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Lower East Face
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Alexander's Chimney T 
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Stettner's Ledges T 

Kor's Door 

YDS: 5.9- French: 5c Ewbanks: 17 UIAA: VI ZA: 16 British: HVS 4c

   
Type:  Trad, Alpine, 4 pitches, 550', Grade II
Consensus:  YDS: 5.9- French: 5c Ewbanks: 17 UIAA: VI ZA: 16 British: HVS 4c [details]
FA: Kor and Hough, 1958
Page Views: 9,383
Submitted By: Steve Levin on Jul 14, 2002

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Third pitch of Kor's Door; Tom Gries on ...

Description 

Kor's Door climbs the clean buttress just left of Stettner's Ledges in 3-5 pitches of exquisite crack climbing on perfect alpine rock. This is a great route at the 5.9 grade, well-protected, secure, and interesting. The rock quality is flawless from bottom to top.

From the broad basin at Mill's Glacier head to the broken Class 4 ledge systems right of Lamb's Slide. Wear a helmet, and if crossing below The Notch area move quickly since rocks come whizzing by here all the time. You will most likely have to cross some snow and/or ice to reach the toe of the buttress. Once on the broken buttress you are shielded from rock fall. Scramble up the buttress to a perfect grassy ledge below the obvious rectangular inset with a large flake poised at it's lower left. The perfect diagonal crack to your right is Malander's Passage.

Pitch 1: Move up and right, heading for the crack and corner system on the right side of the inset. You will pass the large detached flake on your left. Climb through a small roof at a handcrack (5.9-) and belay 30 or so feet higher at a small stance.

Pitch 2: Continue up the crack past several fixed pins through a second small roof. Optional belay on the left. With a 60m rope you can continue up and right into a thin right-facing corner to a ledge and belay. You can even move to a higher ledge, and the end of the steep climbing, in a single 60m pitch.

Pitch 3: Many ways to exit. Move into the large right-facing corners on the right (you are now on Stettner's) and continue to Broadway with a bit of simul-climbing.

Head right on Broadway and cross below the Notch to hit Kiener's and the route to the summit. If you don't want to go up and over Long's you will need 2 ropes to rap Crack of Delight below the Diamond. There may be rap anchors in Alexander's Chimney. Or make a day of it and tag the summit, then descend the North Face.

If you want to avoid the simul-climbing and climb shorter pitches, no problem, there are plenty of places to stop and belay. This would result in about 5 pitches of climbing to reach Broadway.

One strategy for this climb is to go light, one rope, a light rack, and each climber carry a light pack. Once on Broadway, put on your approach shoes and pack away the gear (although you may want to keep the rope out for the first 150 feet of Kiener's) and shoot for the top.


Protection 

1 set wires to #3 Friend. Slings. There are a number of fixed pins on the route.



Photos of Kor's Door Slideshow Add Photo
Mike Amato nearing the top of the second pitch, with Lambs Slide and Mills Glacier below.
Mike Amato nearing the top of the second pitch, wi...
Mike Amato below the big snowfield on Broadway.  Photo taken on 8/1/04. This snowfield lies below the Windows/Obelisk routes, and blocks access from the top of Kor's Door over to the Crack of Delight rappels. <br /> <br />Red dots show our route. Most of this section was wet and loose. Just after a short downclimb on the snow (not too difficult, but icy at the bottom) was a particularly slippery, loose and dangerous section marked by yellow dots. <br /> <br />Mike soloed this, and had a mini-avalanche let loose under one of his feet.  He got across safely and then belayed me over. <br /> <br />Traversing from the top of Kor's Door to the Crack of Delight rappels is NOT recommended: too many wet, loose, and dangerous spots (most with no anchors to belay) in addition to the one shown in the photo.
Mike Amato below the big snowfield on Broadway. P...
The big picture, showing the approach, climb, and descent. <br /> <br />Green dots: the approach to the foot of Lambs Slide from Chasm Lake. <br /> <br />Cyan dots: the approach to Kor's Door from the foot of Lamb's Slide. <br /> <br />Yellow dots: the belays on the Kor's Door climb. <br /> <br />Red dots: the traverse of Broadway to the Crack of Delight rappels (not recommended). <br /> <br />Magenta dots: the Crack of Delight rappels. <br /> <br />Blue dots: the descent back to the foot of Lamb's Slide.
BETA PHOTO: The big picture, showing the approach, climb, and ...
Pennie Schwalm entering the dihedral on the first pitch.
Pennie Schwalm entering the dihedral on the first ...
Tom Gries on Kor's Door in 1974; possibly the first free ascent.  Approaching the first roof, pitch 1.
Tom Gries on Kor's Door in 1974; possibl...
Errett at the crux of pitch 2 in the description.
Errett at the crux of pitch 2 in the description.
Mike Amato starting up the thin right-facing 5.8 corner on the third pitch.  It's easier than it looks, with good finger locks and stem holds.
Mike Amato starting up the thin right-facing 5.8 c...
Christa grappling with the crux roof.
Christa grappling with the crux roof.
Tommy about to polish off our brief version of P1 (see comments) on Kor's Door.
Tommy about to polish off our brief version of P1 ...
The approach to Kor's Door from the foot of Lambs Slide.  Photo taken 8/1/04. We stashed our extra gear here, and continued on carrying just what we were taking up the climb. <br /> <br />From here, it took us about 45 minutes to reach the start of the climb. <br /> <br />An ice axe was helpful, but not essential, for the initial snow section. My partner crossed the snow in his rock shoes, kicking toeholds, with no ice axe.  I had rock shoes on as well, and was glad I had an ice axe.  Next time, I'll wear my approach shoes!
BETA PHOTO: The approach to Kor's Door from the foot of Lambs ...
Mike Amato below the start of the route. The prominent inset on the first pitch is directly above Mike.  The start of the climb and the first three belays are shown by yellow dots.
Mike Amato below the start of the route. The promi...
Mike Amato at Chasm Lake on the hike in to Kor's Door.  Photo taken 8/1/04.  The start and end of Kor's Door are shown by yellow dots.  The Notch Couloir is just to the right of our finish.  The red dot shows the start of the Crack of Delight rappels (not recommended as a descent from Kor's Door due to wet, loose, and dangerous conditions traversing Broadway  to the right of the Notch Couloir). <br /> <br />The finish shown is appropriate if you're continuing up Kiener's; alternate finishes which end up farther left are appropriate if you're descending via Lambs Slide or the Alexander's Direct rappels.
Mike Amato at Chasm Lake on the hike in to Kor's D...
Kor's Door with the Hornsby Direct finish, the way Mike Amato and I climbed it on 8/1/04.  The traverse right on the last pitch is appropriate only if you're continuing up Kiener's; otherwise head up and left to descend via Lambs Slide or the Alexander Direct rappels.  See Stettner's Ledges for info on this descent. <br /> <br />From the end of our last pitch, we unroped and did a harrowing traverse right on Broadway to the Crack of Delight rappels; this is NOT recommended, as it is loose, <br />wet and dangerous in many spots.
BETA PHOTO: Kor's Door with the Hornsby Direct finish, the way...
Mike Amato turning the crux roof on the first pitch.  Bomber hand jams and good footholds make the move 5.9- at most.
Mike Amato turning the crux roof on the first pitc...
Comments on Kor's Door Add Comment
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By Ron Olsen
From: Boulder, CO
Jul 20, 2004
rating: 5.9- 5c 17 VI 16 HVS 4c

Does anyone know the current conditions on Broadway getting from the top of Kor's Door over to the Crack of Delight rappel route? Any snow or ice to deal with? The area below Window Direct and Hypotenuse looks like it might be a problem.

By justin dubois
From: Estes Park
Jul 20, 2004

That little hanging snowfield below the Window and The Obelisk was pretty big as of Thursday 7/15.might suck getting down that. The rest of Broadway from there is fine, almost completly snowfree. Don't know about he far left side above the East Face.

By Ron Olsen
From: Boulder, CO
Aug 2, 2004
rating: 5.9- 5c 17 VI 16 HVS 4c

A superb and aesthetic climb, marred only by a long approach and problematic descent.

We stashed extra gear at the foot of Lamb's Slide, and continued up in rock shoes, leaving our approach shoes behind. This was probably a mistake, making the initial snow crossing more difficult. We brought ice axes, and I used mine on this initial snow section. My partner did not use his axe, but kicked toe-holds with his rock shoes. Once we got to the rock, we had a half-hour 3rd- and 4th-class scramble up to the start of the route. See the photos for details on the approach and climbing route.

From Long's Peak trailhead to the start of the climb took us 5.5 hours, with about an hour spent at several rest breaks and gearing up for the climb. A faster party could shave an hour or two off our time.

The climbing on the first three pitches was excellent: solid rock, good moves, continuous difficulty at the 5.7-5.8 level, with two brief cruxes that felt no more than 5.9-, even carrying a pack. Our rack was a set of wired nuts, 5 tricams, a set of Aliens (black to red), and a set of Camalots from #.5 to #3. An extra #2 Camalot came in handy several times. We also brought extra smaller cams but did not use them. As Steve mentions, there are several fixed pins on the route. We climbed on double 8.5mm x 60m ropes.

We split the pitches up a bit differently than Steve did:

1. Up a right-angling ramp to the right side of the inset, up the corner and turn the roof on the right. Belay at a small stance 30' above the roof (5.9-, 160').

2. Up a crack to a roof, turn the roof on the right, and continue up to a good ledge on the left with a fixed pin. (5.9-, 70').

3. Up a crack to a thin right-facing corner. Climb the corner, then work left and up to the big ledge at the end of the Alexander's traverse (5.8, 80'). This pitch looks hard and thin from below, but the pro is good and the climbing is moderate.

4. Up and right, heading for the right-facing corners of the Hornsby Direct. Follow the corner mentioned in the Stettner's Ledges write-up. Continue up the corner to the end of the steep climbing and belay at a small stance (5.8, 190').

5. Up a right-facing corner to a roof, then traverse right to a grassy ledge. Continue right and up to Broadway. (5.5, 190'). We ran the rope out on this pitch, since we were headed to the Crack of Delight rappels. If you're heading to Lambs Slide or the Alexander's Direct rappels (see Stettner's Ledges), you would want to finish farther left than we did.

Time on the route: 4.5 hours.

Now for the problematic descent. We decided to do the Crack of Delight rappels, which turned out to be a big mistake. It would have been better to continue on Kiener's and descend the north face. It also would have been better to do the Alexander's Direct rappels or descend Lamb's Slide.

Once on Broadway, we unroped and traversed over to the Crack of Delight rappels. Getting to the Notch Couloir was fairly easy, but as we continued north, conditions got progressively worse. The difficulties culminated when we got to the big snowfield below the Windows and Obelisk routes. We carefully downclimbed loose, wet scree beside the snowfield. Near the bottom of the snowfield, we had to downclimb on snow for about 20 feet. This wasn't too difficult since the snow was fairly soft, but I was glad to have an ice axe. There was an icy patch at the bottom that required care.

The next section, just below the snowfield, was wet, loose and dangerous. My partner sololed it; a foothold gave way and he was able to hold onto a wet rock to prevent a fatal slip. He got to the rock wall, set up an anchor and belayed me across. See the photo for details. We also belayed the exposed 50' rock traverse from here over to the Casual Route area. The traverse was easy, but a slip would have been fatal. Doing the traverse in wet rock shoes didn't inspire confidence.

We finally got to the Crack of Delight rappels 1.5 hours after starting the traverse of Broadway. The rappels were excellent: four solid bolt anchors. Here are the details:

1. From the bivy cave just left of the start of the Casual Route, walk down and north on a grassy ledge to the first anchor. Rappel 100' and angle to the rappeller's right to get to the next anchor.

2. Rappel 150' straight down. Pull the rope to the right to avoid the chimney on the left.

3. Rappel 150' down a slab, and angle to the rappeller's right to a stance at the edge of a gully. I missed the anchors when I went down, and had to climb up the gully for 30' to get to the anchors.

4. Rappel 100' straight down to a ledge just above Mills Glacier.

Time on the Crack of Delight rappels: 45 minutes.

From here, a fun glissade down Mills Glacier and some talus hopping got us back to our stashed gear at the foot of Lambs Slide.

The hike back to the trailhead took 2 hours, 20 minutes from here, going at a much faster pace than we hiked in.

A great route; well worth doing. Just be sure you have your descent plan figured out before you start up.

By Anonymous Coward
Aug 2, 2004

Ron - Great beta photos and comments.Thanks!

By Christa Cline
Aug 9, 2004
rating: 5.9- 5c 17 VI 16 HVS 4c

What a stellar route, absolutely beautiful. Clean, great rock, solid. Ron's excellent description above says it all, I can only agree. I thought the route to be an easy 5.9, maybe even a 5.8+. We chose the Alexander's Chimney descent, a very viable option to consider. Check out the description under that route.

By Jim Berg
Aug 16, 2004
rating: 5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c

With a 60-meter rope it's only 2 leads up to the Traverse on Alexander's chimney. One can do the traverse on Alexander's in reverse & rap from below the big chockstone to a good rap station on the west wall of the chimney. You need two ropes for this or you need to be prepared to fix an old rap station 1/2 down the rap from below the chockstone. It is then one short rap to the ledge system Kor's Door starts on. If the chimney was dry it would be an easy down climb, but it's always wet in there. Real straight forward climbing on Kor's Door. If you know how to climb crack, it is not 5.9. More like 5.8 in my opinion, but maybe the fact that you can put in pro anywhere along the route took the bite out of it.

By Armin
From: Arvada, CO
Jul 28, 2006

Did this route and have some things to add: Maybe it was me, but the crux was very wet and felt right on or maybe 9+ (probably because it was so wet). Secondly, we rapped Alexander's, and we had a near epic for several hours after trying the recommended double rope rappels and being unable to pull our ropes from one of the chockstone rappel anchors. The chimney soaked us and our skinny ropes, which I'm guessing is why we could not pull our ropes (due to our rope being soaked and impossible to pull). I ended up have to prussik/climb back up the chimney to get the rope, and then rap from a crappy intermediate station. I added a biner and quickdraw which made it a little better. It was kind of terrifying, and the worst rap I've ever done. So, if you do this rap, a single 70m rope (which we had, with our skinny tag line) is you best option and using the intermediate rap station. Other than that, great route! Single set cams from black Alien to #3. Doubles from .5-#2 BD to sew it up.

By Mike C. Robinson
From: Rumney, NH
Aug 3, 2007

Great Route. did it the second time! I would suggest using one single 60 meter rope to get up and down this via Alexander's Chimney. No rope drag and much faster this way. Time is everything up here.

By Aaron Martinuzzi
Aug 14, 2009
rating: 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a

Kor's Door is a spectacular route at the 5.9 grade. Don't let any of these MP sandbaggers convince you it's 9minus! I felt this route - and granted I whipped on it a year ago - is solid 5.9 through both roofs with attention-grabbing climbing in between. My partner and I pitched it out thusly, allowing for a non-5.9 leader and a 5.9 leader to swap pitches:

P1: Climb up the low angled corner, past a piton and around the flake to belay at the base of the left-facing corner system. 5.6, 45 ft.

P2: Climb the left-facing corner through the roof (5.9), and continue up the face/thin cracks above to a right facing corner. Continue through the 2nd roof at 5.9 with several fixed pins along the way, moving slightly left after clearing the roof and up to a nice belay ledge (w/ fixed pin). 5.9, ~200 ft.

P3: Move up broken cracks immediately above the belay to a right facing corner. Ascend this to a decent ledge and stretch the rope out up blocky 5.5 terrain to a suitable ledge at the base of a right-facing flake system. There's an old bolt at the ledge that could be utilized in an anchor if needed, and a piton in the flakes/cracks just above. 5.8, 170 ft.

P4: Hornsby Direct. Move up the easy flake, clipping the pin along the way, reaching the ledge-y top of the flake. Step right and ascend parallel right-facing dihedrals (right of a leaning RF dihedral) moving between them as difficulty and protection demand. Belay from cracks above a boulder on Broadway. 5.8, Felt long - 170 ft? Could be less.

Finishing via Hornsby Direct was, for us, necessitated by our position on the wall too far right to move easily toward the Yellow Bowl at the end of P3. However, taking this line of ascent makes, arguably for more of a rock climb - Kor's Door is short, and instead of a couple (or one long) 5.9 pitches amidst easier climbing, the HD finish stretches out the route and keeps it a bit more sustained, and fun, than scurrying over loose-ish easy stuff to the Yellow Bowl.

DESCENT BETA: We moved left (south) along Broadway to the top of Alexander's Chimney, which can be rappeled with a 70m rope in 4 raps.

Rap 1: From just below Broadway (2 pin, 1 nut anchor with slings) rappel 100ish feet to a slung horn/nut anchor.
Rap 2: Another 100+ feet from the large horn down the face, past a station, and behind a large, slung chockstone to a ledge.
Rap 3: From a small slung chockstone/nut anchor at the ledge, rappel over the edge and down the chimney. At a stance about ~118 ft. down, carefully slide off the end your ropes (!!!) and clip some tat on a piton/I-beam-shaped-chock anchor on the north (climber's right) wall.
Rap 4: Keep rappelling down the chimney another 115 ft. to ledge-y terrain. Stop near the end of the rope, clipping into a down-ward driven pin in a ledge at head height to pull and coil up your rope.

From here, descend right (north) down 4th class ledges, encountering a couple 5.0-5.2 steps along the way back to the bottom of Lamb's Slide. This line of descent climbs right below the Door, and so is a reasonable descent for those leaving gear at the bottom of the climb. These rappels could be completed easily with double 50s or 60s, and could be managed with a single 60m rope - there are many intermediate stations and fixed pins (keep your eyes open) along the chimney that could be utilized for making 100' rappels. If rappelling with one 60, bring some extra slings, rap rings, and maybe extra nuts to beef up some of manky stations along the chimney.

This rappel route is undoubtedly quicker than traversing Broadway all the way to the Crack of Delight, especially if you leave gear at the base of the climb. Be warned, though, the Chimney is very wet, and your rope will probably be sopping (mine was) no matter how hard you try to keep it out of the small waterfall. This line of ascent/descent took my partner and I less than 5.5 hours, and we weren't moving particularly fast.

By Luke Clarke
From: Golden
Sep 7, 2011

My partner and I were able to do this line and Hornsby Direct to Broadway in three pitches with 60m ropes.
End pitch one just over the first roof, as described.
Stretch pitch two past the shallow 5.8 dihedral and go up and left on ledges as far as possible.
Third pitch requires 30 or 40 feet of simul-climbing. The bottom guy is on easy 5.4 ledges and the leader is on maybe 5.8 face climbing.

By David A. Turner
Aug 13, 2013

No need for complicated descent beta. Best exit strategy: One rope/one pack, Kiener's, Summit, N. Face, Camel, retrieve second pack stashed at bivy sites, car, beer.