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Silverhorn 

Regular North Face 

YDS: 5.7 French: 5a Ewbanks: 15 UIAA: V+ ZA: 13 British: MVS 4b WI2 Steep Snow PG13

   
Type:  Trad, Ice, Snow, Alpine, 4 pitches, 5000', Grade III
Original:  YDS: 5.7 French: 5a Ewbanks: 15 UIAA: V+ ZA: 13 British: MVS 4b WI2 Steep Snow PG13 [details]
FA: Soper/Rau 1971
Season: Spring to Fall
Page Views: 536
Submitted By: Brad Warne on May 20, 2016

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Photo of the descent looking back at the North Fac...

Description 

A "classic" north face route, the position on the summit is spectacular. The climbing on the crux is condition dependent. The crux can have ice which makes it considerably easier. Without ice it is rated 5.7, with ice it has been called 5.4. The rock on the crux is pretty rank but is standard for the rockies. When the rock is frozen it stays in place (generally), but I wouldn't pull on a lot of those hold if on a normal rock route. The ice/snow slope is approx 200m in length.

Location 

Park at the pullout at the snowcoach gate which is across the highway from the visitor center. Follow the snowcoach road uphill for approx 20mins, which brings you to the snowcoach staging area (shelters and fuel tanks). Once here locate a trail that follows a moraine on the left side of the road. Follow the trail up the moraine to a rocky shoulder at the base of the glacier (depending on the time of year a small snow slope may need to be ascended to reach the rocky shoulder).From here ascend the glacier trending left to gain the col below the Silverhorn. Once here the face is obvious. Start up the face which is about 50 degrees and aim for the large yellow rock in the middle of the face. From the yellow rock head straight up to a gap in a small rock band. We did the slope in 2-100m pitches on snow and placing screws as protection. The crux is just up and right of this gap. The crux is approx 40m depending on where you belay. The start of the pitch is lower angle and I assume would be quite easy if iced up. When we did it we found no ice and found it to be sketchy and somewhat runout. There was seams where it may be possible to place pins but the rock is quite fractured and loose. The upper part of this pitch hold the technical climbing and is very well protected by pins. We built a belay on ice screws but if there is no ice there are two belays on pins. One is on top of a large block on the right, and the second is 5m higher up on the wall on the right. From here there is approx 70m of snow/ice climbing to take you over the top.

Descent:
There are multiple options for the descent. they are both similar in time, with the AA col being the "safest"
If coming down early and conditions are safe then The "Ramp Route" on the North Glacier can be used.
For both descents you must first go down from the summit to a small col. From here ascend to the top of the "Silverhorn". Descend and you will reach the "AA col". Here is where the two routes split. If going down the "Ramp Route" go right and descend the glaciers to where you will join your path from the approach.
For the "AA col" descent go left and down steep slopes to the AA glacier. Stay on the right hand side, minding the slopes above until you reach the end of the glacier and a rock cliff. From here a trail leads back to the snowcoach road.

Protection 

Glacier gear
Ice axes and screws (number is dependent on comfort. We did the ice/snow slope in 2-100m pitches and used 8 screws.
Small rock rack as there are pins to protect crux.


Photos of Regular North Face Slideshow Add Photo
Rock Climbing Photo: Looking North
Looking North
Rock Climbing Photo: The North Face
BETA PHOTO: The North Face
Rock Climbing Photo: Looking at the face from the Snowcoach staging are...
BETA PHOTO: Looking at the face from the Snowcoach staging are...
Rock Climbing Photo: At the base of the crux rock pitch. No pics of the...
At the base of the crux rock pitch. No pics of the...
Rock Climbing Photo: View from the summit looking west
View from the summit looking west
Rock Climbing Photo: Looking over at the Silverhorn
Looking over at the Silverhorn
Rock Climbing Photo: Ascending the ice/snow slope
Ascending the ice/snow slope
Rock Climbing Photo: Looking down the snow/ice slope
Looking down the snow/ice slope
Rock Climbing Photo: Looking up the North Face
Looking up the North Face
Rock Climbing Photo: Approaching the route
Approaching the route
Rock Climbing Photo: North Face
BETA PHOTO: North Face

Comments on Regular North Face Add Comment
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By Ian McEleney
From: Mammoth Lakes, CA
Sep 10, 2017

Climbed this on 9/1/2017 and the crux pitch was fairly dry. There were many fixed pins on the pitch. Come prepared with 8 (or more) slings/draws if you want to clip them all.

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