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West Face Direct 

West Face Corner 

YDS: 5.10+ French: 6b+ Ewbanks: 21 UIAA: VII+ British: E3 5b PG13

   
Type:  Trad, 4 pitches, 500'
Consensus:  YDS: 5.10 French: 6b Ewbanks: 20 UIAA: VII- British: E2 5b [details]
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Page Views: 605
Submitted By: Aaron Hobson on Sep 17, 2010
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Andrea feeling nice after "the Organ Grinder" crac...

Description 

This attractive corner system on the West Face of the NRE is as good as it looks. It has two beautiful and challenging pitches in the corner system that are definitely worth the trip. It is also pretty distinguishable on the West Face making route finding pretty simple.

P0: Un-roped scrambling up a left trending ramp system gains a broad ledge system underneath the west face corners. Continue to scramble up the right-trending ramp underneath the corner up to the base of the corner system.

P1: 5.10, 100 ft. The first 100 ft of the corneer system passes two bulges and then under-clings left under a roof to gain a ledge/belay. Each bulge is a mini-crux of increasing difficulty, kind of like a V0 boulder problem. The final undercling under the roof is fantastic, with very thin footholds.

P2: 5.10+, 120ft. Climb directly up the crack/corner above at 5.9, passing an old piton. At the top of the corner is a slab under a roof/overlap. Place a high-piece of gear near the roof, then down-climb to a small seam/weakness in the slab and make a difficult balancy move up the seam to gain a ledge belay to the left of the roof system. This move felt PG-13, as the protection was off to the side and a big swing/poor landing on the slab below is feasible.

P3:200+ ft. Easier (5.6-5.8) climbing meandering around the headwall above to the right eventually gains a large shoulder which is where the Davis Route is joined. From here continue up the final part of the Davis Route (5.4) to the summit.


Location 

Approach up rabbit Ears Canyon and head for the gap between NRE and MRE. P0 starts almost at the corner where the west face turns to go up the gully.

Descend via the South Face Direct, which requires some scrambling down the south side and 2-3 rappels off fixed anchors. A single rope rappel off the first anchor lands on a broad ledge where a second anchor is. A double-roped rappel from this anchor hits the ground, or a single rope rappel can be used to gain a ledge system where a final rappel off of poot slings is found.


Protection 

Standard rack up with cams up to #3 camelot. The undercling crux took small camming units in various places.



Photos of West Face Corner Slideshow Add Photo
Andrea topping out on the crack. The crack starts out with deep fist jams and gradually widens to off-width that accepts chicken-wings and knee bars near the top (as shown in photo). Protect with #2 C4 down low and #3 to #4 C4 midway and at the top.
BETA PHOTO: Andrea topping out on the crack. The crack starts ...
West Face Corner route marked in red. Boyer's Chute is just visible on the far left.
BETA PHOTO: West Face Corner route marked in red. Boyer's Chut...
Zach Libbin following the P1 crux undercling.
Zach Libbin following the P1 crux undercling.
The 5.9 crack you can use to bypass the scramble and put in a quality first pitch prior to the roof undercling pitch. It is midway up the 4th class scramble, almost directly under the corner system.
BETA PHOTO: The 5.9 crack you can use to bypass the scramble a...
Rough estimate of WFC variation route. P4 is the most inaccurate, as I can't see on the photo exactly where we went. Once on the ground, it is relatively straightforward - climb the bulges/mini roofs in the gully to the left of the P3 belay, find the large ledge near the base of the Davis Route for the P4 belay. Then make a hard right and belay for P5 at the base of the white rockface (out of sight in this photo).
BETA PHOTO: Rough estimate of WFC variation route. P4 is the m...
The "Organ Grinder" - looking down on the 5.10 fist to OW crack that splits the roof on the crux pitch (traditionally the 2nd pitch, the 3rd pitch as we climbed it). There is an excellent belay station immediately above the crack.
BETA PHOTO: The "Organ Grinder" - looking down on the 5.10 fis...
2nd pitch
2nd pitch
Comments on West Face Corner Add Comment
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By Aaron Hobson
Administrator
From: Las Cruces, NM
Sep 17, 2010

It looks like a nice variation on the 2nd pitch is to take a steep fist-OW crack that splits the roof system. I didn't feel strong enough to climb this when we climbed the route, but it is probably less scary than the 5.10+ pg13 move on the slabs to the left.

By Karl Kiser
Sep 18, 2010

This is probably a route put up by Edmund Ward in the late 70s. He rated it 5.9 so it could easily be 5.10. As I recall there was a rap station on a ledge after two pitches. One needed to traverse relatively far left on the ledge to find the anchor.

By Nathan Fry
From: El Paso, TX
Jul 2, 2012
rating: 5.10a 6a 18 VI+ E1 5a

Had a wild ride on West Face Corner yesterday. I consider it one of the better climbs I have experienced in the Organs, taking our deliberate variations into account (in bold).

1) Pitch 1 - start midway up the 4th class scramble at a 5.9 crack that splits the face below the West Face Corner (WFC) start (see beta photo). Climb to the ledge below the WFC. 90 feet.
2) Pitch 2 - climb the traditional first pitch of WFC, enjoying the stellar roof undercling. Belay in the usual spot. Postitive cool points for argyle knee socks, negative cool points for white gym socks. Short pitch - about 60 feet.
3) Pitch 3 - climb the traditional second pitch, with a variation that bypasses the roof/seam combo via the steep crack to the right. The crack at the start of the pitch goes at about 5.8; climb up from the belay and, when under the roof at the top of the corner, make a hard right and traverse over unprotected 5.7-5.8 slabs to a stance under the fist/OW crack that splits the wall. The bottom of this 5.10 crack fits a #2 C4 perfectly, then fire straight up the crack to a belay stance on the ledge above. Place #3 and #4 C4s as the crack widens to off-width (see beta photo). Note that the crack has very deep jams - I was in up to my shoulder at one point. We called it the "Organ Grinder" pitch, based on how our arms looked after the jams. About 150 feet.
4) Pitch 4 - roughly follows the description of WFC's traditional pitch 3. Move up and left from the belay ledge to a slabby ramp that leads to a sequence of two bulges/mini roofs. Pull both roofs (single moves of 5.7-5.8) and end at a large ledge to the right of a shrub-filled gully (the Davis Route). About 120 feet.
5) Pitch 5 - the major variation. From the Pitch 4 belay stance, scramble down and right around the prominent prow above to the base of a moderate jumble of face and crack climbing on clean, white rock. Climb up to the headwall, where you will see three variations to pull over the final obstacle - a flaring finger crack, a diagonal off-width crack, and a roof with a gap. All three go at the high .10s. I attempted the off-width and didn't have enough strength left with the rope drag. Recommend anyone trying this pitch to use half ropes to avoid the drag I encountered at the end. We backed off, downclimbed, and finished via the Davis Route. While there is no evidence of recent activity, there was an old piton jammed in a crack midway up that indicates someone has been up this way. Nice potential for a quality new ascent.

Overall, the WFC has some super climbing on good rock with a relatively straightforward approach, by Organ standards. Have fun.

By Forrest Wilcox
From: Las Cruces, NM
Sep 29, 2013

This route is an Organs classic, in my opinion, if you do the variations mentioned in the comments. The cracks are perfect and the rock is solid. This is a must do in the Organs. Do the off-width crack finish.