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Light Line is the prominent arete/buttress rising above the Engineer Pass pulloff parking area. When the sun is out, it's very easy to spot.
This route first started out as a free soloing exploration, but I ran out of time and had to go pick my son up from school. I returned shortly with Jeff Skolada and we climbed the buttress roping up for two pitches in the steeper middle section.
From the parking area, walk up the Engineer Pass road about 300' to the first drainage gully. Ascend this to just past the base of the buttress, maybe by about 100' to a staging area to begin you climb. If you're lazy and have 4WD, you can park at the second pullout on the Engineer Pass road and a shave a couple minutes off of your already short approach. You can leave a pack at the base as you'll be descending this way in most cases.
Look up the gully and towards a small buttress on the right side. This is where you will be descending.
In general, you'll be following the buttress to the top with minor wandering from side to side to avoid difficulties and looseness.
The first 400'-500' of climbing head up the buttress with occasional steep sections. This is the loosest part of the route, so take care, but the climbing is not difficult - maybe one or two spots of up to 5.5.
Once the wall steepens, it might be a good time to rope up if you haven't already. Expect about 300 feet of 5.5 and 5.6 climbing that is exposed. Be careful in choosing your route to avoid loose rock. If you're leading, expect it to be runout. Just before you crest the steep section is the routes technical crux. It's a rock-over move stepping over a small roof onto a slab.
Once you've reached a small ledge above the steep headwall, the difficulties ease and there is less loose rock to be found. Expect another 500' or so of to reach the top of the ridge. There's one spot in particular moving left from the right side of the ridge with trees, that you'll want to be careful on.
Once on the summit, take note of the descent. You'll be able to look over toward it. You'll be rapping of a tree at a low point to the top of a buttress, and then down a dihedral into the top of the gully you've hiked up.
Descend the summit ridge to the right, down a hill of dirt and into the drainage that forms the upper portion of the ascent gully. Look for faint trails through here. There's no need to go bushwhacking. Where you cross the creek/drainage, you should be on a deer trail. follow this across the drainage, and across the hillside. You'll want to drop down into an open area before cresting the next ridge. On one of the lower pine trees are anchor slings. Note, I've seen rap slings on a tree further down and right, don't use these. The first rap finish down the hillside over a little step onto the top of the buttress with a tree on it.
The second rap follows the dihedral toward the gully and look for anchors on the wall of the dihedral at the 100' mark. Watch your rope ends.
The third rap heads down the slap and onto a steeper wall. There's an inverted V-notch slightly (climbers) right of the fall line with the next anchor. If for some reason this area is icy (like a winter ascent for example) there's another anchor further right that's harder to get to.
The next rap lands you in the gully. Hike down the gully and you'll encounter two drop offs. You can either downclimb these, or rappel. The first step has bolted anchors (skier's) right, or you can downclimb (skiers)left. The second step you can rap off some old mining relics (skiers) right, or downclimb (skier's) right. The rest is just a walk down the talus in the gully to your car.
Note: it is possible to hike off to the right along the big ledge system past an old mine and then down to the Engineer Pass Road. I would recommend it as it's loose and rough going.
To be edited in.
One 60m rope. A light rack of gear will suffice. I don't recall using anything bigger than a #1 or #2 Camalot.
By Jeff Widen
Sep 28, 2011
Soloed this yesterday, really fun, easy alpine-type route. The loose rock is easy to avoid, and route description matched perfectly. One note on the descent - on the first rap, you want to angle pretty sharply skier's left to reach the tree on top of the buttress.
By Ben Gleason
From: Durango, CO
Aug 10, 2015
A 60m rope will get you about fifteen feet above the third rap anchor on 3rd or 4th class terrain, allowing you to skip "tree on top of the buttress" station, which seemed weird anyway.