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Magic in the Middle 

YDS: 5.9 French: 5c Ewbanks: 17 UIAA: VI ZA: 17 British: HVS 5a

Type:  Trad, Alpine, 7 pitches, 700', Grade III
Original:  YDS: 5.9 French: 5c Ewbanks: 17 UIAA: VI ZA: 17 British: HVS 5a [details]
FA: Ken Duncan, Dede Humphrey, 2016
New Route: Yes
Season: extended alpine
Page Views: 1,294
Submitted By: Ken Duncan on Jun 21, 2016

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BETA PHOTO: Magic in the Middle.

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Magic in the Middle has a moderate approach, good alpine rock, minimal lichen, high quality climbing at a consistent grade, big belay ledges, a spectacular summit with great views and a straightforward descent. What more could you ask for? Several of the pitches look intimidating from below, but gear placements show up. This is arguably better than the Petite and one of the best moderate routes in RMNP.

P1. 5.6. Start on a pedestal at the low point of the south face. Head up a black streak to the right move left then continue up and right on easy but runnout slab climbing heading for the left side of the long overhang. Belay on a large ledge at the base of a steep face, 115 feet.

P2. 5.9. Climb the face and arete up to the level of the roof, then step right into the base of the hanging, left-facing dihedral. Climb the dihedral, step right onto the face then head up a right-facing dihedral and face to a large ledge below a steep face with imposing overhangs. Consider carrying prussiks on this pitch, as a fall from the dihedral may leave you hanging in space, 115 feet.

P3. 5.8+. Head up and slightly left then slightly right to a band of smooth white granite. Traverse up and right across the smooth face to a sloping belay below another obvious, left-facing, hanging dihedral, 115 feet.

P4. 5.9-. Climb the dihedral past a seemingly solid detached block, step right onto the arete, and head up to another big ledge, 50 feet.

P5. Continue on easy climbing up and left to the base of a steep red wall, 115 feet.

P6. 5.9. Head up the center of the steep wall aiming for a small, right-facing dihedral capped with a roof. Turn the roof (crux), then climb easily to a large ledge at the base of the offwidth that is the final pitch of the South Face route, 90 feet.

P7. 5.8+. Diagonal up and right, climbing the thin crack variation to the final pitch of the South Face route, 50 feet.


Climb the center of the south face of Zowie starting at the low point of the face (left of the "flatiron") and between two chimney systems.


Cams from small TCUs to #3 with doubles from 0.5 to 2, a full set of nuts including a few RP size and alpine runners. Tricams were very helpful. A single 60m rope will get you up and down.

Photos of Magic in the Middle Slideshow Add Photo
Rock Climbing Photo: Zowie.
Rock Climbing Photo: View from the summit.
View from the summit.
Rock Climbing Photo: Dede over the P6 crux roof.
Dede over the P6 crux roof.
Rock Climbing Photo: Dede on the P3 traverse.
Dede on the P3 traverse.

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