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P1 - Ascend the right-hand most of 3 right facing dihedrals by climbing a 5.8 slab in a right facing dihedral. At a point where the two right most dihedrals converge step up and left over 5.9 folds, traverse left 30' above or below a bushy ledge to two prominent 30' tall right angling ramps that pass a small roof on the left, climbing the left hand ramp. Belay on a large grassy bench below the now prominent south buttress. - 5.9, 200'
P2 - Step left 10' and work up a 5.7 off-width just left of the prow and continue up a wide crack for 50'. At the grassy ledge above, step left again and climb an easy hand crack that turns into a delightful finger crack above another small step. Follow it up and right across the face and belay on the right side of the prow in a right facing corner. 5.7, 180'
P3 - Boulder up over a 6' flake moving right to a crack. Step left on the ledge above, climb a broken hand crack above the undercut and at an alcove move right. Climb a crack that starts in a left facing dihedral and becomes the obvious splitter hand crack in the south facing summit arete. Fire up the long hand crack (crux) and arrive on the summit ridge gendarmes. 5.10a, 170'
The balanced rock - ArrowHead itself is 100' north along the broke ridge, past 3 gendarmes. Climbability of balanced rock is unknown, but the two sides we saw looked extremely difficult.
Descent: (there is some very old tat webbing up on the 3rd gendarme wedged along a loose chock) but don't go there. Instead: after descending the back side of a deep cleft in a chimney, traverse through two massive stones and from the 2nd gendarme drop down 10' to the east and traverse down along a large sloping ledge, northeast 100'. Find a 3' horn out on the end of the precipice. Sling the horn for a 160' rappel to the gully, above which you started. Scramble down 4th class grasses ledges to the start.
Approach: after passing Black Lake on the right and ascending the standard grassy slope, head up and right through a series of grassy ledges and slabs or directly up the gully/chimney - either way is 4th Class. Always keep the Arrowhead Spire and its SE gully to your left, although climbing the gully IS the most direct approach. Continue up talus and grassy steep slope to the bottom of the cirque, which lies immediately right/north of the Spire.
Gear up at a point where a long horizontal krumholtz tree island lines a small ledge at the base of the slabs directly below the Arrowhead Spire proper and its southeast apron. As is typical in alpine zones, some lichen, granola and loose rock will be encountered.
Descent: (there is some very old tat webbing up on the 3rd gendarme wedged along a loose chock) but don't go there. Instead: after descending the back side of a deep cleft in a chimney, on the 2nd gendarme, pass through two massive stones and from the 3rd gendarme drop down 10' to the east and traverse down along a large, wide sloping ledge, northeast 100'. Find a 3' horn out on the end of the ledge above the precipice. Sling the horn for a 160' rappel to the gully, above which you started. Scramble down 4th class grasses ledges to the start.
Standard single rack with doubles in #1, #2, #3 Camalots.
A better view of the route.
Approaching the climb from somewhat farther to the...
The crux pitch.
On the "summit" of the Lost Arrowhead?
|Comments on Lost Arrowhead
|By George Bell|
From: Boulder, CO
Aug 27, 2006
This sounds like the same route I climbed in 2003 with Bernard Gillett, although we started farther left the crux pitch sounds identical. I'll post some photos and you can judge if it is the same. I would guess somebody did it even earlier because of the webbing tat.
|By Greg Sievers|
From: Estes Park, CO
Sep 15, 2006
Hey George; long time no contact. Yup, I emailed w/ Bernard last month with much the same comment. Didn't know you were tied to him, but the stemming pic is a dead give-away, yup, that's the same one. Bernard had suggested it might be. No surprise, it's too obvious a line to have waited this long for an ascent, and I also concur that the old webbing indicates previous activity. So, I'll have to review this site, and see about changing the FA over to you 2. So, tell us all how you got on top of the 'head'. Inquiring minds want to know.
|By George Bell|
From: Boulder, CO
Sep 15, 2006
That last photo is deceiving, because it does not show the final pinnacle or balanced rock, but rather is looking back at one of the gendarmes. It is easy to climb this gendarme from the other side, which is where you come up. I remember there was a piece of old webbing somewhere near the top of this gendarme.
|By Bernard Gillett|
Sep 15, 2006
George and I didn't summit the final block. After the 5.10 pitch, he led a traversing pitch along the gendarmes, on the east side, and arrived at the base of the last, tallest tower. As I followed, I decided it would be a good idea to climb to the top of something -- the weather was starting to erode, and we weren't sure we were up for an attack on the last block anyway (we had both studied it on previous trips to the area). So, I climbed to the pinnacle in the picture, George snapped a shot, and then I joined him at the belay. From that spot, on the notch at the south side of the summit block, there was a line of four (?) old pitons (a ring angle among them, I believe) going up a beautiful finger crack on the SW corner of the block. It looked fabulous, and 5.11-ish is what I recall (based only on looking at it). It led to a horizontal crack going north along the west side; this turns into a ledge further on. My guess is that the crux comes next: a 5-6 inch (??) crack leads for 40 feet to the top. George has a picture (that he could post if he wants) of the summit block taken from the NW, and from above. It shows a summit littered with loose rubble, and no signs of a rappel station. One scenario I've imagined: a party in the late 1960s climbs essentially the route we all did, maybe employing a bit of aid through the 5.10 section, and then starts nailing up the beautiful finger crack. Upon arriving at the base of the last wide crack, they say, "Crap! We have no gear that will work for this crack -- time to call a retreat." So they back off, down aiding the finger crack, maybe leaving some pins for a future attempt. Or maybe they could have climbed the wide crack, but the hanging blocks at its top scared them away? Or maybe they summitted, and we can't see their rappel station...
In any case, I don't think we did a FA of anything (perhaps a FFA), and the last summit tower may have been climbed. I think Fricke's guide may make some mention of a party climbing (or attempting) the arrowhead itself.
We went west from the notch to descend: stay roped and downclimb a short wall on the west side, about 25 feet south of the belay, and then traverse easy ledges along the base of the west face of the summit block, until reaching the north side. From here we unroped, scrambled up to the Summit Ramp (described in my guide) and hiked out.