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North Ridge 

YDS: 5.6 French: 4c Ewbanks: 14 UIAA: V ZA: 12 British: S 4b

Type:  Trad, Alpine, 7 pitches, Grade II
Original:  YDS: 5.6 French: 4c Ewbanks: 14 UIAA: V ZA: 12 British: S 4b [details]
FA: Pete Soby, Charles Schobinger, 1958 (from Gillett)?
Page Views: 64,738
Submitted By: Patrick Vernon on Jan 1, 2001

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On the summit, with storms moving in, from false s...

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A good beginner alpine route. The first half is forgettable, but the last two pitches are perfect for their grade. Stay to the left of the ridge to find the last two pitches.

Expect 6-8 pitches depending on your rope, your belay spots.

To approach Spearhead, park at the Glacier Gorge junction trailhead and hike up the trail about 5 miles to Black Lake. From there, head east up an unmarked trail to tree-line, then contour over to the base of Spearheads NE face. The North Ridge route begins at the NW corner of the mountain. Be careful to chose the correct line at the start; parties have gotten off-route here onto much more difficult terrain. Look for a pronounced groove above a slab near the highest point of ground.

Climb up poorly protected slab to the base of the slot, then pull huge jugs up the left side of the slot with good pro. Continue up easier grooves and slabs for several hundred feet, angling to the left. At that point you should reach the very crest of the ridge, and the prominent flake/pillar of the Barb should be visible down and to your left. These initial pitches are often simul-climbed, but most parties rope up here.

Climb a shallow corner on beautiful rock right of the crest, traverse somewhat right and head up more cracks and corners to a belay (5.6). The final pitch head for an awkward, acute dihedral, also 5.6. The route-finding can be confusing on the upper ridge, although many lines are climbable. Mountaineering judgment is essential. The summit, a short scramble up to your left, is absolutely spectacular and totally worth a visit if the weather is good. Descend significantly to the southwest, to avoid getting cliffed, down slabs and scree until you can contour around to the base of the climb.


Standard rack.

Photos of North Ridge Slideshow Add Photo
Rock Climbing Photo: Photo of route variation for North Ridge/North Fac...
Photo of route variation for North Ridge/North Fac...
Rock Climbing Photo: Looking down the ridge from the top of the last te...
Looking down the ridge from the top of the last te...
Rock Climbing Photo: Easy slab moves in the middle of the North Ridge.
Easy slab moves in the middle of the North Ridge.
Rock Climbing Photo: Nearing the summit of Spearhead via the North Ridg...
Nearing the summit of Spearhead via the North Ridg...
Rock Climbing Photo: Descent beta.
Descent beta.
Rock Climbing Photo: Final pitch up the North Ridge.
Final pitch up the North Ridge.
Rock Climbing Photo: Backside of Long's.
Backside of Long's.
Rock Climbing Photo: Lisa G. and Lisa. S simul-climbing the last pitch ...
Lisa G. and Lisa. S simul-climbing the last pitch ...
Rock Climbing Photo: Looking toward Long's and Pagoda (left to right).
Looking toward Long's and Pagoda (left to right).
Rock Climbing Photo: Good start with the sun out on the North Ridge of ...
Good start with the sun out on the North Ridge of ...
Rock Climbing Photo: Dave sitting on top of the Barb Flake.
Dave sitting on top of the Barb Flake.
Rock Climbing Photo:
Rock Climbing Photo: On the way out.
On the way out.
Rock Climbing Photo: Gary and John high up on the face trying to get ba...
Gary and John high up on the face trying to get ba...
Rock Climbing Photo: Jon on face below crux pitch.
Jon on face below crux pitch.
Rock Climbing Photo: North Ridge approximate route (slightly offset to ...
BETA PHOTO: North Ridge approximate route (slightly offset to ...
Rock Climbing Photo: Charles Goldman leading up the 3rd pitch.
Charles Goldman leading up the 3rd pitch.
Rock Climbing Photo: The middle portion of the route with the tip of th...
The middle portion of the route with the tip of th...
Rock Climbing Photo: Looking down the North Ridge of Spearhead from bel...
Looking down the North Ridge of Spearhead from bel...
Rock Climbing Photo: Slabbing on the Spearhead.
Slabbing on the Spearhead.
Rock Climbing Photo: 'E' on the cool, airy summit.
'E' on the cool, airy summit.
Rock Climbing Photo: Duane preparing to lead the desperate crux slot, h...
Duane preparing to lead the desperate crux slot, h...
Rock Climbing Photo: Bottom left is belaying at the start of the 4th pi...
BETA PHOTO: Bottom left is belaying at the start of the 4th pi...
Rock Climbing Photo: Profile of the North Ridge with Charles Goldman.
Profile of the North Ridge with Charles Goldman.

Show All 49 Photos

Only the first 24 are shown above.

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Comments displayed oldest to newestSkip Ahead to the Most Recent Dated Aug 6, 2017
By Mike Sofranko
Jan 1, 2001

Try to find the 5.8 start to the left of the usual start... Great dihedral with good pro. Highly recommended. I remember climbing off the ground, angling left across a slab, through a slot/chimney, then stepping left to a belay ledge below the corner. Make sure you do the final scramble to the spectacular and precarious summit.
By George Bell
From: Boulder, CO
Jan 1, 2001

This is a fun climb in a great setting. The route finding is tricky in several areas. Look from below for what appears to be some kind of chimney above a slabby area. The steep chimney comes on the second pitch, and is easier than it looks since there are a lot of stemming possibilites. The middle third is lower angle and slabby, it doesn't matter much where you go here. On the top third as the angle increases, you will probably be forced right of the crest, and then find an easy ramp which leads left back to the ridge crest. The final pitch with the 6" crack goes straight up from the ridge crest. Don't be too worried about the crux 5.6 offwidth. In fact you can reach past the wide part to good holds above. You don't actually have to do any OW moves. There are also several other ways to do this last pitch, of similar difficulty.
By Darin Lang
Jul 2, 2001

Obviously there are several ways to skin this particular cat. We started by climbing a slabby area, trending left to a series of 3 fairly vertical chimneys offering excellent 5.4 and 5.5 climbing before reaching the slabby area. From the slabby area we kept to the left until reaching the Barb Flake. We also stayed left at the Barb Flake, with an excellent 5.6 traverse out over the face, up through a slot, and then slightly right to a very nice 5.5 hand crack. A short third-class section then led to the 5.6 OW mentioned by George. Other than the middle slabby section, I thought all of the pitches we climbed were excellent for the grade, and you can't beat the summit.
By Anonymous Coward
Sep 24, 2001

Jake Martin-- After the third pitch, when climbing up and left to the top of the Barb Flake, many options obviously exist, although climbing the cracks/gully/chimmney that are the backside of the barb flake protect well (use caution--many of the flakes are loose!) When reaching the apex of the barb flake, sling a huge horn (a good belay) and head up the thin , exposed crack/hand traverse. Watch rope drag here. Also, when I climbed the route (9/24/01), there were several new looking pitons at the top of the pitch before the belay. I am not sure if the last pitch was OW or 5.6, but many great options exist here to make the summit. DESCENT NOTE: The guidebook describes the descent as "northwest corners", but it seemed like to me the descent was southwest in nature (from the summit block). A great route.
By Charles Vernon
From: Tucson, AZ
Sep 25, 2001

I'd have to recommend staying out of the Barb flake/gully. The slabs to the right are bullet granite, 5.2-5-4, with enough pro. You'd need a chisel to find a loose rock there. Have to reiterate what others have said about the spectacular summit--I've scrambled up the descent route several times just for a day hike!

RE/descents: the most common does trend SW, but there is also one that heads SE.
By Tony B
From: Around Boulder, CO
Feb 19, 2002
rating: 5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b

This is what George and I did that fateful day after retreating from the Chief's Head. I recall distinctly simul-climbing the whole route and placing 11 pcs of gear. I believe the ascent took us just under 1 hour. It's like a high-altitude granite Flatiron. Your experience may differ.
By Ernie Port
From: Boulder, Colorado
Jul 21, 2002

Did this route and agree that route finding is somewhat subjective in a few places but still interesting. On P4 rather than going around a block to the R as Roach describes, I stemmed over the block which was slightly overhanging but had a nice seam up high (9ish) and was more fun for me and not too difficult to protect with .4 cams. One of the airiest summits anywhere. Very high on the WOW!!! scale.
By shad O'Neel
Jul 23, 2002

I think we wandered a bit right just before the slot at the top when i did this route. It put me under this glorious 5.8ish finger crack that was sooooo fun. Anyone else done this variation?
By dave elphingstone
Aug 6, 2002

Climb the 5.8 start! the middle part of the route is good simulclimbing terrain even with an inexperienced partner. Makes for a great day a long way from the trailhead.
By John Saccardi
Aug 20, 2002

Peter Spindloe led me up this route on 8/18/02, 20+ years after I first climbed it. It remains one of my all time favorites. The bivy sites are among the best anywhere. A Dutch couple from Boulder joined us for much of route and made for enjoyable companionship. The pitch above the Barb Flake is just super at its grade. The summit is truly one of the most interesting I have been on in Colorado. Its very unsettling to look straight down the face from the backside of the top block! As described in the overview notes, it is important to trend left to avoid cliffing out on the descent.
By Leo Paik
From: Westminster, Colorado
Aug 11, 2003

For the 5.8 start, there is a double crack version that may replace the arete on 5.7 pitch that is fun but might be 5.8. Also, don't stretch out that pitch, because your rope will catch on that monster flake of the belay. Chews up those nice, thin, double ropes....
By Leo Paik
From: Westminster, Colorado
Aug 17, 2003

Hmmm, I know this is a "classic" but 3 stars seems misleading. Maybe, just maybe, for its length or position at the end. IMHO, seems that in the difficulty range, NE Ridge of Sharkstooth is better, the old Northcutt-Carter was far better, South Prow on Sharkstooth is equivalent, S Face of Petit Grepon (save 10 feet in that dihedral - for difficulty) is better, S Face (with the S Face finish, 2B from Rossiter's) of Zowie is better, Love Route of [Hallett] (save the 5.9 pitch - for difficulty) is equivalent, & Stettner's to Kiener's is better.
By Jim McGuire
Nov 11, 2003

Route finding warnings on this climb may be a little overblown. Check out Feaver's pic of the face below. If you want the easiest passage locate the prominent left anglilng crack system over the lower third of the face. Start the climb up the left side of the slab below this and into the left chimney at the bottom of the crack system. Up the crack system and then anywhere up the flakes above as it's all pretty easy. Higher up the ridge crown forces you to the left into the crux pitch, not a lot of other options possible, at 5.6 anyway.
By Dr. Dan
From: Steamboat Springs, CO
Jul 9, 2004
rating: 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a

Went up to do Syke's, but there was a very slow party on the route so decided to see if we could make the North Ridge interesting. The route we did follows an obvious weakness and broken crack system from the bottom to the top (see picture below). It is a good option if Sykes' isn't available and you are not feeling 5.11 or 5.6.

We did the climb in 5 long pitches (all 185-200 ft), but it is probably a good idea to break up P1 and P5 in to 2 pitches each due to rope drag. P1 was done as one due to poor belay protection at the bottom of the 5.8-5.9 section.

P1: I believe this is what is described as the direct start. Begin up the dihedral about 100 ft right of the face. Angle left across an unprotected slab to a steep finger and hand crack. Work up the crack (9) to another slab, then move up and left across the slab to below at the base of some clean broken flakes (185 ft. 9).

P2: Go straight up the flakes into a wide crack and stay in or near the crack for about 190 ft. (7).

P3 and P4: 5.5-5.6 ground. Try to stay in line with a shallow crack system that turns into a short fun hand crack on P4. (370 ft.)

P5: As you head up the shallow cracks and face look up for a wide left angling crack. You want to head toward the right, or lower end of the crack. From this feature move up right via stemming and finger crack (5.8). At the top this feature head left to the continuation of the crack system. Work up more hand and finger crack on excellent rock (5.8) to top (see picture below).
By Cisco
Aug 8, 2004
rating: 5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b

Soloed this today again and I can't say enough good things about this climb. If it's within your ability, I suggest to do it. I tried the Dr. Dan version as suggested above and found no move harder than 5.7? The direct start begins down and further left of the standard start and is definitely 5.8.
By Anonymous Coward
Sep 6, 2004

Did this route recently and maybe am missing something, but seemed like an awful lot of work for a minimal amount of quality climbing. The first 3 pitches are forgettable, the middle section is class 3 scrambling. Then you get two or three pitches of reasonable climbing, (the last being very good) and then it is back to scrambling again to get to the summit. The downclimb is a bit long and tedious as well though I suppose that comes with the alpine experience. I guess it is what you are looking for. If you want to hang out in a spectacular place, it doesn't get much better, just don't count on stellar climbing.
By Anonymous Coward
Sep 6, 2004

Dude, for 5.6 in the mountains this is about as good as it gets. The climbing maybe easy but the rock is great and the summit is amazing. Are you spoiled or what?
By Gary Schmidt
From: Boulder, CO
Sep 7, 2004

Did this route last week. The biggest bivy cave, or as the rangers call it ,"the hotel", is a few hundred yards due south of the small pond on the shelf. Thoughtful people have even built some additional stone walls around it to try and keep out some of the wind. After a relatively comfortable night, and an evening of watching shooting stars and satellites go by, we made our way up to the base of the climb which was not that hard to find. After the third class gully managed to get off route too far to the west and ended up one some pretty run-out but moderate rock, but still a little disconcerting. My partner led a tricky long 200 ft traversing pitch to get us back on line (we think) and then i finished it off with a variation (another party was on the main line) that probably was about 5.7 or maybe one move of 5.8 which landed us promptly on the final scramble section. Easy scramble to the summit. There is what looks like an easy direct class 3 gully down to the lake on the west, but don't be fooled. It will cliff you out. Instead find cairns that lead you south west along the ridge. Thus it is farther back to your bivy then you might think. Just something to factor into your time. A fun, but long day. In terms of route-finding, basically if you are comfortable with leading 5.6 and dont' mind some run out you will eventually find you way up by following your nose. All part of the alpine experience!
By Tim Judkins
From: Salt Lake City, UT
Aug 21, 2005
rating: 5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b

Climbed on 8/20/5. Dr Dan has a great photo below, but it's a bit misleading. His P1 starts as for the classic route, but takes a crack right of the slab. P2-P4 in his picture are the classic route (not harder than 5.5). Our "classic" route is based on Rossiter's guidebook. There seemed to be a lot of variations in the 5.6 range.

I'd give it 3 stars for the setting, length, and rock quality. The moves aren't as aesthetic as you can find 40' off the ground in Eldo, but this route gives you 100's of feet of quality climbing/scrambling on the way to the best summit around (I haven't been on the Petit yet).

Our semi-athletic team made it car-to-car in about 10 hours, with about 2.5 hours for the approach. It was nice not carrying bivy gear. Try to get done early, because it doesn't look easy to retreat from.

Speaking of retreating, we found a rope (fixed/mangy) along with some nuts and biners that someone used to bail off the route. Check the lost and found page if they belong to you.
By Nick Kuhn
Aug 22, 2005
rating: 5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b

Tim, reflecting his true generous nature, only posts our find of the rope and gear, but neglects to mention the troubing loss of his convertible pant's left zip-off leg somewhere along the descent. Fellow readers, I implore you to return this lonely piece of nylon to him, should you chance upon it. The poor guy was inconsolable once he realized he lost it.

Our semi-athletic team was slowed considerably by 3 factors. 1) Tim's athletic and I'm not. 2) On the hike out, Tim threatened to set fire to the new hiking mascot I had strapped to the outside of my pack. This forced me to stop and hide the mascot in the depths of my pack. We lost at least 30 seconds due to this. His aggression was most likely due to the loss of his pant leg (inconsolable...).3) Also on the hike out, we paused to answer questions from day-trippers like "How will we know we're at Black Lake if there's no sign for it?" We promised to bring this obvious oversight to the attention of the Park Service. Another loss of a minute or two.

Best of luck to future parties. Don't worry about route-finding; the various slings and nuts left in the rock will help direct you to the summit. That is, if you're able to find Spearhead at all without a sign....
By Andy Leach
From: Denver, CO
Jul 31, 2006

On 7/30/06 our apparently very unatheletic team did it in about 15 hours car-to-car but included at least an hour of dorking around on the summit. We also missed the correct descent and floundered down the most miserable talus slope I've ever encountered. We were able to follow Roach's description to the letter (though we combined is first three pitches into two and divided his last pitch into two).

Trip Report:
By kirkadirka
From: Boulder
Aug 9, 2006

Did this route today, and I believe we were the only party on all of Spearhead. I guess going up during the week can have its benefits. We did what sounds pretty close to the Dr. Dan variation, and this added some very enjoyable and challenging climbing to the North Ridge and makes for a far more direct line. I give this climb 4 stars for its superb location, the quality of climbing, and the overall alpine experience. Yes, it's a hump, but that's part of the experience!

By the way, the only downside to the whole experience was the dowclimb to the SW and then down the horrific scree gully. It seemed to work best to stay along the bottom of the cliff bands (when present) to help one in balancing and preventing any scree surfing.
By Merlin
From: Grand Junction
Apr 23, 2007
rating: 5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b

Don't let the rating dissuade you, there is no 5.7 (or 5.9) on the standard route. The 5.7 rating derives from one fellow who took a different route. I climbed this when I was still scared of 5.6 leads and felt it was easy. There are a couple (and one hugely exposed) moves of 5.6 though followed by a whole lot of easy and well protected climbing.

Fun climb in a beautiful setting but not (IMHO) worth repeating.
By Mike McMahon
From: Little Cottonwood Canyon, Utah
Aug 12, 2007

Climbed this route yesterday, and it was all around, a great climb. We simulclimbed what would probably be equivalent of the first four or five pitches, and then angled right on the steeper slab area. This put us below a left-angling, large flake. After about 25-30 feet of this large crack/flake, we made a 5ft. undercling traverse left, which put us directly below a super sweet 10 ft. finger crack. This was our second to last pitch, and unquestionably the finest. The finger crack maybe went at 5.8 or so and provided several spectacular locks on thin feet. Also. while seconding (while simulclimbing) I ended up missing the main chimney on the left side of the slabs of the first pitch. I went straight up the left side of the headwall to where the first belay typically is. This was certainly harder than 5.6! Finally, the summit should not be missed!
By John Korfmacher
From: Fort Collins, CO
Sep 17, 2007

With S. Costello and Karsten Schnatwinkel 9/16/07. This is a good alpine climb in a great setting. We did (I think) the 5.8 start which felt easier than the grade. Simulclimbed the slabby stuff on the next several pitches. Rossiter describes the second-to-last pitch as "a great pitch" and indeed it is...not difficult but the abrupt arrival at the edge of the ridge and the awkward moves above it are not to be missed. This pitch alone is worth the considerable effort involved in doing the route.

Numerous variations on the described route are possible. Be creative.

Our party of three made the car-to-car trip in about 12 hours, with 4-5 hours on the rock.
By Kyle Douglass
From: Golden, Co
Oct 11, 2007
rating: 5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b

On the 6th pitch there's a nice 5.8 crack to the left of the route, short and sweet.
By Dholmb Holmberg
Sep 4, 2008

Climbed last weekend, route was dry and in great conditions (I was somewhat concerned about the snowstorm a couple of weeks ago).

We did the short 5.8 finger crack variation on accident and it was nice although I knew there was no way it was 5.6....

Long hike but great climb for my first alpine!
By Buzz Burrell
From: Boulder
Jul 30, 2009

Bill Wright and I did this on 7/25. We then continued up and onto the North Ridge of Chiefshead. This is a very obvious link-up; we were shocked there is no mention of it anywhere. Spearhead is essentially a protuberance of the Chiefshead North Ridge, so once you get all the way up there, you might as well keep going. "Spearchief".

Chiefshead N Ridge is broken up by talus slopes, but the headwalls turn out to have excellent climbing. The lack of continuous 5th class rock may bother some, but hey, this is what alpine routes are usually like. The climbing is steeper and stiffer than Spearhead but more discontinuous. The position is always terrific, and it all works better if you know how to simul-climb. Getting off Chiefshead takes effort, which IMO, adds to the overall experience.

We'd rate what we did on the upper ridge 5.7/8, and it's possible to make it much easier by major zig zagging. A little under 10 hrs car-car.
By Curt Nelson
From: Fort Collins, CO
Aug 2, 2009
rating: 5.9- 5c 17 VI 16 HVS 4c

I did the Dr. Dan variation with K.T. on 7-29-09 in less than desirable weather conditions. It seamed like the line to take. From my understanding we started RIGHT of the standard route to the way obvious hand crack that is 5.9 or so and can be a little wet making it pretty exciting... One pitch through the chimneys at easy 5.7, 400 feet of simul-climbing at 5.5 - 5.6. And the last pitch with a spot of .8 going right over a bulge than traversing left to a great finger crack - 5.8. Just like the picture. Good route to the top.
By kevinnlong
From: Boulder, CO
Aug 22, 2009
rating: 5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b

That alternate dihedral start (left of the normal route) felt pretty sandbagged at 5.8! However, the pro was excellent...I would highly recommend it.
By Alex Abramov
From: San Diego, CA
Sep 21, 2010
rating: 5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b

Good route.
We climbed it on 7th Sep, 2010. Windy day! Car-to-car 12 hours.
The route finding is a little complicated.
The crux pitch is brilliant and exposed. See video about almost every pitch.

By B Conchie
Jul 17, 2011
rating: 5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b PG13

We climbed the route on July 12th setting out from the Glacier Gorge trailhead at 2.15am. There was a lot of packed snow above 10,000' which made the going slow and trail finding tricky in places, but we arrived at the base of the climb just after dawn. The start is obvious because of the worn rock and bare patches in the grass - get this bit wrong and you probably shouldn't even be up here. Looking up at the tightening chimney above you probably hope the route doesn't go there...but it does and the pitch through the chimney is excellent and well protected. That's more than can be said for the slab leading up to it. We encountered running water across wide sections of this first pitch, but this really wasn't a big problem because the rock is so rough and friction is great...even when wet. Top 3 pitches were outstanding. I think we were a little right of the correct line leading up to the final pitch, but this didn't really matter. The top pitch looks a little improbable from below but is really very straightforward. The crux crack/groove seemed to pass very quickly and had great protection.

The descent certainly requires care. Stood at the top of the climb looking down the west face you will see a large, flat block/boulder with a steep track leading down. Drop down this track and then traverse horizontally left (looking out) over the boulder for about 200yds and connect with a definite trail that heads down to an easy downclimb. There is a lot of loose rock on the descent, so be very careful if parties are above or below. We were done by 12.30pm, stopped for lunch, took lots of photos and were back at the car by 6pm. Great weather. A great climb. By the way, we are just a couple of old farts having fun, I'm sure these young rock jocks could do it in half the time.
Rock Climbing Photo: Starting the top pitch.
Starting the top pitch.

Rock Climbing Photo: Looking up the route from our descent. Straight up...
Looking up the route from our descent. Straight up the chimney and obvious crack above.

Rock Climbing Photo: About to begin the difficulties on the final pitch...
About to begin the difficulties on the final pitch.
By fossana
From: leeds, ut
Aug 20, 2012

I linked this up with the N. Ridge of Chiefshead, W. Ridge of Pagoda, and Long's, which made for a great day. Thanks to Buzz for the Chiefshead linkup recommendation.
By kyle kingrey
From: Loveland
Jul 15, 2013
rating: 5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c

Partner Joe and I climbed this ridge but stayed @ 70' to the right of the normal route. (North Face / North Ridge) This was a good line and had a few more 5.7 moves as well as an exposed 5.8+ chimney to squeeze through near the top of the climb. Weather was threatening all day but held out just long enough for us to get off the summit. Sometimes things actually work out. Great day!
By William Thiry
From: Lakewood, CO
Aug 3, 2014
rating: 5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b

Don't know why anyone who would write up a route description for this would include a comment that says the climbing for the first few pitches is 'forgettable'. The route description, as we found out yesterday, is anything but memorable - or helpful. Don't let that bother you, though. This route is terrific. The route finding is tricky, especially down low, so find better resources than the above route description to find it - or gear up for a mountaineering adventure. The upper slabs offer several great lines of climbing - you can't go wrong! Just understand that the exit 'pitch' described above is useless - but exit lines above the Barb exist that go at 5.6/7. Stay alert and be willing to explore a bit here, and you will likely be successful at finding a workable, topping-out line.
By Patrick Vernon
From: Estes Park, CO
Aug 3, 2014

A bit of context here: I wrote this route description when this site was just being conceived, long before any of us knew what the site was our would become to be. The only existing routes on this site were buildering routes on the engineering building at CU. There were 6 registered users, and we probably received 10 visits a week or something. The main climbing site on the internet was rec.climbing.

I submitted some brief descriptions of routes to Myke on a floppy disk as a sort of quick, general overview of classic routes in the Front Range, hence the one line description.

My brother came and added more info later as the site was beginning to grow. His description lacks some of the detail of modern day Mountainproject (thumb catch on the left hand pinch 16 feet up pitch 7), but it is not inaccurate and coupled with the prerequisite mountaineering judgment needed to play in the mountains is more than enough.

Want more beta? Scroll down. There is a ridiculous amount of information here submitted by other users to get you up the North Ridge, like the detailed photo topo by Dr. Dan which shows the exact start.
By Steve Jones
Sep 4, 2014

Beautiful, 6 mile approach. Solid 5.6 climbing, could be a tad harder if you go left on the East face above the Barb flake. Great exposure there with plenty of gear. Hardest moves seemed to be the slot on the last pitch, polished there but has good gear placements. Walk-off is no give-away program.

Nothing larger than a #2 Camalot needed the way we went (Rossiter version?). I think we did it in 5 pitches or so with a 70 meter rope. Several excellent bivy sites with water near.
By Russ Keane
Oct 29, 2014

Not the best climbing - kind of easy, never testy, but certainly a real thrill -- and a real test in terms of the distance from the car, the altitude, and the overall enormity of the surrounding context. A lot of fun, but again, the climbing is kind of boring.
By Harrison Dreves
From: Denver, Colorado
Jun 15, 2015

Climbed this route on June 14th, 2015.
Didn't see any comments about June ascents, so I wanted to provide some conditions beta.

The route is certainly accessible in June, but bring snowshoes to access the base and mountaineering boots to kick steps down the descent gullies. You'll encounter some snow in the chimneys on the first two pitches, which will make things interesting but nothing you can't traverse around. A lot of the bivy caves will still be snowed in by June.

(NOTE: 2015 had unusually high snowpack, so conditions might be better by mid-June other years.)
By Dave Clark 5.10
From: Golden, CO
Jul 26, 2015
rating: 5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b

Despite all the beta and various opinions on finding the correct starting point, when you first get to the base of the rock, things look different than photos from further away and you can't see very high up the route. So here's a photo from the base where we started. You can start anywhere from about 40 ft left or 15 ft right from this point and still climb to the same P1 belay point, which is 25 ft below and left of the double crack system near the center top of the photo (with a 15-ft tall flake between the two cracks). From that belay point, the std route angles right into the left side of the double crack. (Don't go left from the belay into a larger chimney crack that you can't see very well from the ground.)

Rock Climbing Photo: N. Ridge start.
N. Ridge start.
By Aaron M McAdams
Feb 11, 2016

Base of the route is at coordinates 40.258594, -105.638850.
By Dom R
From: Estes Park, Colorado
Jul 16, 2016

Looking to see if anyone else has climbed that splitter finger crack in the face towards the top. At the head wall before you reach the leaning crack in a slab that leads to the awkward slot, and right after a large left facing dihedral type feature, there is a real nice splitter. I thought it was a part of the 5.6 route but quickly found out it wasn't. I pulled it, and it felt maybe like the lower end of 5.9, or maybe the unexpected nature of how hard it was compared to what I had expected made it feel harder. Either way, it was probably my favorite 20 feet of climbing on the route. It sounds similar to the splitter that Dr. Dan explains in his variation and calls 5.8.
By Andres Fernandez
From: Boulder, Colorado
Aug 6, 2017
rating: 5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b

Great climb.

It starts off easy and gets more interesting for the top half.

First half is between 5.0 and 5.4/5.5.

Then after 4th class section, it gets harder.

5.6 section leftmost section above Barb's flake with left-facing dihedral feels more like 5.7 at points. 5.6 to 5.5 and then the section before the final belay station on the left leaning ramp feels like 5.7.

For the west side walkoff, you'll need to go a lot more left halfway down, if you initially go down taking the ledges right below the summit. Three gullies over, to the south, is the first walkoff descent with a small, 15 foot, 5.0 downclimb.

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