|Chiefshead Northwest Face
7 Arrows is a very worthwhile climb that provides much adventure and excitement, along with superb granite face climbing. The line is fairly obvious, starting on prominent flakes just left of center (and left of the bolts on Birds of Fire), and taking on the singular natural weakness through the first 100 feet of the lower wall. The route then follows corners and brief blank sections for several pitches, heading for a black water streak which originates on the large ledge at the top of the face. The route is well described in both Rossiter and Gillett, although quite frankly you need to allow your instincts to guide you through many sections, and a sense of "being off-route" should not disturb you (hence my lack of a proper pitch-by-pitch description here). There is gear to be found, but a little creativity is required to sniff out the placements. Expect to climb mandatory 5.8 and 5.9 passages with minimal (or no) gear. Obviously not a place to be in a rainstorm. Belay anchors are OK, but not great. Lower on the route you can escape right to anchors on Birds of Fire, but by midway be prepared to have to punch for the top. Depending on where you actually climb high on the route, expect a trace more 5.10-, and lots of sustained, "bumpin-ugly" face climbing at a slightly easier grade.
A full rack from RPs, TCUs, to a 2.5" cam. Extra little gadgets and tech type stuff. 6 QDs, many long slings. Nut tool for requisite "digging" for gear placements when you get off-route. Consider a 200' (60m) rope mandatory. It is not necessary to bring a hammer or pins on this route. If you rappel Birds of Fire, 2 ropes are required. Good face climbing shoes will minimize the mental trauma of the leader.
|By Bosier Parsons|
From: Colorado Springs, CO
Aug 12, 2006
Steve - just how run out is it? What kind of techy stuff might help? Is it much worse if you don't actually have this stuff on your rack? I can't really get this one out of my head, ever since climbing Birds and understanding the high quality of rock on this wall. Thanks - Bo