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Exfoliation Dome & Proxima Wall
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Ancient Melodies 

YDS: 5.11- French: 6c Ewbanks: 22 UIAA: VIII+ ZA: 22 British: E3 5c

Type:  Trad, 10 pitches, 1100', Grade III
Original:  YDS: 5.11- French: 6c Ewbanks: 22 UIAA: VIII+ ZA: 22 British: E3 5c [details]
FA: D. Coltrane, M. Hanna
New Route: Yes
Season: Spring, Summer, Fall
Page Views: 2,545
Submitted By: Daniel Coltrane on Aug 30, 2012

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Josh finishing up pitch 9 after the crux.


Ancient Melodies heads up the center of Proxima wall connecting prominent fetures between improbable sections of steep slab that have just enough features to keep you going. It also has three approach pitches added June 2014, beta listed in the comments section below.

Pitch 1 35m 5.9+ 8 bolts. Climb straight up along ribs to a small overlap. Step up over the lap then cruise up and left to the chains.

Pitch 2 35m 5.8 5 bolts, gear. Continue up through some small parallel cracks then 10-15 m of 5.8 slab to the chains.

Pitch 3 50m 5.10+ 13 bolts. This is where the fun starts. Climb about 45m of small face holds, slab, and mantles to where the wall begins to steepen. From here a 4 bolt sequence on thin side pulls and face holds with no feet will get you to the chains at a large arching ledge. Fun last move to the ledge.

Pitch 4 40m 5.10 11 bolts, gear. "Boss Hogg Pitch"
This stellar pitch follows a long right facing corner that has occasional gear placements and thoughful climbing. Another pitch with a fun crux right before the chains. Don't get too pumped on this long sustained pitch.

Pitch 5 30m 5.10+ 12 bolts, gear. Head up and right through an invisible foot traverse to gain the left facing corner. Once here experience the desperate smearing and miniscule finger locks through the corner. Good foot work will be the key on this pitch.

Pitch 6 25m 5.11-(5.10 A0) 10 bolts, gear. The crux on this pitch comes right off the belay and doesn't let up for 10-15 feet until the angle of the wall decreases. Cruise up very thin holds along a slippery dike, the second move can be skipped by french freeing the bolts, but will only make the pitch slightly easier.

Pitch 7 25m 5.8 2 bolts, gear. The final pitch is a short mungy adventure to the top of the wall. Cimb up and right past 2 bolts to gain a large left facing corner that ends at the top of the ridge. A little dirty per Darrington top out pitch standards.


Proxima wall is situated to the climbers right of Exfoliation dome, just above and right of the West slabs. Approach the climb from the Granite Sidewalk up to the large ledge just below the west slabs. From here head up and right through a prominent gully to the base of the climb marked by a metolious rap anchor. Short sections of 4th class scrambling involved. Rappel the route with 2 60m ropes, skip the anchors at the top of pitch 5. One can also continue to rappel the west slabs for three more raps to the top of the sidewalk.


Medium rack to 3-inches

Photos of Ancient Melodies Slideshow Add Photo
Rock Climbing Photo: Brandon cruising the first crux on pitch 6
Brandon cruising the first crux on pitch 6
Rock Climbing Photo: Brandon cruising pitch 8.
Brandon cruising pitch 8.
Rock Climbing Photo: Crux section of the 6th pitch just after the chain...
Crux section of the 6th pitch just after the chain...
Rock Climbing Photo: Brandon on Pitch 3
Brandon on Pitch 3
Rock Climbing Photo:  Left facing Dihedral on the 5th pitch.
Left facing Dihedral on the 5th pitch.
Rock Climbing Photo: D. Coltrane working the firxt crux section almost ...
D. Coltrane working the firxt crux section almost ...
Rock Climbing Photo: Looking up from the base of the route
BETA PHOTO: Looking up from the base of the route
Rock Climbing Photo: TOPO
Rock Climbing Photo: Proxima Wall and West Slabs area
BETA PHOTO: Proxima Wall and West Slabs area

Comments on Ancient Melodies Add Comment
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By Daniel Coltrane
From: Seattle, WA
Jun 25, 2014

Just finished three more pitches that avoid the 4th class gully start and go directly up the west slabs.
Pitch 1- From the ledge at the bottom of the west slabs head straight up to a bolt about thirty feet off the ground and continue up easy slabs for 55m. low 5th. 3 bolts and gear.
Pitch 2- Continue straight up through a right facing corner and some easy slabs with big ledges for about 55m to a ledge. 5.6 two bolts and gear
Pitch 3- head right and up across clean slabs until you gain a long low angle left facing corner that is a sweet cruiser lay back. At its end head up and right past a pin and cross a water streak till you come over a rib on the right and gain two large metolius rap rings. 50m 5.7 5 bolts.
From here a quick scramble across a gully to the original start gets you going on the money pitches. This is also the prime way to get back down.
Enjoy this now 10 pitch gem!
By rohanbk
From: Seattle, WA
May 3, 2015

I climbed this route yesterday and I'm still buzzing from how amazing it was. The bolting was nothing short of phenomenal; in that every pitch was incredibly well protected, and every single clipping stance was completely relaxed.

My partner and I agreed that the pitch prior to the 'Boss Hogg' pitch (#3) was the money pitch. Super tech, and super fun.

The little bulge on the 'Boss Hogg' pitch has some loose rock near the undercling located 30ft above the belay, so be very wary of what you stand on or grab.

The 11- crux pitch was nonsensically hard once you reach the region near the 2nd/3rd bolt, and I ended up just pulling on gear to get through it. Bring your levitation skills if you plan on freeing it.

As far as gear goes, I could probably advocate leaving stoppers behind and bringing a single set of cams from fingers to fists (#0.3 - 3), and a mix of alpine draws and sport draws.

Overall, 4 stars, a fun day of climbing, and an experience so memorable that I'm actually stoked about returning to Darrington to reclimb this route in... the future!
By Nate Redon
From: Seattle, WA
May 14, 2016
rating: 5.11- 6c 22 VIII+ 22 E3 5c

We just climbed this route yesterday, it was sweet!

As previously noted, the "Boss Hogg" pitch has a lot of looseness. Watch out for bad rock under the first undercling 30ft up from the belay and some flakes above. The final lieback has large bits of moving rock in it and signs of recent rockfall, I'd recommend staying as far to the left and out of it as possible (use face holds).

You may want to bring a wrench for loose hangers, also, watch out for off-route bolts that pull you to the right on P4, stay left.

Everything else was great, be ready for some puzzling moves on the crux pitch. We figured it out after a couple falls.

We brought a single rack from 0.2 - 3 and would have been fine without the 3 but YMMV

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