Sign Up  |   Log In:Login with Facebook
REI Community
Snowpatch Spire
Select Route:
Wiessner' s Route (aka SE Corner) T 
Buckingham Route (easy version) T 
Bugaboo Corner T 
Flamingo Fling T 
Furry Pink Arete T 
Kraus-McCarthy T 
Southwest Ridge - Direct Finish T 
Sunshine Crack T 
Sunshine Wall T 
Super Direct T 
Surfs Up T 
Warrior Way T 
Wildflowers T 

Sunshine Wall 

YDS: 5.11- French: 6c Ewbanks: 22 UIAA: VIII+ ZA: 22 British: E3 5c R

Type:  Trad, Alpine, 20 pitches, 2000', Grade V
Consensus:  YDS: 5.11- French: 6c Ewbanks: 22 UIAA: VIII+ ZA: 22 British: E3 5c [details]
FA: Art Higbee and David Breashears, 1975
Page Views: 1,548
Submitted By: Ken Trout on Feb 22, 2010

You & This Route  |  Other Opinions (1)
Your todo list:
Your stars:
Your rating: -none- [change]
Your ticklist: [add new tick]
Your opinion of this PAGE:    [0 people like this page.]
BETA PHOTO: Detail of Sunshine Wall photo by MP contributor Jo...


Art Higbee and David Breashears once needed no introduction, but 1975 was awhile ago. Climbers took big risks then to leave no trace. True to the clean climbing code, Higbee and Breashears published little about this alpine route of impressive size. A hand-drawn topo was left in the Hut Book.

The second ascent of this wall was done by A Parker and P Bradshaw, July 1977. They used a different corner system left of the Higbee-Breashears squeeze.


Bruce Lella and I made the second ascent of the original chimney in late August, 1979. It may be that we missed both the Bugaboo Corner/Buckingham finish and the original Sunshine Wall finish. We climbed the icy chimney, finding several pins at the icy crux.

The route begins by crossing the moat and getting into a wide crack. About six pitches of climbing and traversing ledges, with a few ups and down to connect ledges, will get you to the infamous chimney. To retreat from here in a storm might be difficult.

The unprotected chimney was the crux, 5.10r/x. A loose flake blocked the crux. Kicking it off while squeezing past looked like a direct hit for the belayer. So we took the time to get the belayer sheltered before pitching it in a more controlled fashion. The crux is exiting the squeeze into a slightly overhung lieback.

Our bivouac was only a few mellow pitches higher on a perfect ledge. Next morning, in the hot early sun, we filled the haul bag with most of our warm clothes and tossed it to the glacier. Just before starting up, a rock face collapsed and avalanched into the lake north of Eastpost Spire. The next few pitches up were fun with a rope, rack, and the shirts on our backs. But that changed in the chimney.

Somewhere along the way we missed traversing left to a better finish. The Buckingham and Bugaboo Corner routes are both supposed to do this. There may be another way to avoid the chimney by traversing right, gaining the crest, and then descending via Sunshine. But we went into the chimney and froze.

We escaped the cold, icy, chimney using a thin crack on the south wall. This crack could be a quality 5.11- finger crack, if it is ever dry in the chimney. Unlikely. The thin crack we escaped up had a few old style pitons fixed but fits no route description. Guidebook authors admit to uncertainty on this part of the mountain. So do I.

Finally, we did a difficult crossing over a sub-summit, some call the "Hook", and down to a notch on the south side. From the notch, we began rappelling west; down an overhanging chimney that seems to be between known routes but had anchors.


We rappeled from the notch south of the "Hook". The first rap was long and overhung. The route seemed unused.

It would be best to continue on to the North Summit via the Buckingham route. From the top, continue south to the notch between the north and south summits. Then rappel the giant corner of the Becky-Greenwood/Super Direct.

Super Direct Topo:


We only had a #4 friend and passive Chouinard tube chocks. A rack with #5 and #6, C4, Camalots will help tremendously to make the infamous chimney fun. Using chicken-wing technique for pro should be enough to get to where a #5 and/or #6 can be placed, just before committing to the crux chimney exit.

I'd bring a few small steel nuts, double set of cams up to #6, and lots of long slings.

Photos of Sunshine Wall Slideshow Add Photo
Rock Climbing Photo: Early sun-hit on Snowpatch's east face. Photo by M...
BETA PHOTO: Early sun-hit on Snowpatch's east face. Photo by M...
Rock Climbing Photo: Sunshine Wall from Applebee Photo by MP contributo...
BETA PHOTO: Sunshine Wall from Applebee Photo by MP contributo...
Rock Climbing Photo: Map of Sunshine Wall contour interval:  100 feet  ...
BETA PHOTO: Map of Sunshine Wall contour interval: 100 feet ...
Rock Climbing Photo: Where Sunshine wall used to start
Where Sunshine wall used to start

Comments on Sunshine Wall Add Comment
Show which comments
By hanshan
From: Canada Mofuga
Aug 30, 2011

This climb no longer exists. The flake at the start fell off years ago, there is a 5.12c direct start farther right.
By Ken Trout
From: Golden, CO
Nov 2, 2015

Wow! It was such a great route...

The Definitive
Climbing Resource

Inspiration & Motivation
to Fuel Your Run

Next Generation Mountain
Bike Trail Maps

Backcountry, Sidecountry
& Secret Stashes

Better Data. Better Tools.
Better Hikes!