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An absolute Grand Canyon classic and must do for anyone who loves to hike and explore while climbing. The North Face is a quality four pitch outing over all kinds of rock. The pitches are all short but each one offers some tough sections that will demand attention from climbers of all abilities. While each crux is generally moderate in grade, the ratings are old school and challenging.
Pitch 1) The rock is steep and deteriorating here and movement off the ground is challenging (.9). Place a #2 friend off the ground to protect against exposure off the belay. Climb crumbly rock using stems clipping an old bolt on the right until great hand jams are reached above. Mantle a narrow ledge and belay off of a bolt and a fixed piton.
Pitch 2) This is the aid pitch, and can be climbed clean with ease. From the belay, clip two fixed pitons, followed by a head placed as a stopper. A green alien fits perfectly only 6" above the head. For some, this is where the aid ends as the thin crack turns into a hand crack flake and runs up into a roof. Pass the roof to the right (.10a) with a delicate move onto a sloping foothold that may seem improbable at first. Climb a hand crack past a bolt on the left and continue to jam to a large ledge. The belay is located 6' to the right and takes 1.5-2.5 friends.
Pitch 3) From the belay, step to the right and locate a wide crack with a long narrow rib of rock protruding out of it a few feet above. Pass the rock (.8) and jam the slowly widening crack until a ledge is reached on the left. Step to the left and climb a v-slot mantle (.7) onto a ledge. Find a slung block and set up the belay here.
Pitch 4) Climb a large boulder on the northeast side of the tower. Step over and up onto a narrow ledge (.6), and mantle another ledge with great holds to a loose section. Continue up and to the right over loose rock aiming for the right horizon. Route finding can be difficult here, just try to continue moving to the right until a passage to the top becomes evident. Great moves over the awesome rock of the capstone will bring you to the summit.
Descent: From the summit, make one single rope rappel from bolts to the top of pitch three. Then make one double rope rappel to the ground from a large boulder slung with a section of rope.
A single set of cams from a green alien to #5 friend will do just fine. Also, bring slings and extra double length slings for the zig-zag nature of each pitch. Two ropes are needed for the rappel.
Beginning pitch three.
Dan on the summit.
The double rope rappel to the ground.