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Belly of the Beast 

WI5+ M6-7 C1 X

   
Type:  Trad, Aid, Mixed, Ice, 6 pitches, 750', Grade IV
Original: WI5+ M6-7 C1 Steep Snow X [details]
FA: Gary Newmeyer and Nik Mirhashemi, 1/8/15
New Route: Yes
Page Views: 770
Submitted By: Nik Mirhashemi on Jan 15, 2015

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BETA PHOTO: Pitch 2, BotB.

Description 

This new route is the culmination of three separate attempts in mid-December 2014 and early January 2015. The climb takes a line up the major chimney system right of the Ames Ice Hose, passing through several chockstones and a few rock bands before joining up with an ice flow that can be seen from the highway up and right of the Hose. Check avy conditions before tackling this beast as it can become a major garbage chute, and even in good conditions you will experience periodic spindrift.

P1. Do a short pitch through an M4 chockstone followed by a slog through deep snow until you find yourself looking up at the first major chockstone. This pitch can be soloed if the chockstone is mostly buried. Belay off a #0.5 Camalot on the left wall (100 feet).

P2. Chimney up below chockstone placing gear where you can (a #4 comes in handy). Pull first roof to stance in/below squeeze chimney where you can place a #1. Squeeze and stem past chockstone, and then tunnel through a sizeable snow wall/mushroom to alcove below next set of chockstones. Belay off slung pinch (M6+, 100 feet).

P3. Strenuous chimneying brings you below the next chockstones where you can get your first piece. The first ascent party used two points of aid here before pulling the roof utilizing very wild stemming. Tunnel through another very large snow mushroom to yet another chockstone. Easy M4 stemming gets you past this one and into a deep canyon. Slog through steep snow until you are halfway up the canyon where you can place a KB in the left wall for a belay or continue up higher and belay off screws, though you’ll be exposed to rock and icefall from the next pitch (M6+ C1, 150 feet).

P4. Climb steep, thin ice into an ice choked offwidth flare (WI5+). Use your best OW technique to fire the exit onto the steep snow above (M6/7R). Continue more or less straight up through a few rock bands (M5+ X) separated by exposed steep snow for another 100+ feet, and then through a short section of frozen turf. Belay off a small tree just left and down from the obvious ice flow above. It may be better to break this pitch up after exiting the OW/flare section (if you brought a drill and bolt kit) as you must simul-climb the last 50+ feet to reach the tree (250+ feet).

P5. Above the belay, more frozen turf leads to a rightward traverse on moss covered slabs to reach the main ice flow. About 100 feet of WI4 brings you to a ledge below the final rock band. Belay off a #0.75 and yellow C3 (M5/6 R/X, WI4, 150 feet).

P6. From the belay, step up and right through frozen turf and some poor rock. Battle past a pine tree to the snow and trees above and posthole up and left until the angle eases. Belay off a tree (M4, 100 feet).

Descent: the easiest way down is to work your way down and climber’s left to the top of the ice hose, and then follow those raps back to the base of the wall. In the event that you can’t find the top of the hose or you reach the top after dark (which is likely), the safest options is to traverse climber’s left until you can bypass the entire Ames Wall and drop back down to the trail. Depending on snow conditions, this can take 2 hours or more, but it requires no downclimbing or rappelling.

Location 

Do the same approach as for the Hose. This route starts in a chimney system just right of the Hose. The first pitch starts below a short, mixed section that may be partially snowed in.

Protection 

Double ropes, 6-8 screws including a couple stubbies, a set of nuts, a set of cams from red C3 to #4 Camalot, a few pins including angles and KBs, slings and QDs, an optional but HIGHLY recommended bolt kit, and a power drill. Most belays are one piece anchors, and pitch 4 is especially runout, so a drill might come in handy.


Photos of Belly of the Beast Slideshow Add Photo
Rock Climbing Photo: Overview of the route as seen from the highway.
BETA PHOTO: Overview of the route as seen from the highway.
Rock Climbing Photo: Pitch 4, BotB.
BETA PHOTO: Pitch 4, BotB.
Rock Climbing Photo: Looking down at the rock bands on pitch 4.
BETA PHOTO: Looking down at the rock bands on pitch 4.
Rock Climbing Photo: Pondering a way up on our first attempt at pitch 3...
Pondering a way up on our first attempt at pitch 3...
Rock Climbing Photo: Pulling the roof on pitch 2.  Photo credit: Gary N...
Pulling the roof on pitch 2. Photo credit: Gary N...

Comments on Belly of the Beast Add Comment
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By Gary N
From: Durango, CO
Dec 10, 2015
rating: C1 WI5+ M6-7 Steep Snow X

"In the event that you can’'t find the top of the hose or you reach the top after dark (which is likely)..."

Yeah...so bring yer friggen' headlamp, so you don't have to climb the last pitch and do the entire descent with an iPhone shoved in-between your helmet and head with the flashlight on....

Good times. Heard there was a repeat attempt on it, would love to hear how it went and if there are plans to go back for another round.

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