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Deception 

M5

   
Type:  Trad, Mixed, Alpine, 9 pitches, 1575', Grade III
Original: M5 Mod. Snow [details]
FA: Preston Rhea & Ryan Evans - 1.12.14
New Route: Yes
Season: Winter & Spring
Page Views: 774
Submitted By: Preston Rhea on Jan 13, 2014

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A view showing Deception in relation to the north ...

Description 

Deception features two pitches of technical drytooling up a steep rock band, followed by typical easy Morrison snow gullies and ribs of rock into a deep chasm with a unique chockstone, all of which finally tops out on the Northwest Ridge. Despite the first two pitches, the climbing is very moderate and the chockstone really defines the upper pitches of the route. This line is probably the first to come into condition on the mountain and is very easy to spot early season. It is a great route for those itching to get their scratch on after the first couple big snowfalls.

Pitch 1 - This is the crux pitch of the route and also the reason for the route's name. Don't be fooled by appearances, this pitch and the next pack more of a punch than it would seem from below. A short easy section of snow over blocky rock leads to a steep rock face. Follow the weaknesses straight up over the grey rock towards an intrusion of red rock and a small snow patch and ledge. On March 16th of 2016, this pitch and the next were coated in a good amount of water ice. This seems to be a rare formation and should not be counted on. 70m

Pitch 2 - Climb straight up off the ledge via a crack and chimney. Almost immediately there is the option of continuing straight up in the red rock or traversing left around a grey arete on the grey rock. Go left staying on the grey rock and aiming for what looks like a blocky ramp system. Awkward full-value climbing up the ramp leads to an easy snow couloir and the belay. 65m

Pitch 3 - Follow the snow couloir up off the belay almost to where it ends. Traverse left over red rock into another snow couloir that is quite narrow. Follow this up over one easy rock step to a rope-stretching belay at the base of a rock rib with a couloir on the left and right. 70m

Pitch 4 - Climb up the rock rib or couloir on left or right depending on snow conditions and easiness of the rib. If comfortable, the party should simul-climb from the start of this pitch up to the start of pitch 7 or so. ~70m

Pitch 5 - Climb up more of the rib and couloir on the left, aiming all the while for a deep cleft in the rock above on the left. ~70m

Pitch 6 - Climb up into the narrow couloir in the deep cleft. A couple large chockstones preceded by a short rock step will be encountered. Belay below the second chockstone in a large snow cave. ~70m

Pitch 7 - Climb out of the cave passing the large chockstone on climber's right. Chimney through a hole behind the chockstone and then out onto the face. A short pitch here will reduce rope drag. 15m

Pitch 8 - Continue up the couloir passing rock sections however easiest. Here is another good pitch to start simul-climbing up to the top. ~70m

Pitch 9 - Continue up the couloir passing more rock sections however easiest to where the route ends on the Northwest Ridge. ~50m

From here follow the Northwest Ridge to the summit or to the ground. If continuing on to the summit, there is still around 1500' of 3rd class climbing to go.

Location 

The route starts on the northwestern shoulder of Mount Morrison, in the back corner between the north buttress of Morrison and the sub-peak of Torre De Mierda. The start of the route is easily identifiable by a large grey "S" on its side (rotated 90° counter clockwise) surrounded by red rock. Start on the left side of the "S". Up close it will look more like a large "U".

The route ends on the Northwest Ridge of Mount Morrison. To descend, climb the ridge to the summit and descend via the East Face. Another option is to descend the Northwest Ridge and skip the summit. Head down loose 3rd class terrain until a large open couloir to skier's right (north) which should be taken to get off the ridge. This is very loose 2nd class talus or snow.

Protection 

The rack should consist of double in cams from .3-#2, a single #3, and a good selection of pins (knifeblades, arrows, and beaks). Small amounts of ice were encountered on the first ascent; in extremely good years, a couple stubby ice screws may be useful. Although not necessary, a screamer or two may come in handy as not all the placements are fantastic.


Photos of Deception Slideshow Add Photo
Rock Climbing Photo: Deception route topo.
BETA PHOTO: Deception route topo.
Rock Climbing Photo: Deception.
BETA PHOTO: Deception.

Comments on Deception Add Comment
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By revans90
May 30, 2015

the first pitch was one of the most impressive and inspiring leads iv belayed. Thin pro( beaks and rp's) on thin slab, very bold lead.
By Preston Rhea
From: Mammoth Lakes
Mar 17, 2016

Rock Climbing Photo: Our ski descent.
Our ski descent.


A slight variation just looker's right of Deception has now been skied on 3.16.16. The line drops into the wider couloir right of the finishing chute on Deception and more or less stays just right from there finishing by rapping down the first two pitches of Deception.

For anyone looking at skiing the line, count on an average pitch right around 45 degrees. Bring a good selection of nuts, some pins, slings, and two 60m ropes for the descent.

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