Pitch 1 (5.8, 180 feet): Scramble over low-angle kitty-litter ledges up to and through a black roof with twin hand cracks running through it. There is a wide section before the big roof that goes at 5.5 R without a big (6-8") cam - not a huge deal. Belay on the sandy ledge a short ways above the black roof.
Pitch 2 (5.7+, 150 feet): Ride the right-leaning ramp to an even bigger ledge. Keep plugging up the loose crack, surmounting a gross kitty-litter bulge (heads up!) into a sea of easy splitter cracks on a clean slab. Aiming for a prominent "hanging" orange pillar (right-facing corner above roof) at the top of the slab, cruise all the way up to the major ledge. Make a belay just atop the hanging orange pillar.
Pitch 3 (5.6, 80 feet): Head up and left over the first featured rock band to a large ledge. Walk 50 feet left and belay at the base of the orange headwall. Align your belay beneath a trio of aesthetic splitters on the smooth face ~100 feet above. They are just left of a long orange roof. You probably noticed the Splitter Trio from the ground.
Pitch 4 (5.7, 100 feet): Climb your choice of steep(er) parallel cracks on the bulletproof orange face to a stance at a black horizontal dike below the Splitter Trio.
Note: There is a variation to pitches 3-4 that goes at the same grade. See the phototopo if interested.
Pitch 5 (5.8, 150 feet): The Splitter Trio. The crux might be simply deciding between the delicious spread! There are three excellent cracks on the face and another fine option in the obvious left-facing corner just right of the Trio. You decide! Any way, you can't go wrong. Belay on the ledge above the Trio for wicked photo ops of your followers.
Pitch 6 (5.8, 200 feet): Yes, this is the reason you endured all that kitty litter, to get here. Climb over the featured orange band (could do the orange band as a mini-pitch if desired) and enter the Splitter From Heaven. Tight/perfect hands up a flawless smooth pillar. Belay on a ledge at the top of the SFH, just beneath a short right-facing layback corner.
Pitch 7 (5.8, 150 feet): Bust the short but burly layback into easier terrain, moving into progressively more rotten rock. (Look for an escape out right somewhere, perhaps?) Belay at a small notch which offers gear options that are almost not laughable.
Pitch 8 (5.6 R, 150 feet): Say a quick prayer and start inching up the super grainy arête, charging desperately past decomposing hoodoos to the top of Oatmeal Tower, which is also the top of the wall. Yikes.
The top of the route deposits you directly on the East Arête, giving you the option of a classic 5.4 ridge scramble to the summit (recommended!) or an easy descent down the nearest gully (the gully on the right side of the east face - aka the standard EA descent). Either way, make sure you check out the info for the East Arête route so you know where the cruxes and/or rappels are.