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Emerald Lake & vicinity
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Steeplechase 

YDS: 5.5 French: 4b Ewbanks: 13 UIAA: IV+ ZA: 11 British: MS 4a M4 Easy Snow

   
Type:  Trad, Mixed, Snow, Alpine, 3 pitches, 600', Grade II
Consensus:  YDS: 5.5 French: 4b Ewbanks: 13 UIAA: IV+ ZA: 11 British: MS 4a M4 [details]
FA: 2 lines: Greg Sievers & Brian Verhulst / Erik Werner and Chad Volk (variation written here), 5/14/11
New Route: Yes
Season: Winter
Page Views: 1,032
Submitted By: Erik W on Jun 5, 2011

You & This Route  |  Other Opinions (2)
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Brian Verhulst following P2, 3-20-11.

Description 

P1: Climb the short but cruxy dihedral (M4-5) to a tiny bonsai tree at the top, then work your way up several short rock steps, trending slightly left, to a large snow field with trees. Belay at farthest tree or rock outcrop on left you can reach. 60m. M4-5? (I'd like to hear what others think of that opening dihedral, so we can give it a consensus grade. I felt it was substantially harder than Wham Couloir or The Cleft, both M4, but I was also occupied with a ton of moss excavation on lead, so who knows? Maybe with subsequent ascents/cleaning, it'll deserve an easier grade. Let me know what you think.)

P2: Take the in-cut dihedral directly above the rock island belay, and work your way straight up to an overhanging block/corner, which you'll climb and exit on the left (watch for loose toaster oven). Continue straight up, passing numerous bouldery steps, toward the tip of a snow finger that perfectly exits on the upper snow slope, find a tree to belay from (might require some simul-climbing to find a good one. 70m?, 5.5, M3-M4, depending on line.

P3: Head right across snow to large slab. There are 3 finger cracks here, take the middle one and when it levels out take a left straight up fall line, passing a short bouldery step en route to the top. 40m, M3+/4-.

Descent: Downclimb back of summit block and descend to trees on right. Either downclimb couloir, or rap using sling + biner we left on lowest tree. Snow conditions were somewhat suspect when we did it, so we opted to be careful. The couloir is ~500 feet, with many options on wall for additional anchors if snow is really sketch. Skirt the base back to boulderfield.


Location 

Hike up to Emerald Lake, head up the climber's trail to the left of the lake and veer straight for face (we racked up at Memorable Tree, see pic). In front is a face with a snow gully on the left and then three clear snow fingers going up, Steeplechase starts in the third one from left (see pic). Hike up snow finger to below steep dihedral with moss remnants outside of crack, belay here (you can bypass this step via continuing up snow finger to easy step).


Protection 

4-5 medium nuts, single set cams to #3 Camalot. A pinky tricam protected crux move on p3, but you could do with a small cam possibly.



Photos of Steeplechase Slideshow Add Photo
Steeplechase: pic is from side, so it looks like route traverses, but it's actually pretty straight up from the start.
BETA PHOTO: Steeplechase: pic is from side, so it looks like r...
Steeplechase. On our climb of it, we relocated P1 belay as high as possible.  I think you can get to same spot in one go, otherwise relocate like we did. Rap route in pink. <br /> <br />[base photo (c) JeffF]
BETA PHOTO: Steeplechase. On our climb of it, we relocated P1 ...
Steeplechase: approach... use 3rd snow finger from left.
BETA PHOTO: Steeplechase: approach... use 3rd snow finger from...
Steeplechase (M5, 5.5, snow): topo.
BETA PHOTO: Steeplechase (M5, 5.5, snow): topo.
Steeplechase: p1 crux dihedral (bypass option to the left).
BETA PHOTO: Steeplechase: p1 crux dihedral (bypass option to t...
Just another line up the mountain, 3-20-11.
Just another line up the mountain, 3-20-11.
Steeplechase: start of p2.
BETA PHOTO: Steeplechase: start of p2.
Brian Verhulst "going Euro" = climbing in A/T boots, carrying skis for a great ski descent of Hallett Couloir.
Brian Verhulst "going Euro" = climbing in A/T boot...
Comments on Steeplechase Add Comment
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By Greg Sievers
From: Estes Park, CO
Aug 2, 2012

It would appear that this zone of the East Ridge of Hallett is getting (much deserved) traffic. There are endless options for good quality mixed climbing. It looks as if our ascent matched this description except for the last 30m and that we climbed it 2 months prior.

By Erik W
From: Bay Area, CA
Sep 23, 2013

Greg, thx for adding pics to the route. I'm 100% certain we were on different lines for that fist pitch as well, as there was zero sign of previous passage when we climbed it. No tool or crampon scratches anywhere, no cleared moss for hand jamming or placing pro... nada (and that moss completely clogged the crack in most places). There was the groove at the far back of the snow tongue which could possibly have been M3 (see topo), and so could jive with your route pic. I'm thinking we might have overlapped for mid P2+P3.