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Southwest Face Right 

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

Type:  Trad, Alpine, 4 pitches, 450', Grade III
Original:  YDS: 5.9 French: 5c Ewbanks: 17 UIAA: VI ZA: 17 British: HVS 5a [details]
FA: Joe Kelsey and Dick Williams 1972
Page Views: 3,050
Submitted By: Lynn S on Aug 17, 2008

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Interesting 4 or 5 pitch line left of the more popular South Buttress line.
P1 5.7, easy R facing corner to the top of a flake, very featured rock and takes great pro.
P2 5.8, thin crack leads to some awkward moves and then over some stacked blocks to a comfortable belay. TCU's are good for the first 20+ feet. Best pitch on the route in my opinion.
P3 5.7, left trending corner system obvious from below. Semi-groveling, semi-flared system. Actually easier than it appears. You can protect it with small to medium cams. I carried and 2 and 3 camalot but never place either. Long pitch of about 190 feet to alcove below small triangular roof.
P4 5.9, Crux pitch, hardest moves right off the belay to a fun move around the roof above, huge hold for you left hand. Continue up to a big ledge and belay. From here you can continue up through a steep slot or bail to the right

You can move right about 100 feet to the rap anchors at the top of the S. Buttress route. We did this as the slot looked unpleasant and another climber said there was a scary, loose block in the slot.


Walk left from the south shoulder and scramble across to a ledge below the R facing corner. Since you rap right back to this ledge you can leave your shoes, etc. on the ledge.


TCU's to #3 camalot should suffice. Nuts come in handy also.

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By Alec LaLonde
Jul 13, 2009
rating: 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a

I climbed this such a different way it's worth mentioning:

Three pitches from the ledge got me to a belay on a horn right next to the S buttress topout:
1) Traverse on a ledge, up the easy right-facing flake, and up a thin seam to another right-facing corner/flake. Belay at rap slings on top of the flake. 55m, 5.9
2) Climb easy ground past grassy ledges to a large ledge below a left-facing, arching crack. 40m, 5.4
3) Above the belay, climb a left-trending, left-facing flake to a stance. Then climb up an aesthetic, steep right-facing flake/corner using jams or liebacks to a nice belay ledge. 55m, 5.9

The third pitch was quite a rope-stretcher with a 60m rope -- I'd suggest a 70 for this variation.
By zoso
Sep 12, 2012

That's exactly what we did. The route description didn't make sense 1/2 of the time. And yes, a 70m worked perfectly.
By beatfeet
From: Nashville, TN
Sep 17, 2013

We did this route in 2 70m pitches. I would highly recommend this as it puts you at the two biggest belay ledges, and the pitches are all relatively mellow (with very little drag if you don't sew it up). Even with a 60m rope the simul-climbing that would be required would have the second on very easy terrain while the leader makes it to the belay. We more or less followed the route description on this page (not sure why you wouldn't as it is the most obvious, classic looking line). To be clear, we did a full 70m pitch for both pitches. You will climb past a belay/rap station near the top of the normal 2nd pitch. Just keep going to the big obvious ledge that is a full 70m off the deck. This makes it possible to link the 3rd and 4th. Good line. Good pro. Good times.
By Bill Lawry
From: New Mexico
Aug 25, 2014
rating: 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a

We climbed this route twice using Kelsey's guide. The first time, we were off route about half of the time. The second time we nailed it. For us, the difference was knowing where to start the route.

Lynn S's description is accurate in words and in per-pitch ratings. At the same time, what would probably help here is a good picture of the SW Face with the route marked and/or familiarity with the starting ledge ... perhaps with some good route-finding intuition too.

I looked through my trove of Cirque pictures but found none with the right angle on the SW Face, especially the lower-to-middle part. Perhaps someone will post one up here!

Last, I believe we did the 5th pitch of the route on the second time up and found it to be pretty good. From the major alcove that is the belay ledge at the top of pitch 4: Go up a fun finger / hand crack on the right side of the alcove. Pass through the roof via wide cracks. 5.8.
By Nate Mankovich
Aug 15, 2016

This route is quite fun with short cruxes and really awesome climbing.

We did the route in three pitches:

1: 5.7 right facing corner to 5.8 "finger crack" to a ledge (70 meter rope just barely makes it)
2: 5.7 right facing corner
3: 5.9 right facing corner and pass a ledge to a 5.8 crack and 5.9 small bulge

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