This route starts in the chockstone-capped chimney one drainage right of Snowblind Friend (1978), once mis-identified (or suspected to be Jeff Lowe's Walk the Line, the route that is currently mis-identified on MP (1/20/14) as "Walk the LIne previously submitted as Attractive Hazard"
Why all this confusion? Because Jeff Lowe climbed these two routes long ago, in 1978 (Snowblind Friend) and 1980 (Walk the Line) and didn't document them. In a conversation with Jeff Lowe in January 2014, he traced for me and Josh Wharton, the bottom section of this route as Walk the Line, which he had soloed to 3/4 of the way up the wall and then down climbed a tight snow gully into Snowblind Friend and finished via that route. The fact that this tight snow gully is invisible from anywhere but on the route, and that it exists (I used it to link Snowblind Friend to the upper two pitches of Irene), for me confirms that Jeff was there. He also wrote an essay in Jack Robert's
1) Climb the chimney and pull the chockstone, belay on a tree with a rap sling 30 feet above the chockstone. This pitch is dirty but will clean up well with ascents.
2) Head up the easy snow slow, aiming slightly left for the steeper wall with the right-arching crack. Belay at the base of the arching crack. Note: Since I wrote this two parties have gone up here and gone too far left. Another way to look at this pitch is to head up the slab trending slightly left to the base of a right-arching low-angle crack. This is not a massively long pitch, can't remember exact length of it. I left a piton/nut anchor here for descending.
3) Climb the (low-angle) right-arching crack to the crest, turn the corner of the buttress, and follow the right side of crest up steppy terrain finishing on a nice steep wide (4-6") crack. At the top of the wide crack is an annoying bush, work past it and up to the col. Belay in the little col (difficult to get an anchor). You could also belay at the base of the wide crack.
4) The best thing here is to make a short, 60 foot, pitch by dropping slightly down the other side of the col (you're now looking straight down into Snowblind Friend), traversing left into an easy corner that goes to another col. A two-nut fixed anchor can be found on the left when you're standing in the little col. Right below this anchor is the gully which leads easily down to the Snowblind Friend route and a 3-bolt anchor added in 2013.
5) These last two pitches are really awesome in my opinion. From the second-col belay, step across the gap and climb somewhat crumbly orange rock up and right for a few delicate moves on marginal gear that all together is probably good. This orange ramp leads you to the edge of a really cool chimney/crack feature. Savor the exposure, place the 4" piece at your knee, and step across. Follow the fun, solid crack up for about 50 feet to a nice snow-covered belay ledge with two bolts on its right side. Originally these were both self-drive Petzl caving bolts, but I replaced one with a proper 3.25" stainless steel bolt in November 2013.
6) This pitch is a blast. Climb the not-so-steep crack with great turf sticks and excellent rock to the top and a tree.
Rap the route. OR I think it works better to rap the top two pitches and drop into Snowblind friend and rap the (retro) bolted anchors of this route.
My standard rack for routes on this side is 3 pins (small KB, med KB, med LA), a set of nuts, and a single set of cams including a large (#4 Camalot size) cam. Bring plenty of runners. Climbers unaccustomed to this type of climbing will do well to double this.
Green Line is Walk Irene. Red Xs are anchors. Only...
BETA PHOTO: View from the first col belay. The second col bela...
BETA PHOTO: Leading the right-arching crack, P3.
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