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Mt. Meeker
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Dragon's Egg Couloir Ski Descent 
Flying Buttress, The T 
Main Vein T 

Main Vein 

YDS: 5.11 French: 6c+ Ewbanks: 23 UIAA: VIII- ZA: 23 British: E4 5c

   
Type:  Trad, Alpine, 4 pitches, Grade III
Consensus:  YDS: 5.11 French: 6c+ Ewbanks: 23 UIAA: VIII- ZA: 23 British: E4 5c [details]
FA: Steve McCorkle, Moe Hershoff, Forrest Noble 1994
Page Views: 2,502
Submitted By: Mike Sofranko on Jun 10, 2001

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BETA PHOTO: Main Vein 5.11

Description 

OK, I'll come right out and say that I haven't climbed the entire route. Even if I had been feeling 100%, we would have bailed anyway because a marmot was stealing/eating my partners hiking shoes and socks. That hike out would have been quite painful in climbing shoes...

This route is located well to the left of the Flying Buttress on an impressive concave wall that faces the Diamond. It's orientation means that it is shaded until early afternoon. We were there in the morning in the early season, and froze. In a period of cool stable weather, you can do something like sleep in, leave the trailhead at 9 am or so, and be climbing when the sun comes around.

P1. The first pitch (5.6ish) follows a right facing flake, then heads up and left following a corner system to a large ledge system. You will have to cross some snow to reach the rock in the early season.

P2. The second pitch follows some bolts through an impressive looking roof. Step left from the bolted anchor, and boulder up the tricky face to the first bolt. Get a TCU or two in under the roof, and then reach up and clip the bolt over the lip to the right. If you're onsighting this pitch, expect a solid to hard 5.11 effort, and remember to follow the holds not the bolts. I'd be wary of placing a larger cam in the roof itself. Once situated above the roof, follow the crack/corner/flake system up and left, then step right to a bolted belay on a narrow ledge. If you end up lowering back to the starting ledge from the bolt over the roof (either leading or seconding), you're in good company.

That's as far as I got, though I'm definitely going to go back and complete the job. The third pitch (5.11) begins to the left of the anchor - follow a couple bolts up the face, aim for an arch, pass another bolt, and head up right to the bolted anchor. The fourth pitch (5.10+) follows a conspicuous corner to the top of the wall and is apparently spectacular.

Per Josh Janes: P3: Again extend the anchor out left. Step up off the belay ledge and perform thin 5.10 moves past two bolts. Continue up and left on runout 5.9+/5.10- climbing to a rest ledge. Head straight up and out the right side of an arch and pass another bolt (difficult moves here). Wander up and back right on more run outs to a final bolt and cruxy move. Belay at a bolted anchor. 5.11- PG/R, 120'

Per Josh Janes: P4: Head straight left off of the belay and follow a discontinuous corner up to a roof below the obvious huge, hanging, right-facing corner at the top of the wall. Step up into the corner and climb it to the top. Coldshuts out left. This is an amazing pitch. 5.10, 150'.

You can rap from the top of P2 with a single 60M rope. Two ropes are required to rap the entire route, although the walkoff isn't too long. The approach takes a little longer than going to the Flying Buttress, and the talus is loose and trailess. FWIW, out of a dozen or so routes I've done in RMNP, I've only had trouble with marmots here and at the Flying Buttress (one ate a hole in my hat).

Protection 

SR through fists. TCUs useful.


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By Charles Vernon
From: Tucson, AZ
Aug 2, 2001

Ah yes, the Marmots(tm)...one of them ate a good portion of my Flying Butt partner's shoes (after dragging them out of his zipped pack, off course). The only other problem I've had with them was in one of the bivy caves above Chasm Lake--they unzipped my partner's pack, and stole, among other things, his Guiness, which we found lying nearby, completely drained.
By Mike Sofranko
Aug 6, 2001

FWIW, this route was established ground up. The bolted seam (5.12) to the left of P2 was also climbed ground up.
By Brian Milhaupt
From: Golden, CO
Apr 5, 2002

I also had my hiking boots gnawed on! I thought it was those bastardly crows that swoop in on my ramen minutes after I not so craftily hide my pack before Diamond routes. Now that I think about it, sweaty leather would be a tasty marmot treat.
By David A. Turner
Jul 12, 2002
rating: 5.11 6c+ 23 VIII- 23 E4 5c

The key to doing this route is finding the right atmospheric conditions.Getting there early means probable cold temperatures. Getting there later, means probable lightning storms.I approached this climb three times trying both tactics and was skunked each time. The fourth time was the charm. We arrived early but it was too cold. The day was splitter so we hung out at the base until the sun hit the wall, about 1 p.m. on July 11.

I thought the 3rd pitch contained both the technical and psychological crux (5.11c). Expect some dicey climbing. The fourth pitch was a very clean, steep, long, well protected dihedral (5.11a). It reminded me of a Yosemite pitch.

The only negative comment on the route is the second bolt on the second pitch. It is not in the right location being both hard to clip and sandbagging the climber onto bad holds. Otherwise, this is a great route. Varied climbing on good to excellent rock.
By Steve McCorkel
Jul 10, 2005

The Marmot story from the victim...

All who [knew] Mike loved him well and many miss him. His contributions and short-lived experiences were adding up quickly. And it saddens me to know that, among other things, Mike never got the chance to try this route again.

As I was belaying Mike up the second pitch, I notice the varmint scrounging through my stuff. When I saw that he had my shoe and was making off with it, I started lobbing rocks over Mike's head (I could tell Mike [knew] this was useless, but fun to watch) to the talus below in an effort to stave of the scavenger. When the rocks crashed on the boulders below, it only deterred Mr. Yellow Belly for a second or two at the most. He immediately went back to carting my shoe away. The only thing I could do, was to watch him closely to see where he was going with it. I spied him head toward and under a flat boulder about 45' down the talus field. I memorized the location, and when we reach the base I retraced the scoundrel's steps, reached under the boulder, felt around and to the amazement and skepticism of Mike, pulled out my shoe. With a sly smile of my own, I notice an inordinate amount of slobber and only half the tongue eaten. I could almost hear the family of little Marmots whimper and bark as their summer feast was snatched away from them, while Mike commented on how difficult it would have been to, "walk out with only one boot and one climbing shoe". Really?

I'm planning on adding to the sustained ness of this climb with a variation dedicated and named after Mike - for his witty humor and astute observations.
By Josh Janes
Jul 16, 2006

Full Disclosure:

P1: Climb an easy and obvious right-facing wide flake for a little over 100' to a good ledge below the roof. Belay at a pair of bolts. 5.6, 100'.

P2: Extend the anchor left 10' so you have a good rope line to the first bolt. Step up, clip this bolt, then move under the roof on good holds. Clip a bolt over the lip and pull the roof. (Contrary to popular opinion, I felt this bolt was well-positioned for rope line and for falls even though it may not be where the best holds are. The roof is hard to onsight, but probably checks in at easy 5.11). Once established over the roof clip a third bolt and peform a difficult rightwards crack-switch move. Follow the easy hand crack up the right side of the flake and then continue up a right-facing corner until it forms a roof and wide crack that arches out right. Here step left onto the face on obvious holds. A hidden crack out left provides pro. Climb up to another nice ledge and bolted anchor. 5.11a/b, 110'.

P3: Again extend the anchor out left. Step up off the belay ledge and perform thin 5.10 moves past two bolts. Continue up and left on runout 5.9+/5.10- climbing to a rest ledge. Head straight up and out the right side of an arch and pass another bolt (difficult moves here). Wander up and back right on more run outs to a final bolt and cruxy move. Belay at a bolted anchor. 5.11- PG/R, 120'

P4: Head straight left off of the belay and follow a discontinuous corner up to a roof below the obvious huge, hanging right-facing corner at the top of the wall. Step up into the corner and climb it to the top. Coldshuts out left. This is an amazing pitch. 5.10, 150'.

Gear: A single set of wires and cams from TCUs to #2 Camalot. Doubles in most of the smaller sizes. No need for a #3 or #4 Camalot! A single 60m rope will get you down from the top of pitch 3, but just barely. It is not long enough to rap the final (top) pitch (a 70 might work, but it would be close). In other words, one rope will allow you to rap from any point on the climb, but once you top out you'll have to walk off. Two ropes let you rap from the top.
By Steve McCorkel
Jun 12, 2007

The season is coming upon us again. The comments regarding the time of day for climbing this route are right on. If the weather is solid, starting the route at or around eleven am is great fun. The sun comes around and warms the whole area up, like a solar amphitheater. The sunsets are striking, with the Diamond and the rest of the cirque surrounding. You might find yourself dallying to take in the wonder of being in such a fine place. Just don't do the descent in the total dark.

I would like to mention that I don't believe this route deserves an "R" rating; maybe a "PG".

I've had a few phone calls regarding this route, and always recommend it highly. Travel light, it's a long ways up, and down the talus. For the walk off, go east, before heading down an obvious gully. Return, carefully, to the base via a narrow ledge.

Also, the alternate start, with the bolted Rurp seam is pretty sweet. Start a bit left of the initial five-six pitch and head toward a small roof with a rightward leaning crack above. Belay on the large ledge beneath the obvious roof and the bolted seam.
By Adam Baxter
From: Estes Park, CO
Apr 29, 2009

This sounds like a great 1st day option for a 2 day trip up to the Chasm Cirque, especially with the 11am route start time. Did the Directissima on the Chasm View last year followed by Pervertical the next day. That trip was probably my favorite from last summer. Steve, any other route suggestions in the park?