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NORTH NORTH ARETE 

YDS: 5.9+ French: 5c Ewbanks: 17 UIAA: VI ZA: 17 British: E1 5a

   
Type:  Trad, 7 pitches, 800'
Original:  YDS: 5.9+ French: 5c Ewbanks: 17 UIAA: VI ZA: 17 British: E1 5a [details]
FA: R. Woodsworth, W. Chemakoff 1964. FFA- E. Weinstein, D. Vernon 1973.
Page Views: 935
Submitted By: geoff georges on Jul 28, 2014

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BETA PHOTO: The birthing pitch topout on north north arete

Description 

Often ignored, deserves more attention. Adventurous alpine feel. We did not do the lower section below Astro ledge, so I can't speak of that, but it sounds like nobody ever did that portion. Expect some dirty mossy lichen covered cracks, route finding and be prepared for an adventure. Less woods hiking than angels crest. In the old McLane book it is 5.9 and 10a in the more recent one.

This route would be awesome with a clean-up.

A great place to be on a hot day, even the descent is mostly in the dark woods, unlike the top of the middle or south peaks. It's a great up and over adventure in the shade.

General directions, but not too specific to keep it an adventure.

We approached via the first 4 pitches of parallel passages, and followed fixed ropes lines to the base

We had no description of the route, and followed the path of least resistance.

1) Off astro ledge, find the tree with the green flagging and a blocky gully near the sharp bend of the trail. Combine first 2 pitches, pass first belay, low 5th class, unless you like the look of the hand crack on the left side as I did, around the crest to the right, another chain on tree. 60 meters
2) move the belay or simulclimb 20- 30 meters left of crest, lead out 40- 50 meters up blocky flakes to conifer in groove. 5.7/5.8
3) combine 2 pitches here for a nice long varied cracks 60 meter pitch. 5.9 . plenty of ledges if you want to break it up. toward the end of this there is a chimney with a flake on the right and an old knarly Yew tree to crawl under and mantle at the end on a dirty top out to big tree ledge with a view out west.
4) through a cleft in the rock behind 3 pine trees, avoids dropping into dirty gully on the left. Large chockstone gully. Follow the right side crack to avoid the chockstones. laybacks to crawl under trees on ledge. 20 meters 5.9
5) move belay 30 meters left through woods with a blocky start, then easy path to 2nd chimney.Either belay at top of 5.6 chimney or continue up dirty corner, avoid brush by climbing small slot/chimney on the right, traverse blocky arete to left side and up to slopping ledge, cross log, steep layback till belay at Cedar and birch, 60 meters, 5.9
6) This is the most obvious path on the whole route because there is a piton in the corner ahead of you. finger crack runs into chimney/cave, the birthing pitch brings you out to the sunshine for the first time all day at the top of Zodiac. 10a past the piton, or pull on it with the cracks being 5.8 then.

Interesting hike up to Zodiac peak, passing the slack line to the third peak. find another rope to pull up and fixed ropes to the top. Good views that you don't see from the other peaks. Find trail down rugged third peak trail. Take a side trip up the slahany trail to view cobra crack on the way down or visit the solarium wall.

Location 

We approached via Parallel Passages first 4 pitches, which can be done at 10a if you do the left hand 5.9 on the first pitch. Parallel Passages is pretty scruffy and loose, so adds to the alpine like feel of this day without hiking up the north gully to Astro ledge, which is the other option.
It is situated in the middle of the north end of the Zodiac formation.

Protection 

Standard rack to 4" Camalot. Bring lots of long slings. Double up if doing long pitches. We did a few full 60 meter pitches and were glad to have doubles of .4- #3 Camalots. top of 1st and 2nd pitch have chains around trees, no other fixed anchors. We found 1 piton on the last pitch.


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