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A surprisingly easy route up what appears to be the steepest part of the cliff. The rock is immaculate.
Approach: Start about 200ft up the easy slabs at the base of Arrowhead's South Face (4th class) on the right end of a long terrace. This point is about 100ft left of the right margin of the apron, between the routes Medusa and Refugium.
1. 190ft 5.8s Climb a shallow, left-facing diheral rightwards up the slab, follow a shallow, right-leaning ramp, then zig-zag up the obvious shallow corners. Pull over an overlap to reach a sloping ledge, beneath the obvious weakness in the roofs above.
2. 200ft 5.9 A flared chimney leads to a steep, left-facing dihedral which breaches the overhang (crux). Above the steepness, follow a huge left trending ramp with finger cracks and excellent exposure until you run out of rope. There is a ledge here with a fixed hex.
3. 190ft 5.9 Continue up the steepening ramp until a broken area is reached. Belay above this at the base of a steep chimney on the left.
4. 150ft 5.8 Climb the chimney, pass the huge chockstone and enter a stellar, right-facing corner with hands. Follow this to an obvious ledge on the left.
5. 150ft 5.8 Climb the chimney and then up into a shallow, right-facing corner (hands and fists). Where this ends, follow an exposed flake system leftwards to the top.
The descent is either by summiting Arrowhead and dropping down into the 4th class descent terrace system, or faster, by hiking west to the low point of the ridge and rapping.
This route, or a similar line, has been climbed previously by an unknown party, who left the fixed hex described on pitch 2. Anybody out there have any info?
60m ropes, standard rack.
|By Bernard Gillett|
Feb 25, 2003
I think I've got an answer to the fixed hex Andy mentions in pitch 2 of Watership Down. Larry Hamilton contacted me recently about his route Warhead (on Arrowhead), and sent me his original description for that route. I'm pretty certain at this point that Warhead climbs the same essential line as Watership Down (and I'm 100% certain that I COMPLETELY BOTCHED the description of Warhead in my guide -- I misinterpreted information on the route from the old DuMais guide, and followed Richard Rossiter's lead in locating it on the wall below Summit Ramp). For those that have a copy of my High Peaks guide, Warhead climbs the natural weakness between routes 8 and 9 (pictured on page 134), going from the lowest to highest point on the wall. If I'm interpreting Andy's description of Watership Down correctly, WD starts on the right side of the grassy ledge between the 8 and 9 labels on my photo (about 100 feet off the talus). Warhead and WD probably have independent starts, but then they merge near the left-trending arches, and apparently join for the remainder of the trip to the top. FA of Warhead: Larry Hamilton, Tom Gries, and John Byrd, 1975 (not Tom Griese, as all other guidebooks, mine included, have mispelled Tom's last name -- which might explain why he was a climber and doesn't throw footballs for a living). Also, the spire near the top of the wall that Bill Briggs and I called "Lost Arrow Spire" is the namesake of Larry's route (i.e. the Warhead), which passes the spire on the right.
For those who enjoy history, Larry has a very enjoyable website detailing a few of his many adventures in the climbing world. Check out
(if that doesn't work, search for Larry Hamilton on Google.com -- I got his webpage as the first result of my search). Lots of great old photos (including Roger Briggs on White Room, Douglas Snively and fellow first ascent team members on Candlestick Tower, with Snively looking about 10 years old!, and a cover photo from a 1970s Climbing Magazine that shows Snively and Dunn on the FA of Candlestick. Snively's been one of my heros since I was about 10 years old...), and plenty of interesting stories.
Thanks, Larry, for your info. Your website is COOL, and a nice reinforcement of what the climbing life ought to be (balanced with family and professional life). It makes me eager to get to my mid-50s (a couple of decades to go) so that I can climb with my daughters, visit the haunts of my youth, and endure the music of the next generation!