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This route is not really anything new- most if not all of it has likely been done before, if not intentionally, perhaps by lost climbers. A few "bail out" stations of gear and biners (now cleaned) found along the way indicated that at least downward travel had been made from points on the route (although I could not find a good description and documentation for it even combining the books from Rossiter and Gillett). It is more "undocumented" than new.
The sustained climbing and position of this route and its long pitches make it one of the best options for the Saber though. So, here I am setting aside a virtual 'page' to describe it.
This set of variations climbs on or near the S. E. arete of the Saber for most of its length and every pitch is long and direct. The climbing is solid, less a few 'alpine elements' (loose rock or moss) on ledges and roofs, as would be expected for any alpine route, classic or not.
This line is superior to the Kor Route and as good as the S.W. corner, which I also just did.
P1-2, 5.6, 500': Make your way up the SE end of the Saber on moderate and easy terrain (5.6, tops) to the big ledge form where start the various technical routes. This is generally done with some soloing or simul-climbing, but represents at least 3 belays without any. You can also climb Snively-Harlin (10b) to get there.
P3, 5.10, 190': Start as for the first 'hard' pitch of the Kor Route. Move out to the right of the ledge and to the base of the short, shallow, broken left-facing corner, which is only about 50 feet tall when viewed from below. Climb this to its end (old fixed angle is NOT as good as it looks- tap it and watch it wiggle. Though it is buried, it is not tight by the eyes. Continue past the top of the corner in cracks a little past to reach a ledge above (5.8). Mind drag and how much rack you keep on you- this is a long pitch. Step slightly right and climb up the face for a bit into a second right-facing corner as for the S.E. Corner variation (5.10a) this one a hanging corner with a small roof below it. It ends after perhaps 10 meters. Instead of climbing left to another corner, head out right on cracks and seams around to the arete of the route.
You are now on Razor's Edge.
Place gear when possible as it will not always be an option. You will pass a VERY DISTINCT 4-inch thick flake surrounded on both sides and on the 3-foot-across top by a thin finger crack. Place gear here, and make a long move upward to a very thin & delicate (perhaps 1/16" thick) protruding flake big enough for the tips of 3 fingers (5.10). There is a tiny fixed wire to the left of the aforementioned flakes as of 8/06. Continue up on easier terrain with ledges, and head right to a ledge with a little dirt and grass (5.8 mantle) into a short left-facing corner with a shallow right-facing corner a few meters left of you. You can see an old, fixed, blue tricam above you in this wider crack to the left. Belay here.
P4, 5.10, 170': Climb up and left to the right-facing corner with the fixed tricam. This was a "bail station" someone had retreated from. We cleaned the webbing and biner, but the tricam was too well fixed & will likely remain unless you have a hammer. Continue up these cracks (and face where there are no cracks) within arm's reach of the arete, sometimes grabbing and crossing it. If I recall correctly, this is the pitch with the most runouts. I passed a lot of really wide crack (5-8") that would require a #6 Camalot, or the like, to protect, but the climbing was moderate, and I did not want drag, so I ran it out 50+ feet instead of wander for gear. I remained happy I did not take a truly 'big' piece because it would not have been worth it. The crux will come when on the right side you come up under a roof formed by a very thick flake, slit by a perfect handcrack. Place a 3" cam or #2 Camalot, and crack this crux (5.10-) to cracks above, and climb cracks to the arete. As holds run out, pull left onto the left side and belay at a horn with a fixed webbing rappel station that can be backed up with gear. The ledge here is good.
P5, 5.9, ~160': Climb up and right on cracks and face around the corner, going to a shallow left facing system near the arete, continue up and right to join the corner systems of the S.E. Corner. The Kor route is somewhere to your right, still. Continue to climb up on cracks and corners for a long pitch of 5.9. I would have liked to reference your position relative to the S.E. arete of the Saber, but frankly it is not distinct here, as it is a series of corners and aretes. Gillett shows this area left of the rock's corner, I would have expressed it as being to the right, as you can not look Westward across the South face from here. Roister refers to part of this as the "Stepped Roofs" (route 21d) and draws it RIGHT of the arete on the upper half. This reflects no error, just indistinction on the part of the rock up high- the arete loses its sharpness in this series of corners.
P7, 5.9, ~120': Same as for the S.E. Corner. Continue up the corner system to the low-angle summit edge of the rock. Find a belay here and DO NOT try to go to the initial summit's anchors, and the terrain is low angle and rough and will give horrible drag, even unprotected (I have done this a few times, with terrible results).
P8, 5.easy, R, 70': Romp up the low angle ledge with the Petit Grepon on your left and the now strikingly beautiful 'Foil' on your right. Go up and over the initial summit to a belay or rap station on its North side.
Generally climbing the most direct line possible up the S.E. arete of the Saber, crossing it back and forth a few times.
A large rack- these are long pitches and require no special pro, I was always happy, having taken a very large set of nuts (do take brass!), a few small tricams, a single set of camalots from the blue Junior up to the #4 C4 (placed it to stick my partner with it following, but didn't need it) I once placed a few small aliens I took to fill in in the bottom end of this rack. I was very happy with the #8 & #9 hexes I took to supplement the higher end sizes of the rack and recommend a few spare bigger cams or a few hexes. I took 12 slings (two 3', six 2' and four 1') and ran out on one pitch though I do not tend to place a lot of gear.
If I were going to do it again I'd take a few more 1' or 2' slings, leave the #4 C4 camalot behind, rack single cams down to 1/2", supplementing with the hexes as I did.
The top needs some anchor work. A leaver stopper or wired small hex would be great, and some webbing/cord. See note on the Saber page.
The weather rolled in during our ascent of 'The Ra...
|By Mike Munger|
From: Boulder, Colorado
Jul 15, 2008
This route description is inaccurate and difficult to follow at best. It will put you on broken low angle terrain right of the edge toward the end of P3. It is possible to traverse back left to the edge from here but you only get one pitch before you are forced back onto the SE Ridge at the 'Stepped Roofs'.
|By Tony B|
From: Around Boulder, CO
Jul 15, 2008
Mike- sorry that it was difficult for you. As for inaccurate, well, I don't know what to tell you. I had a similar problem recently trying to follow 'Storm Riders' on Hallet's.
Could you elaborate on the differences in your experience here and where they were so as to try to sort out where the confusion was? If so, perhaps someone can correct was is unclear to you.
The basic rule following the route would be to "stay on the arete as much as poosible and when not on it, as near to it as possible, despite some runouts" and from there you might find, generally, the same line.