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Little Squaretop Massif
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Watch Your Aspens 

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

   
Type:  Trad, 3 pitches, 600', Grade III
Original:  YDS: 5.9 French: 5c Ewbanks: 17 UIAA: VI ZA: 17 British: HVS 5a R [details]
FA: Daniel Rossi, Jon Tylka, Marta Reece
New Route: Yes
Page Views: 237
Submitted By: Marta Reece on May 22, 2015

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BETA PHOTO: View from the top of High Pines, the line of pines...

Description 

Pitch 1 (5.8, 200 ft): Go straight up for the full length of a 60m rope. Start up the slab to where a tongue of rock comes down from above. Go up the left side of it. Stay in this left-facing corner for as long as it lasts, then continue in the same direction following cracks. Belay from a minimal ledge.

Pitch 2 ( 5.9, 180 ft): Start by heading left along wrinkles on a slab (run-out). Turn right at a large, wide-open alcove topped by a wall of loose-looking blocks. Avoiding this and instead head gradually right and up to a right-leaning roof. After traversing the roof stay in the corner (maybe 40 ft) until you reach a small ledge, just big enough to stand on. (The corner becomes filled with mud.) Here is where you step right across the face into a crack system. Follow the sharp-angled corner you find yourself in to a nice belay ledge.

Pitch 3 (5.8, 200 ft): Go up a relative shallow-angle, smooth-sided open book to its end. Follow the corner leading left to a step-over onto a slab made of a dike material, heavily featured but smooth in texture. This short section is followed by easier climbing along an arête and past a small tree. The slab which follows is best done on the right, but then head left again where a couple of harder slab moves take you to a roof, which is turned on the left. From there go up a narrow chimney partly filled with blocky rock to the top.

Searching for records of previous ascents, the only route possibly going up to the same shoulder was Ingraham’s Impasse Route. The start of it, "up a narrow 4th class gully to a broad ledge," could be interpreted to be the gully to the right of our start. This gully did look to us like the path of least resistance, but we were after some better and cleaner climbing, so we started on the face proper and much lower down. Unfortunately, the only description Ingraham gives for the "route proper," (that is Impasse Route above the fourth class start) is that it goes "over exposed slabs with small holds and friction climbing to the top of the shoulder." We tried to stay on the “slabby” ground, but the right-slanting roof forced us to the right and most of our pitches 2 and 3 was spent navigating the maze of secondary shoulders (with their associated corners) to the right of the slab Impasse Route ascent party was apparently able to use. It could be that where we found loose rock, there was a solid ground decades ago. Or it could be that they were at a different location altogether, as there are other discrepancies as well. After descending from the shoulder, we didn't need to climb a "3rd class north-south rib" to reach the notch between Massif and Little Squaretop.

Location 

Starting point: There are three parallel planes making up the bulk of the east face of Little Squaretop Massif. One the left is the main face, 1000 feet tall, then a much narrower secondary face, 600 feet tall, and finally a sliver maybe 100 feet high. Watch Your Aspens starts near the right end of the base of the secondary face. We approached the location from the north by going past a largish boulder and stopped almost directly after it. There is another bolder above the belay, providing some protection from falling rocks.

Watch Your Aspens tops out on a large shoulder with a beautiful aspen grove. Our descent was accomplished by scrambling along and near the huge head wall. One short rappel from the base of a spruce tree took us directly into a gully which led to the cave under the huge chock between Little Squaretop and Little Squaretop Massif. Once through the cave, the summit can be reached by any of the west face routes. It is advantageous to take the Needle trail down to the west side of the mountains.

Protection 

Double rack. No pitons or any other gear was found on the route. We left a rap sling on the large spruce tree the top of which is visible as you scramble along the head wall westward.


Photos of Watch Your Aspens Slideshow Add Photo
Rock Climbing Photo: View of Little Sqaretop Massif from the east.
BETA PHOTO: View of Little Sqaretop Massif from the east.

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