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Devil's Thumb
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Southeast Face (aka 'The Other Route That Dan Missed') 

YDS: 5.10a French: 6a Ewbanks: 18 UIAA: VI+ ZA: 18 British: E1 5a R

   
Type:  Trad, Alpine, 4 pitches, 500', Grade III
Consensus:  YDS: 5.10a French: 6a Ewbanks: 18 UIAA: VI+ ZA: 18 British: E1 5a [details]
FA: Dougald MacDonald and Jack Roberts, August 28, 2011
New Route: Yes
Page Views: 779
Submitted By: Dougald MacDonald on Aug 29, 2011

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BETA PHOTO: Southeast Face line. Part of the first pitch is no...

Description 

The large, steep main faces on this spire must have been climbed at some point (Roach alludes to a 5.8 on the south face), but no route descriptions exist. We chose the most obvious corner system near the edge of the southeast and southwest face, and climbed four good pitches to the top. By Indian Peaks standards, this is a five-star route, with generally excellent rock (usual lichen and loose blocks warnings apply). It's quite possible someone had climbed parts of our first and fourth pitches (because they're obvious route funnels), but our second and third pitches are likely new.

1. 5.9, 120 feet. Start at the biggest, easiest-looking left-facing corner, just right of the junction of the southeast and southwest faces. Climb about 60 feet, until just below a roof, and then move right into a steeper system (crux; beware small loose block). Continue up about 25 feet, then step right again and diagonal easily up and right to great belay ledge below a slab.

2. 5.10a R, 100 feet. Start up shallow left-facing corner, straight above the belay. After traversing left below small overlap about 40 feet up, place as much gear as you can find, and either A) face-climb straight left 10 feet (crux) and then up to find good holds and pro, or B) continue straight up the corner or up and right, possibly finding better gear but probably not easier climbing. We did version A: exciting but excellent climbing. After rejoining the corner, continue up another 25 feet (second crux) to an awkward stance on a flake.

3. 5.9, 185 feet. Continue up the main corner until it's obvious to step left in a beautiful thin-hands crack in orange rock. Follow this all-too-short crack up left-facing corner and through a small roof, then climb up and right to good ledges about 100 feet above the belay. Might be best to belay here for rope drag and communication. Climb the short overhanging corner above or step right 10 feet and follow a short, arching fist flake back left. Climb another short left-facing corner, then follow a short steep corner at the intersection of the solid orange rock and less solid gray rock. There's a sting-in-the-tail crux stepping back left at the top to reach a good belay ledge.

4. 5.8, 80 feet. Climb steep, blocky rock up left into a chimney system, with a short crux bulge just below the top. Balance on the summit pinnacle.

Location 

Hike to Devil's Thumb. This takes 1.5 to 2 hours from Rollins Pass. Scramble down the gully below the southwest face (nice grass at first, then scree) to the prow between the southwest and southeast faces.

Protection 

Standard rack with small wires, small cams, and maybe an extra 1- and 2-inch cam.


Photos of Southeast Face (aka 'The Other Route That Dan Missed') Slideshow Add Photo
Looking straight up the line.
BETA PHOTO: Looking straight up the line.
Jack finds gear after the run-out crux on the seco...
Jack finds gear after the run-out crux on the seco...

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