Type: Ice, 600 ft (182 m), 3 pitches, Grade IV
FA: Ted Hammond & Chris Rowins, Feb 1986
Page Views: 866 total · 31/month
Shared By: Juanny Lopes on Mar 5, 2019
Admins: Jason Hayden, Luc-514, Kris Fiore

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The original rating in the guidebook rates Aurora as 4+, 5.8, A2, indicating that the first few pitches and the last are mixed, however in fat ice years such as the 2018-19 season, it comes in as a full ice route. We encountered a pretty wild overhanging curtain on pitch 2 which upped the ice grade a notch, but this section likely forms differently ever year. I've only climbed it in full ice conditions so will only be describing those here. If you've climbed it in the original, mixed conditions feel free to add to the descriptions!

Pitch 1: Start on one of two possible thin, low angle ice runnels on the left side of a large buttress. Aiming right, top these out on a snow field and follow that to a short, but steep curtain (WI4+) to another snowfield. Follow this snowfield all the way up and right to a good belay underneath a roof. 70m. This pitch can be split.
Pitch 2: Just down and left from the belay, step onto a steep curtain and climb it to the base of another wildly overhanging curtain that looms above. Place a good screw or two at the base then pull onto the crux curtain (WI5+) and persevere to more reasonable ground. Continue on steep ice for another 30-40m to a giant ledge below the final pillar. 60m.
Pitch 3: Climb one of the longest and most beautiful pillars at the lake (WI4) for a full 70m to it's top or continue to the trees. This pitch can be split.


Aurora is situated on the far right end of Mt. Pisgah's "Big Wall" area, the tall, less-featured wall at the left end of Pisgah, typically covered in long, thin drips and smears. Aurora is the first major ice flow just left of a large, forested gully in the middle of Mt's Pisgah's cliff band. From the typical roadside pullout for the Last Gent amphitheater, the top pillars of Aurora and it's sister routes, Starman and Orion, can be seen up and left.


A big ol' rack of screws. We didn't need rock gear but in thinner ice years, the first pitch will likely require it. 70m ropes recommended.

Screws or V threads for Anchors. Threads for descent. We didn't top the route completely out to the trees and instead rapped off the top of the final pillar. Even if you don't go to the trees, expect 3 long rappels with 70m ropes.