(I've changed the route rating due to some repeats (when dry) that confirm our "storm experiences" likely gave us an over-estimation of the difficulties. It has been gladly down-graded. Not sure if anyone has been able to exactly follow the route description below but then again, it is Hallett where even the best can get lost.- Eli)
This addition to Hallett's North Face involves 6 new pitches just left of the classic Direct Second Buttress route. Four of the six pitches were done as 60m rope stretchers. The fourth pitch ascends the striking right facing dihedral which is the right side of the "Big Yellow Flake" which the Jackson-Johnson climbs on its left side.
This route stays left of the Kor Route by 50' to 100' throughout its duration and is a relative a directissima up the wall.
P1 - 30m, 5.9. Climb the perfect finger crack in a small, left-facing dihedral then after 40' step left above a small ceiling into the next left-facing dihedral. Traverse left (crux) at the end of this corner for 30' to reach a slung horn anchor which can be strengthened in the crack behind.
P2 - 30m, 5.10-. Head right out of the belay up a featured slab into a small, right-facing corner which is followed through steep ground up and left until reaching an alcove from which a right-leaning crack (0.5 Camalot) (crux) emerges and takes one to the sling anchor (1 pin, nut, horn) - 60m rappel to the ground.
P3 - 60m, 5.9. Climb a splitter finger crack out of the belay up and right, stepping right after 30' into a shallow dihedral which heads straight up on steep juggy large flakes (mostly attached) into the very large, right-facing corner of the yellow flake - worth stretching the rope here as it brings one to a very large, comfortable ledge on the white band.
P4 - 60m, 5.8. Climb the striking,right-facing dihedral of the yellow flake and hold on tight! On the FA this was done as 5.8(X). A few large Camalots would bring this down to an (R) rating. After a ledge, continue to the top of the Yellow Flake Tower which has another spacious ledge system on top.
P5 - 60m, 5.9. Step down and right off the top of the Yellow Flake and follow a crack system up for 50' into a white quartz crack. Step right out of this crack onto a right-leaning ramp which is followed 50' right until a steep but featured face takes one up into another prominent white quartz crack system to a small belay stance.
P6 - 60m, 5.9. Follow this crack system straight up and a little left and belay from the top of the Second Buttress.
A sustained blizzard hit the FA party on this pitch making for a Patagonian-type experience, and both attempts on the wall were done while it was raining and the first attempted ended in an engaging lightning storm.
This route starts approximately 50' left of the Direct Second Buttress route and stays about that far left for the first 4 pitches. The most prominent feature climbed is the right side of the big yellow flake from which it then heads a little right and straight up to the top.
The recommended descent is to the east with 2- half rope rappels and an easy scramble down.
The start is reached via a short 4th class climb up a stepped corner for 50' to reach a large sloping ledge. Two dihedrals- the left with much grass and the right (splitter fingers)start from this ledge- if you went all the way up the right one it meets up with the regular start to the DSB.
This is an "all natural" route except for one piton which was put in on the second pitch rappel anchor. Retreat in very bad weather was made three times from here before the route was completed.
A standard rack with an emphasis on doubles and triples of all Camalot sizes from 0 to #1. On the FA, a #3 Camalot was the biggest size taken although this necessitated a 50' 5.9+ runout on pitch four -which would have been a very ugly fall. Perhaps one #5 Camalot would protect this wide-crack crux which the leader laybacked and the second off-widthed. The tops of P1, P2, and P4 have sling rappel anchors.
Three or four 72" slings and many shoulder length slings will help reduce rope-drag which is very much an issue on P2.
Start of P3.
Jason Haas starts off on P1 of Storm Riders on Hal...
Crux of P1.
Start of P1.
P4. Bring the big gear for this one- middle of th...
Heading into the crux on P2.
BETA PHOTO: Topo of selected routes on Hallett's Second Buttre...
|By Tony B|
From: Around Boulder, CO
Jul 14, 2008
rating: 5.9+ 5c 17 VI 17 E1 5a R
Well, what can I say? My partner and I went to do this route and certainly found some of the pitches, and only possibly found others. Some discussion would have to take place to determine if we did it as intended/described, as some of the text, which sounded obvious, was not once present.
Anyway, we had a significantly different experience on teh route than the description here would have lead us to expect. As Eli had previously told me, the grade was probably a little softer than stated (graded harder than reality, the poor protection and setteing dictating more caution), the lengths of pitches a little off, etc....
By way of example, the 5.9+ OW 60M long would be better described as a corner for 40' to a 40' 5.8 O.W. section (takes a #4 Big-bro, by the way, but not a bomber one.) before a belay ledge at 90' and then another 80' corner protected by a standard rack to get to a huge ledge. Maybe 50M total.... Not a huge deal. There were far larger descrepancies that lead me to believe that we were not on the same route for pitches 2/3, as we did not encounter the splitter finger cracks or any climbing harder than 5.9+.
Anyway, In light of my experience on the route, or on what climbed trying to find it (and ended up doing), I would strongly suggest caution on the part of any would-be courters of this route. While the grades were actually modest, the runouts on the pitches OTHER THAN the offwidth were at the very least R and in places R+/X at 5.9 or so. What we encountered in an attempt to find this route was not an entry-level alpine route even with off-width gear.
|By Jason Haas|
From: Broomfield, CO
Jul 26, 2008
My experience went something like this:
P1: 5.7 - follow the route description up the right-facing corner to a small roof, traverse left around a corner to a stance with a horn with a bunch of webbing around it. Traversing straight across from the roof may be 5.9, but it's 5.7 if you go a little below the roof and up, or use the 5.9 hand holds for feet by going a little higher.
P2: 5.8 - head up some cracks to a wide horizontal crack (takes a #3 Camalot), move up and left along a crack, then back right to an alcove with a crappy webbing anchor (back up with your own gear). There are two alcoves, this is the higher one. Kind of chossy.
P3: 5.8+ R - Angle up and right for about 60meters to a small ledge. Cracks are intermittent and unreliable. Thought it was similar to turf - good friction for the hands, but if you pulled hard enough you could pull off the rock. There's one "crux" move on the pitch transitioning right around a bulge with bomber #1 Camalot, otherwise the pitch is mostly 5.7-5.8
P4: 5.9 R/X - From the ledge, we traversed HARD right across the slab, good holds, absolutely no pro for 50ft traverse. Bad news for both leader and seconder if you fell. Reach an arete, head straight up, getting kind of bad gear at first, then bomber gear following the large right-facing corner described in main description above for pitch3. Reach a nice comfy ledge and belay.
P5: 5.7 - Take on the wide crack above to a ledge, then a second wide crack to a large platform ledge and belay. We placed a #4 Big Bro, but smaller gear was available both in and outside of the wide crack. I stemmed the whole thing on huge holds, quite casual.
P6: 5.9 R/X - Move to the far right side of the ledge and take a short crack over a bulge (perfect #4 Camalot). Hit a right-angling ramp and some white rock, moving up along it to the right. After 60meters reach a small "butt-sized" ledge and belay. You can get a fair amount of gear along this pitch, but a lot of it probably wouldn't hold a fall.
P7: 5.9 R/X - Continue angling up and right to the top of the wall with really bad gear placements. (70meters)
This was some of the grippiest stone I've touched outside of the southeast (Horsepens 40, etc.) but the quality was somewhat dubious and the gear was for shit. There were definitely places where it was "no falls" climbing and even in some places, "no falls" climbing for both the person leading and the person following. Also couldn't find anything remotely close to 10+ climbing.
|By Eli Helmuth|
From: Estes Park, CO
Jul 14, 2012
Looks like you guys found a different version of this route as we had copious and gear throughout on solid stone. The only runout section was the wide crack, right-facing corner that defines the right side of the yellow tower on this wall.
Lots of room on these walls to wander and find all sorts of versions as every inch of this cliff is pretty much climbable.
|By Tony B|
From: Around Boulder, CO
Aug 4, 2014
rating: 5.9+ 5c 17 VI 17 E1 5a R
As per the above, that seems to be the case. It looks like we diverged into a different but very similar P2, and from there were off on our own.
The new Rossiter book for RMNP will detail both routes.
I'll try to write these up separately here as well.