|Loch Vale & uphill
||Trad, Mixed, 5 pitches, 800', Grade IV
|Consensus: ||M7 [details]|
|FA: ||Josh Wharton and Jesse Huey with production assistance from John Dickey, Hayden Kennedy, and Chris Alstrin|
|New Route: ||Yes|
|Season: ||Late fall, winter, spring|
|Page Views: ||260|
|Submitted By: ||j wharton on Apr 7, 2013|
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This is a decent route with a money crux pitch. The crux pitch actually has some ice on it, what a rarity! All the grades are approximate and are probably as much as a number easier or harder depending upon whether you're climbing on a nasty, cold, snowy day, or a sunny spring day. (If you are there on the latter, ask yourself why you're not rock climbing somewhere!)
Get yourself halfway up Brain Freeze to the base of the obvious column on the lefthand wall of the gully. It's very easy climbing/hiking to here, so it goes quickly.
P1: Climb up the ice column, with a drytooling option with fixed pins just to the left if the ice is in poor shape. Above the ice, head up a corner to a big, precarious block. From here, work slightly right up a series of seams and corners to a large sloping belay ledge with a fixed stopper anchor. Super cool pitch. 170 feet, M7-ish.
P2: There are several options here, and going straight up would probably be the coolest, but we traversed about 30 feet right and then trended up and right for approximately 150 feet to a nice grassy belay ledge. M5/6-ish, with some runout climbing on the initial traverse.
P3: Again, there are a few options, but we went slightly right off the belay, and then worked up and left to the obvious short wide crack below a little roof. This has super fun climbing with "hero hooks" through the roof to a huge, snowy ledge. 100 feet, M5-ish.
Traverse to the right and rappel Brain Freeze, or do one of several easy options through the short cliff band above, and walk off down the gully to the west to the base of Brain Freeze.
Few random notes:
--If you've had enough or the weather turns, it's possible from several points on pitches 2 and 3 to traverse right and join Brain Freeze.
--It takes anywhere from 1.5 to 2.5 hours to get to the base of Brain Freeze from the Glacier Gorge Trailhead depending on conditions. Don't take a right up into the Andrews Glacier Cirque until you've passed a short, steep, red cliff about 10 minutes beyond the end of the Loch.
--There's pretty good cell reception on the route, so don't despair, there's plenty of opportunity to update your twitterface on route!
The route starts approximately halfway up Brain Freeze, above the "Changing Gullies" pitch.
A set of cams from #00 to #4, with a few extra pieces from tips to thin hands, and a set of RPs and Stoppers.