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Four Rings of Saturn T 
Gothics-Armstrong Col Slide 
North Face 

Four Rings of Saturn 


Type:  Trad, Ice, 3 pitches, 235'
Original: WI4 [details]
FA: Matt Dobbs, Kevin MudRat MacKenzie
New Route: Yes
Page Views: 468
Submitted By: Kevin MudRat MacKenzie on Mar 9, 2015  with updates from Matt D

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Matt Dobbs leading the crux pitch (NEI 4) of "...


It’s hard to beat this backcountry setting that overlooks Gothics Rainbow Slide, ledges on Pyramid and the Ausable Valley. The approach is long but mellow, making for a full day out. Top it off with an ascent up Gothic Revival on the southern side of the East Face if you have the time.

p0: The first tier isn't always in (it wasn't in for the first ascent, as shown in the photo), but offers a short climb up vertical ice to a snow slope leading to the longest pitch of the route.

P1: The next tier (NEI 3+) begins with a short vertical section before laying back on a smear/ramp to a snow slope (NEI 2). The ramp had thin 1-2" ice when we climbed it, adding a little spice.

p2: The third tier (NEI 4) is the crux of the route and ascends a vertical curtain of ice for 50'.

p3: The final tier (NEI 4-) ascends another pitch of vertical ice for about 20 feet before reaching the woods.


The route sits on the southeast aspect of Gothics' East Face, climber's right of Rainbow slide. It ascends the dominant ice flow up the center of three or four tiers (lowest tier was not in for the first ascent) of vertical ice curtains and smears.

Approach (3-4 hours):
The Adirondack Rock guidebook suggests approaching the east face of Gothics by descending from the Pyramid-Gothics col. This makes for a very long approach in summer or winter. The approach described here is faster and much more direct in winter or summer.

Park at the St. Huberts Parking area (across the highway from the Roaring Brook Falls/Giant Mtn parking) located 7.5 Miles west on route 73 from the junction of I87 exit 30. Follow the Ausable Road by foot .7 miles to the Lake Road trailhead on Ausable Club land. Hike the Lake Road to lower Ausable lake (about 1 hour) then trek up the Alfred W. Weld Trail for another 1-1.5 hour.

After the last stream crossing before the Alfred W. Weld Trail begins its steep ascent of Pyramid's eastern ridge (about 3,200 feet in elevation at 44.11958292 north, -73.84615117 west = WGS84 UTM 18T 592323 4885802), leave the trail bushwacking through mellow terrain on a heading of about 345 magnetic. In good visibility, you'll spot the four tiers of the route to the north soon after cresting Pyramid's ridge. Make sure to stay well above Cascade Brook to avoid storm damage/nasty blow-down. After about 1/2 mile of straightforward bushwhacking, walk easily up the lowest slab of Gothics East Face to an elevation of 3,650 ( 44.12595021 north, -73.85081442 west = WGS84 UTM 18T 591940 4886504 ). Hike to climber's right and bushwhack 150 feet to an adjacent slide. Cross another thin band of trees to the base of Four Rings of Saturn ( 44.1279882 north, -73.8511374 west = WGS84 UTM 18T 591911 4886730 ). If the first tier is not in, the 2nd tier can be accessed by ascending up the climber's left-hand side and traversing right onto the slope below the second tier.

From the top of tier 4, the descent follows obvious weaknesses back to the base of the climb. Walk to climber's left through the woods to a small cliff and obvious gully that descents westward along a taller 75' cliff. At the base of this cliff, continue descending another 100' west, and snake back around south east to the southern side of the route. Follow approach back to Alfred W. Weld Trail.


Standard rack of ice screws.

Photos of Four Rings of Saturn Slideshow Add Photo
Rock Climbing Photo: Photo of key areas during the first ascent.
BETA PHOTO: Photo of key areas during the first ascent.
Rock Climbing Photo: Location of the cliff on Gothics East Face.
BETA PHOTO: Location of the cliff on Gothics East Face.
Rock Climbing Photo: Approach route
BETA PHOTO: Approach route

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