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Alaska Highway 

YDS: 5.11c/d French: 7a Ewbanks: 24 UIAA: VIII British: E4 6a

   
Type:  Trad, 5 pitches, 550', Grade III
Consensus:  YDS: 5.11c/d French: 7a Ewbanks: 24 UIAA: VIII British: E4 6a [details]
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Season: Summer
Page Views: 5,842
Submitted By: David Trippett on Jul 21, 2008
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You & This Route  |  Other Opinions (14)
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climbing ak highway on a rainy august afternoon

Alaska Highway. 

Alaska Highway ascends an imposing system of overhanging corners and chimneys...

When arriving at the belay after the second pitch, try and recall if you've done aid pitches that took as long to finish, then think of Steve "Roadie" Seats soloing this pitch.

This route deserves its reputation. Not so much because p2 is the hardest pitch you'll ever climb, but because few pitches will challenge your repertoire of granite trickery as this. Improv at its finest.


Pitch one begins with some steep arboreal fiddling to a hanging belay below a roof. Many fixed nuts. Scruffy. 10d

Pull into the powerful traversing undercling and onto a sloping ledge. Did you think it was over?...nope! Continue up the steeply overhanging groove/chimney. Like vertical break dancing...
11c/d

The third pitch may be the best 5.11a in town. 35m of steep laybacking and finger locks are rewarded by a traverse to a cool stump/gear belay. 11a

Layback on great finger locks to a chimney/off-width and on to a ledge after some face moves.10c

A thin n' crimpy seam leads to a crux hand traverse. Face climb to the ledge. You're done. 11a


Three raps from the last anchor will get you back down to the ground. Pay attention to the third, and final, station way out (climbers) right...it's easy to miss. Walk down a steep trail from a treed ledge to the start. Go drink a beer.



If you can finish "The Calling" after this; it's official, you're fit.

Many belay bolts need to be replaced and repositioned IMO. Any volunteers?




Location 

North Walls. Approach via Angels Crest and cut left across the scree of the north gully at a cairn by the start of The Crest. Walk 30m past Astrologger and thrutch up some dirty, loose blocks and a ratty fixed line.


Protection 

Gear to #3 Camalot, doubles from .5 to #2. 2 green and yellow aliens each and a selection of medium stoppers. 8 long runners.

2 60m ropes for descent. Can also be descended by foot to the North-North Gulley



Photos of Alaska Highway Slideshow Add Photo
hello
hello
Second pitch
Second pitch
knee bar makes the last crux section a breeze
knee bar makes the last crux section a breeze
confident flared chimney work on pitch 3
confident flared chimney work on pitch 3
pitch 3
pitch 3
pitch 3
pitch 3
hand jams and jugs rule!
hand jams and jugs rule!
Starting up p2
Starting up p2
Comments on Alaska Highway Add Comment
Show which comments
By Monica Jones
Aug 7, 2010

This is the burliest climb I have gotten on to date, I'm pretty sure. I could only attempt to lead one pitch, the 4th 10c pitch, and fell out of the offwidth chimney heinously. Really wild, wide but not wide all at the same time. Full body workout.

By Scott W
From: Flagstaff, AZ
May 24, 2011
rating: 5.11d 7a 24 VIII E5 6a

Pretty sure the guide book gives this 11d and it's solid for the grade. No actual 11d climbing on it, but it's so physical it will leave you feeling beat to hell. There's a full no hands rest after the gnar, I sat on it and drank water for a 5 minutes before climbing the last 15 feet to the chains.

By claramie
From: Boulder, CO
Aug 29, 2011

Wow, Alaska Highway is a sick route! The tree start is the hardest tree to rock climbing I've found in squamish yet (if the tree start variation to angel's crest were 5.10 tree, this is 5.11 tree with a full wood finger lock and a half-tree-half-rock full weight hand jam to get onto the rock). Then next up you have the crux overhaning groove corner, and it's the real deal... both hard and intimidating (though safe and excellent). I was fully drenched with sweat at 9am in the shade and cool temps by the end of this one. The next 5.11 pitch continues to be kinda burly, especially if you swing leads and start the pitch pumped out of your mind like I did. The next 5.10+ pitch is power liebacking. The next 5.11 thin pitch is kinda in your face and thin, then to runout 5.8 to Astro Ledge and bolted chains at the start of Yukon Gold on Astro Ledge. Be ready for it and go hard!

We continued up Northern Lights (which we'll probably add that/the calling as its own entry here) but know that the last 3 pitches are pretty damn dirty and not great. The 2001 Mclane guidebook shows that a shorter version called Southern Lights ends with P3 of The Calling (the 5.10 chimney roof) and I highly recommend stopping there and rapping back to Astro Ledge.