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The Main Vein 


Type:  Ice, Alpine, 5 pitches, 900', Grade III
Original: WI4 [details]
Season: winter
Page Views: 3,925
Submitted By: jon jugenheimer on Jun 20, 2007

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the reason behind the name. some geology on the l...


This is another classic long linkup of vertical ice sections winding its way up the south facing side of the valley.


Get the guidebook! The guidebook lists the mileage from certain geographical markers, but park west of the campground and east of the end of the road and walk straight north to the base of the route. You should be able to see the top pitches of the route from the road, then find a good place to park.


ice screws all the way with v threads all the way down, please use existing when possible.

Photos of The Main Vein Slideshow Add Photo
Rock Climbing Photo: 1st pitch on 1/14/11
1st pitch on 1/14/11
Rock Climbing Photo: Last pitch......the best climbing was straight up ...
Last pitch......the best climbing was straight up ...
Rock Climbing Photo: Just getting past the first good piece of gear.
Just getting past the first good piece of gear.
Rock Climbing Photo: 1st pitch in "fun" conditions.
1st pitch in "fun" conditions.
Rock Climbing Photo: jon leading the seconed pitch, WI4-
jon leading the seconed pitch, WI4-

Comments on The Main Vein Add Comment
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By Jim Amidon
Nov 30, 2007
rating: WI5

Dunno when this was posted about this route, but I thought there was a different post. If you climb the seldom formed first pitch it's easily WI5, you decide, but shimmying your hands up the backside of an icicle with 50' of a slab below you with no reliable gear isn't WI4.

Check out the pictures....and it's easily a 5 star classic.
By Jim Amidon
Feb 11, 2012
rating: WI5


Park on the road near the base of the route, the gulley comes all the way down to the road. Walk up the gulley to the base of the route, the first pitch when in is a bit harder than WI3 so be ready for some steep sketchy climbing off the bat.

Or just before the gulley makes a final break to the left is a scree field that if you climb up when you get to the top there is a troth that will require some thought full climbing to get to a spot that drops you above the first pitch.

After the first pitch you solo up about 5 small bulges and walk and walk till you get to one of the magnificent double bulges, pitches you can see from the road. Climb up the WI3 flows, 3 in all to another slog.

Which gets you to the final massive pitch.

60 meters of beautiful ice right next to the feature the route gets it's name from.

There is a WI3 and WI5 lines on this pitch and easily large enough to have 2 parties on it.

Stunning position, way off the valley floor, because of the meandering nature of the WI3 line I find it best to do it in 2 pitches to the top.

There is a tree at the top you can rapp from, but I didn't think it was big enough and the rope would have dragged over the rock, so as I do on almost all South Fork climbs I made a V-thread and in one long rappel you get back to the base.

In total as we topped out late we did 4 rappels in total to the ground.

Note the top of the first pitch had some dangerous anchors around blocks, when there is some good ice just 30 feet up the gulley to make an V-thread and safely rap, instead of some sketchy cord around blocks in the gulley.

P.S. if your going to post a route of this nature too bad you can't put more effort into it than saying "get the book and follow the description".........

By bob branscomb
From: Lander, WY
Jan 22, 2013
rating: WI3+

Did this puppy with Mark Watkins on 1/20/13. First pitch not in and had to do some interesting bouldering around the first two chockstones lower down. The upper ice pitches are all in thickly but the low angle areas between them are hard snow instead of ice. Makes for fast work between pitches kicking up snow.
By Emmett Lyman
From: Somerville, MA
Feb 22, 2017

Did this on Sunday, and found the (small) tree rappel at the top of the last pitch to be a pretty poor choice. A pair of badly-faded (but otherwise new-looking) ropes were hanging from the rap rings and frozen deep into the ice below. Obviously a previous party got them stuck and ended up leaving them. We cut them from the top, and again where they buried into the ice so we could pack out as much as possible. There's going to be another ~10-20m of each that eventually melts out below. We then had trouble pulling our ropes - super stuck on the rough rock below the tree. We ended up soloing the 1st ~15m of the pitch and building a screw anchor at the base of the steeper ice far right so we could yard hard on them, and they eventually came down. Wouldn't recommend it to others. If you want to use the tree rap I'd suggest bringing a long cord and extending it over the rock. It'll make for a really tricky rap, but at least you won't lose your ropes. If the ice is good (it wasn't this weekend) a v-thread makes a lot more sense.

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