Fairest of All
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Mike leading pitch three.
The route was first attempted by early southern sierra slab masters Bob Kamps and Tom Higgins who completed the route up to the start of the traverse pitch in the late 1960’s. Higgins returned in 1973 with Mike Irwin. This route set a very high standard for face climbing style and difficulty in its day.
This route is really nice and one of the longest routes on Fairview. The route essentially follows the northwest nose of Fairview, climbing corners, flakes and cracks connected by runout face sections. An incredible full pitch face traverse right under the main roof allows escape to a bouldery crux face pitch and moderate climbing above to the U-shaped bowl and the summit.
All bolts on this route are excellent, recently replaced by the ASCA except the first one and one at the belay at the start of the traverse as of 2016.
P1: (5.10a R, 200’) Scramble up a large, low angle, left facing dihedral. Its dirty and has grass. As it steepens and splits, follow the thin lieback on the right straight up to a committing runout 5.10a on small knobs gains the first bolt. Climb right and up about 20 feet to another bolt, continue to an easy flake and the belay ledge on the left (bolt+pin+gear).
P2: (5.9+ R, 80’) Above the belay is a large roof that arches right, follow the crack just left, until it fades just left of and about 10 feet above the roof, good gear high, traverse left 5.9 to another crack, again with great pro. Traverse left again on small knobs (5.9+,R) to easier slab climbing and a belay ledge at a left facing corner (cams 0.5-2”). The Donny Reed guide shows a bolt on this pitch that was not there.
P3: (5.9, 220’) Follow the left facing corner above the belay to its end and face climb left (5.9) to a bolt. Face climb (5.9) above the bolt and continue face climbing straight up a seam/crack with 175’ of moderate 5.7/5.8 climbing. Belay just below the giant horizontal dike with a bolt and long sling on a flake. Done this way this pitch combines two of the original pitches.
P4: (5.9, 70’) Climb up to the dike and traverse right about 30 feet to a bolt. Slabby 5.9 steps lead past two more bolts and a large belay ledge below a giant right facing corner and the giant roof above (fixed nut and cams 0.5-2”). You could combine this and the next pitch but it’s a comfortable belay and rope drag is an issue.
P5: (5.9, 100’) Climb the beautiful right facing corner with some amazing liebacking, stemming, and underclinging and great gear as it arches right into a roof. Step down and right to a nice stance with an old belay bolt (old bolt, cams 0.5”-4”)
P6: (5.9+ R, 200’) On this traverse pitch, the leader and follower face multiple runnouts on short sections of 5.8/5.9 face and downclimbing, a couple times with some suspect gear behind loose flakes – an amazing, wild pitch of 5.9! From the belay with the old bolt, traverse right working up and right to gain the highest ledge below the roof (5.9), there is a great 3” cam here in the roof and a large flake to drop a sling on. From here, down climb right (5.8 face) to another series of ledges that are followed across, up and down short sections of 5.9, eventually reaching a bolt above a mantle onto a dike. A little past this, the roof ends in a giant dihedral, belay here at an amazing stance (cams 3”-4”).
P7: (5.8, 60’) Climb the large easy corner above until it is straight forward to exit left along another crack. Follow this and belay low (cams small to 1”) or at a belay ledge 10 feet higher with poor gear including a loose fixed pin.
P8: (5.10c, 220’) Hard face climbing above the ledge and a mantle gain the first bolt, harder crimps up and right reach the second bolt. Lieback up and left past a 5.8 move to reach meandering easy ledges, then an easy right facing dihedral to the U-shaped bowl ledge.
Move the belay – walk about 100 feet up and left on the ledge just past the start of easy scrambling.
P9 and P10 (5.8, 300’ total) Climb easy loose flakes (5.8) for about 70 feet to an easy left leaning ramp system. Continue to the summit 5.7.
Standard rack: nuts, cams doubles to 3”. A 4” cam is really handy for the belay at the end of the traverse pitch. Standard Fairview walk-off descent. You have to leave gear if you want to bail on this route.
Looking down the first pitch.
By George Bell
From: Boulder, CO
Oct 8, 2012
I've climbed this route but remember little about it, except for some scary runouts. Thanks for adding it!
FA: 1973 Tom Higgins, Bob Kamps, Mike Irwin
FA Report (AAJ): tomhiggins.net/index.php?optio...