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Fire Hydrant
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Northwest Face T 

Northwest Face 

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

Type:  Trad, Alpine, 1 pitch, 160'
Original:  YDS: 5.6 French: 4c Ewbanks: 14 UIAA: V ZA: 12 British: S 4b [details]
FA: Keith Wrolstad, Steve Merrill, Larry Kline, 7/70
Page Views: 66
Submitted By: Chris Wenker on Aug 31, 2009

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BETA PHOTO: Tat & gear removed from the Fire Hydrant rap ancho...


This route is described by Kline (1970:30) and Hill (1993:154-155), although no topo is provided in either guidebook.

Start at the northern foot of the crag, and climb the blocky start to a right-facing dihedral. This leads to a fun splitter crack (which goes at about easy 5.7). About halfway up the crag, this crack pinches out and you are left to wander up to the top. I kept to the right (trying to stay on the "NW face"), but that involved some licheny 5.8-ish moves over loose-looking stacked blocks. Maybe trending more to the left after leaving the crack (as recommended by both guidebooks) would be the better, easier, more solid option?

Overall, the way we went, we experienced a loose 5.8 climb. But I left the rating at 5.6 (who am I to change Hill's rating?). So, just like at Donald Duck's Northeast Corner, be careful if you get on this one hoping for a casual 5.6 outing......


Getting off of this thing is the scariest part of the whole experience. Kline says to rappel off the northeast face; Hill's guidebook says to "rappel off a bolt down the southeast side... opposite Donald Duck." If, by that, they mean down into the north side of the couloir between the two crags, you may need two ropes to get down. Instead, we got down the southwest face, which is the direction the rap anchor was pointing, and a single 60m rope was fine.

However, be warned that the summit of this crag is a completely ugly POS choss pile, with virtually no stable footing or meaningful gear placements. The current summit/rap anchor consists of a single slung boulder, about the size of a small steamer chest, that's perched on the southern lip of the crag. Apparently it holds body weight, but it's not reassuring. You can choose to test the anchor if you like, but rather than weight that single boulder, to descend, we lowered one person, then the other downclimbed on toprope. Also, be sure to inspect the slings, because apparently there's a hungry rat up there that likes nylon.


Standard trad rack to #3 C4.

Photos of Northwest Face Slideshow Add Photo
Rock Climbing Photo: Northwest Face (5.6), Fire Hydrant, Sandia Mountai...
BETA PHOTO: Northwest Face (5.6), Fire Hydrant, Sandia Mountai...

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