Question Mark Wall Route
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BETA PHOTO: Question Mark Wall from the summit.
Fun thin aid in an alpine setting, and lots of great exposure.
Approach, as with all Question Mark Wall routes, via Pete's Staircase. Head right just below the upper rappel tree over the the big ledge. Look for a thin crack that heads up to the ``grill'' (three or four horizontal overlaps) about 30 feet up. This is the most recognizable feature on the lower part of the route, and is easily seen from the cirque.
Pitch 1: Clean-aid (A1) up this crack, moving left at the ``grill'' to the continuing thin crack. This pitch is incredibly enjoyable, but quite long. Belay at a small ledge above a fixed LA at three bolts (only one of which is worth hanging your hat on).
(Note: the next two pitches can be combined if you have enough gear, but it is LONG).
Pitch 2: Move left via slabby free moves, a tension traverse, or some combination, past a bolt to the thin crack. Clean-aid (A1) up this for 35 feet, and move left at the overlap, past an old rusty quarter-inch buttonhead to a large chickenhead that you can sling (don't expect miracles from this thing; you can aid off it, but probably not much more). You now have a few options: (1) continue left and build a somewhat secure, but uncomfortable hanging belay off a flexing flake and a decent crack; (2) continue up a little bit and build a more comfortable belay with trickier protection that may be less secure; or (3) go for it, and start free climbing up the next pitch.
Pitch 3: Free climb (5.8+ R) straight up the crack expecting sparse protection, gritty lichen covered rock, steep face climbing, and lots of exposure. Belay on a narrow ledge with a wide crack behind it.
Pitch 4: More of the same. The protection becomes more sparse, but the angle lessens until the top, where the rock also becomes grittier.
Descent: Walkoff via Collins Hwy.
Lots! The first pitch is 35m of C1, mostly on small stuff. A double set of micro nuts, a full set of micro cams/TCUs. A #3 Camalot is handy for the short section where it is wide, but you can top-step past it (we did fine with only up to a #2). There are somewhere between 25 and 35 aid moves on this first pitch. Make sure you have enough 'biners. Pitches 2 and 3 (as I describe below) can be linked if you have enough gear to protect it to your satisfaction. It doesn't require any big gear (up to #2), but you will probably be happier with doubles in just about every size.
You will pass several old and rusting timebombs en route. Clip or not at your discretion.
Just another postcard of the Question Mark wall.
From: Ft. Collins, CO
Mar 8, 2007
This route gets 3 stars in my book. I agree that it probably doesn't deserve the R rating. That first pitch has it all - a classic hard, sustained alpine plumb line. I tried to free climb it and flailed - the gear is there but placing it is a battle and requires some coolness to say the least. I would love to get back up there and try it again. Too bad it's now 500 miles away. Get after it folks, and don't forget the RP's!
By jonathan knight
Jul 16, 2007
rating: 5.12b 7b 26 VIII+ 26 E5 6b
This is one of the best free climbs in the range, and I imagine it has still had few ascents. It is 3 pitches in the Ruckman guide and doesn't get an "R" rating although the crux, down low, is protected by small wires and feels very committing on lead. Don't underestimate the bit at the start of the second pitch. AKA "The Beckey Route"