Type: Trad, Alpine, 2700 ft (818 m), Grade II
FA: unknown
Page Views: 2,805 total · 49/month
Shared By: Zach Wahrer on Aug 18, 2019
Admins: GRK, Zach Wahrer

You & This Route

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Description Suggest change

The Beehive Traverse is an awesome ridge climb that ticks off the best summits along the north end of Beehive Basin. Easily doable in less than 6 hours, this climb features tons of cool scrambling and climbing along the exposed ridge line. If you like doing some skywalking, this is the route for you!

While this route isn't sustained technically, there is quite a bit of 4th class  as well as route finding challenges to contend with. Thankfully, the approach is short (at least for an alpine climb) and you can often tailor the difficulty to your preference.

From the Beehive Trailhead, hike to the lake. From here, continue on the trail up past the Prow. Once you pass it on your right, begin contouring up to the far northeast end of the basin to gain the ridge.

Before I list specific beta, but this route is definitely doable onsight, and is worthwhile as such if you have the skills to complete it that way. If not, feel free to keep reading!

Once you gain the ridge at the saddle above and north of the Prow, you can begin climbing whatever gendarmes look fun. While not strictly necessary, they do offer some fun scrambling and are a nice warm up for your head for what's coming next. Stay as true to the ridge as you like.

The first real difficulty comes after summiting Honeycomb Peak (the small sub peak to the east of Beehive). Staying on the ridge line proper is extremely exposed and difficult. Unless you want to rig a rappel, head back the way you came for a short distance, then drop down the ridge line to the north. This down climbing is exposed and on licheny rock, but it is solid. You could probably go back farther and find easier climbing, if you prefer.

After you pass the gully between Honeycomb and Beehive, you can regain the ridge and continue weaving your way through and over gendarmes. This section is really fun and offers fantastic exposure and views.

Eventually, the ridge gets difficult, so if you want to keep the grade reasonable, drop down onto Beehive's north face. More scrambling will bring you to the final crux: a 50' slab with a seam. There are other options, but this one is the least sustained and/or exposed and has good rock quality. Make a few harder moves close to "ground," before getting into the no fall zone. You've been practicing your slab bouldering, yeah?

From the top of the slab, the summit is a short hike away just to the southeast. Enjoy the panoramic views!

For the next part of the traverse, follow the standard Beehive descent. When you get to the top of the 4th of July Couloir, however, continue on the ridge line. As with the start of the traverse, you can climb whatever gendarmes look appealing. Eventually, the ridge gets choked with trees, and it's time to drop back into the basin.

It would be very doable to complete the traverse the opposite direction as well, although I've only ever done it east to west.

Just for a reference, it is almost 9 miles round trip, with over 3000 feet of gain.

Location Suggest change

The northern end of Beehive Basin.

Protection Suggest change

Your climbing skill. You could bring a rope and rack, but good route finding and judgement will be a lot better to protect you on a route like this. You don't want to pitch any of this out, and I don't think you'll get gear on the crux sections anyway. You may want an ice axe and crampons early season.