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Center Route 

YDS: 5.6 French: 4c Ewbanks: 14 UIAA: V ZA: 12 British: S 4b

Type:  Trad, Alpine, 3 pitches, Grade II
Original:  YDS: 5.6 French: 4c Ewbanks: 14 UIAA: V ZA: 12 British: S 4b [details]
FA: Unknown
Page Views: 4,606
Submitted By: Julian Smith on Jul 14, 2002

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Climbing the wide crack near the top of the route....

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This route ascends the middle of the 1st buttress of Hallett Peak. It is characterized as a right-facing dihedral system that winds its way up three pitches through the headwall of the 1st Buttress. From a distance, the dihedral system is clearly visible just to the left of a very large roof. Though primarily a scramble over moderate terrain, the 1st two technical pitches are good, and the position of the last pitch is spectacular featuring an off-width crack that has great exposure.

There are numerous starts to this climb and others to the left of it on the 1st Buttress. Most of the starts can be referenced from the base of Hallet Chimney. Easy ramps lead up and to the left. As the ledges are climbed, weaknesses will appear, leading upward to the right, into the bowels of the face. Chose your path. The goal is to reach a series of ledges in the middle section of the face described as the white bands. Lower angled slabs with cracks and the occasional shallow corner mostly characterize the climbing found on the initial pitches. Don't worry about being off-route as there are multiple ways to go. The best start would be to do the initial pitches of the Great Dihedral. Eventually scramble up to the highest of the ledges in the white bands, about 100 feet left of Hallett Chimney.

P1. From the ledge, locate a short mungy looking spot that will allow little resistance for getting into a left facing dihedral above. This should shortly end and you should climb up a right facing dihedral to gain a small ledge at the base of a much larger right facing dihedral. 5.4.

P2. Chimney up the very wide, right facing dihedral above to gain the top of a little pillar. 5.5.

P3. Face climb to the base of a shallow, right-facing dihedral system. Span from right to left across the wide crack and climb on the face of the outside edge of the dihedral. The exposure here is very nice. Scramble over easy ground to the top of the buttress. 5.6.

For a descent, it is best to use the East Ridge. You are very close to it when you top out on this route. Head left or downhill, following the cliff top. Look for cairns. The cairns lead to a set of chain anchors. One 100 foot rappel will lead to ground that is safe to scramble down. Follow cairns down towards the low spot in the ridge. Look for a very faint path leading off to the left. There should be cairns marking the way. At all costs avoid getting into the obvious snow or scree gully that is in front of you. Eventually a small col will be encountered where the option exists for easily dropping into the ugly snow or scree gully mentioned before, or turning to the left and having a delightful trot down ledge systems that make up the lower section of the 1st Buttress. Cairns mark most of the way and after a while it becomes obvious which way to go. This descent brings you back out at the base of Hallett Chimney.


Take along a standard RMNP rack. Don't worry about the RPs, but you might feel comfortable taking along a #4 Camalot.

Photos of Center Route Slideshow Add Photo
Rock Climbing Photo: Upper half of the 1st Buttress.
BETA PHOTO: Upper half of the 1st Buttress.
Rock Climbing Photo: View straight down the spectacular final pitch fro...
View straight down the spectacular final pitch fro...
Rock Climbing Photo: This is one pitch from the top.
This is one pitch from the top.

Comments on Center Route Add Comment
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By George Bell
From: Boulder, CO
Aug 25, 2002

We climbed the upper part of this route yesterday after starting with the Great Dihedral. The last two leads on this climb seemed more serious than any of the Great Dihedral pitches, although they may be technically easier. The route here follows a crack/dihedral that is 4-6" wide for long sections, and having only a #3.5 Camalot we endured some "character building" runouts of 30' or more. I'm not sure even a #4 Camalot would help much as the crack seemed even wider than this. Often in these sections we found it better to climb the arete just left of this crack/dihedral. This climb is nice but not quite as clean as the Great Dihedral.

Heads up, some idiot took a crap right on the final belay of this climb. You can walk off from here, but this bozo chose to stink up this belay for future parties.
By Jim Berg
Jul 11, 2005
rating: 5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b

A # 4 Camalot is not big enough for the crack during the crux section on the last pitch but did come in handy. Managed to back clean it a few times after finding nut placements in the chock stones. Ended up carrying it all the way to the belay. Not sure a # 5 would do any better. A big bro might be the ticket. We climb the crack until obvious holds out on the arête beckoned. Fun & super exposed. Just not much gear.
By Billy Danger
From: Asheville, NC
Sep 6, 2005
rating: 5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b

When I did this route on 9/4/05 the first part of the 3rd pitch was covered in moss, and a hold broke off while my partner was moving around to the right of the mung. The off-width section was completely run out for about 30 feet, but the climbing was easy and enjoyable. Good route, but it was a little dirty.
By kzoo
From: michigan
Jul 13, 2008

Just climbed this route on the 4th of July, 2008. The second pitch is totally runout chimney(5.5 to 5.6)- I slung two choke stones for the entire 110-120ft pitch. I did bring the number five BD along thinking it would protect the runout - nope. Have to bring the number 6 BD if you don't like runouts. The third pitch could be a little unnerving for some individuals. Vegetation for a stretch of 20 ft or so - need a number six to avoid a runout on the final offwidth/chimney section. Pick another route up to the summit if you enjoy climbing on safe terrain or inexperienced with alpine environment!

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