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South Continental Tower
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Continental Drifters T 

Continental Drifters 

YDS: 5.11a French: 6c Ewbanks: 22 UIAA: VII+ ZA: 22 British: E3 5c

   
Type:  Trad, Alpine, 7 pitches, 1100', Grade IV
Consensus:  YDS: 5.11a French: 6c Ewbanks: 22 UIAA: VII+ ZA: 22 British: E3 5c [details]
FA: Trevor Bowman, Nick Stayner 8/11/07
New Route: Yes
Season: Late Summer
Page Views: 1,133
Submitted By: Nick Stayner on Aug 14, 2007

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Walter and the Dude on the summit. Photo Trevor Bo...

Description 

Amazing rock, varied climbing, outstanding setting and seclusion all speak in favor of this route!

P1: Wander up slabby rock to a right-facing corner. Climb it to near the top and set a belay on a small ledge/stance out right. 5.8, 180'
P2: Leave the main right facing corner to access a nicer crack to the left shortly after leaving the belay. As the crack ends, move back right into the main right facing corner and continue to a stance beneath a downward-pointing flake that forms a small roof. Belay 15' below this flake at a stance. 5.8, 100'
P3: Follow great chickenheads and other faceholds up and left, aiming for the central right-facing corner of three. Climb up the corner to the roof and undercling and jam around it on the right. Continue up the crack system (which is set in the back of a chimney-type feature) to a good ledge beneath a large corner. 5.10a, 150'
P4: Make a reachy move to a knob and begin face climbing. Traverse left on good faceholds to a right facing corner, eventually reaching a horizontal break. At the break's left end, follow a splitter rattly finger crack through a steep section, eventually reaching better jams. Continue up to a great ledge beneath a right-facing wall with paralell cracks. 5.11a, 120'
P5: Continue up the double cracks to their end, and climb a short handcrack to a broad talus ledge beneath a chimney with a handcrack in its back. 5.8, 100'
P6: Locate a crack in the back of a shallow chimney that pulls through a small roof about 40' above the belay ledge. Pull through this roof and continue up ever-easier terrain to the summit of the buttress. This pitch is probably part of the Kelsey/Horton Northwest Arete route. 5.8, 200'
P7: Walk across talus to the summit pinnacle. Locate the beautiful crack & corner line on the southeast side of the summit pinnacle. Climb it to the top, reaching a piton and nut anchor. FULL 70 meter pitch, outstanding varied climbing. Convenient spots exist for a belay near the top if you're using 60 m ropes, but you'll have to do 2 raps. 5.10-, 240'




Location 

The route's location is best described in the picture. Locate a series of right facing corners on the buttress. Wander up slabs and talus to reach the base of the buttress. Allow 40-60 minutes from Little Sandy Creek to the base.
The final pitch on the summit tower reaches a rappel anchor.
IMPORTANT: It is a full 70 M double rope rappel to the ground from this anchor. You'll have to do two raps with 60s.
Walk down the broad talus gully to the south of the buttress.

Protection 

Our rack:
IMPORTANT if you do the summit tower pitch: 70 M ropes were used on the ascent. See route description and descent info.
Double set of cams from blue TCUs to #2 camalots
1 ea. .1, .2, 3, 4 camalots
1 set of nuts
12 slings
Placed the 4 a couple of times, but probably don't need it. 15 slings would probably have been better.


Photos of Continental Drifters Slideshow Add Photo
The route on the summit pinnacle.
BETA PHOTO: The route on the summit pinnacle.
Bowman starting the 5th pitch.
BETA PHOTO: Bowman starting the 5th pitch.
Trevor Bowman in the clean corner first pitch.
BETA PHOTO: Trevor Bowman in the clean corner first pitch.
Trevor Bowman heading left on pitch 3. Serendipito...
BETA PHOTO: Trevor Bowman heading left on pitch 3. Serendipito...
The route on the lower buttress. Summit pinnacle p...
BETA PHOTO: The route on the lower buttress. Summit pinnacle p...
Trevor leading up the 7th pitch, on the summit pin...
BETA PHOTO: Trevor leading up the 7th pitch, on the summit pin...
Nick Stayner on more clean corners, pitch 2. Trevo...
BETA PHOTO: Nick Stayner on more clean corners, pitch 2. Trevo...

Comments on Continental Drifters Add Comment
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By Charles Chace
Aug 3, 2010

I rope-soloed this route last week. Its definitely worth doing if you've done some of the more classic stuff in the Winds and you're looking for some privacy. The beta posted by the FA team is pretty much spot on. I didn't think the final crack pitch was all the beautiful but, as advertised, it was fun to climb. I came to the end of my rope about 30 feet short of the summit and 3rd classed to the top. So there's now a good anchor for those w/out a 70m cord, or booty for those adequately endowed.

One thought, however, concerns the approach. Its one of the most tedious that I've done. If I ever go back in there, I'll come in from Big Sandy over Temple pass. That's a casual hike from Deep Lake and much more scenic. It may even be shorter. I walked right up to the South side of Temple pass and it seemed like a much nicer camping spot, certainly less buggy. Still only a 45 minute hike to the base of the towers.

Apropos of which, has anything been done on the Middle tower?

Chip Chace