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McCarthy's North Face 

YDS: 5.11a French: 6c Ewbanks: 22 UIAA: VII+ ZA: 22 British: E3 5c

Type:  Trad, 2 pitches, 300', Grade III
Original:  YDS: 5.11a French: 6c Ewbanks: 22 UIAA: VII+ ZA: 22 British: E3 5c [details]
FA: FFA: Dennis Horning, Frank Sanders '78
Page Views: 6,253
Submitted By: Mark M. on Aug 12, 2001

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Start of the thinness.

June Voluntary Climbing Closure and Seasonal Raptor Closure MORE INFO >>>


This is one of the all time classic routes on the tower. Find it by heading up the North Face/ NW corner approach. When you get to the base of the tower look to your right for a large left facing corner that starts low angle and gets steeper and has a lardge roof aboiut 200 feet up. This is a few cracks to the right of the Everlasting column.

P1. Head up the low angle rock in the corner and belay from mostly fixed gear on a sloping ledge directly underneath the roof. This pitch is 5.8 and is long (~200 ft). Position your belayer as high as possible and be prepared for a bit of simul-climbing. You could rap with 2 ropes from here, but then you'd miss the real fun.

P2. Head out the right side of the roof in a finger crack with marginal feet and small stoppers for gear. Once you get past the roof follow the corner straight up with a mixed bag of thin crack, lieback, and face techniques until you hit the anchors. Make sure to look around and take in your position as it is truly spectacular. This pitch is shorter than the first, but I can't remember specifics because the climbing was so awesome.

2 double rope raps will put you back on the ground. It is possible to contiue up from here, but I haven't done it. Sorry.


Mostly small gear, lots of stoppers and small cams. You shouldn't need anything bigger than a #1 camalot for the climbing, but you might need a #2 to back up the first belay. 2 ropes to rap after the 2nd pitch.

Photos of McCarthy's North Face Slideshow Add Photo
Rock Climbing Photo: A creative rest by Mike on pitch 2.
A creative rest by Mike on pitch 2.
Rock Climbing Photo: Mike following second pitch.
Mike following second pitch.
Rock Climbing Photo: Swanson getting ready to lead what turned out to b...
Swanson getting ready to lead what turned out to b...
Rock Climbing Photo: Swanson on first pitch
Swanson on first pitch
Rock Climbing Photo: Following the first pitch, the belayer can be seen...
Following the first pitch, the belayer can be seen...
Rock Climbing Photo: Starting up the first pitch.
Starting up the first pitch.

Comments on McCarthy's North Face Add Comment
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By David Benson
May 27, 2003

Truely an excellent route.

P2 is about 125' to an arbitrary hanging belay, with well aged anchors. If anyone ever replaces the anchors, please, please move the anchors! This pitch ends in the middle of the crack, no features what so ever to stand on. There appears to be a natural small ledge about 15-20' higher (on easier ground).

Gear: The largest piece of gear that I placed on the 2nd pitch was a .5 camalot. Lots of stoppers (#1 - #7 rock, double or triples), 1 green alien, three yellow aliens, 2 red aliens. First pitch goes pretty easy on a set of nuts, the second pitch could as well (I ran out).
By Doug Hemken
From: Madison, WI
Sep 9, 2006

What a stunning line! The moves are great, and the position can't be beat! We went through pitch 3, and every pitch was nice. Despite the note in Guillmete's guidebook, the anchors at the top of 3 are in good shape, just some minor surface rust.
By Sergio P
From: Idaho Springs, CO
Jul 26, 2007
rating: 5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c

With a 70m rope you can be lowered from the top of p2 to the top of p1. This allows for a more comfortable belay on the ledge while you belay the second climber.
By phatline
From: Burlingame, CA
Jun 6, 2009

We just did the first pitch (a real rope-stretcher!) to the belay under the roof. I would love to come back and do the 11a above, but I still highly recommend the first pitch as a mellow and entertaining 5.8 finger/stem adventure. Especially appreciated the grassy patches between perfectly clean finger locks, and the view.

The belay was kind of painful (it's not so much a ledge as a steep ramp) so take your time setting up a comfortable belay.
By George K. Watson
From: Nederland, CO
Jul 6, 2010

One of my favorite leads of all time. Be comfortable with space belays and placing lots of small stuff.
When I did this years ago with Steve Ilg, we did a major stupid and left a knot in either side of the anchors at the end of P2 when we did the rappel. He ended up hand-over-handing the entire second pitch (with a prussic on the rope) to undo the idiot knot. Derek Hersey witnessed our dumbshit move and had a great deal of fun with us later.
By Kirtis Courkamp
From: Golden
Apr 23, 2016

Very lose rock out left 3/4 of the way up pitch 1 be very careful I forgot to trundle on my way down Sorry. I extended the hanging belay at the top of pitch 1 with a 6-8' clove hitch to the lower ledge. It made the belay very enjoyable and still had a few feet of slack to TR pitch 2 with a 70m made this route very casual.
By Lucas Barth
From: Devils Tower, WY
May 26, 2016

Pitch 1 and 2 anchors are new as of 2015. Pitch one length is a few feet longer than 70 meters. Pitch 2 was just top-ropable with a single 70 meter. Great route!

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