A journey into Glacier GorgeThis is a trip we took into Glacier Gorge. The Gorge is one of the most spectacular places in all of RMNP and is rimmed by magnificant granite walls. We are planning on climbing the Spearhead. Our intended route is "All Two Obvious", Grade IV, 5.12a.
Here is Glacier Gorge as seen from the Keyhole route on Longs Peak.
We leave home at 3:00am and are hiking by 4:30am. The hike is awesome and the scenery helps pass the miles. We get to Black Lake at 6:00, the gorge itself is only 20-30 minutes further!
Just above Black Lake McHenry's peak and Arrowhead come into view.
Here is the Spearhead.
Alpine GraniteThe weather seems to be perfect and the temps are good, so we are soon racked up and start up the route. The first pitch is easy and gets us to a nice ledge called "Middle Earth". We bask in the morning sun and Joan leads the second pitch of flakes and a tricky finger crack at 9+. I take the lead from here and we do pitches 3,4 and 5. The 5th pitch is spectacular and takes a perfect finger crack through a small roof. Here is Joan on the 4th and 5th pitches.
Pitch six is the crux and it looks thin! The crux moves are protected by 3 bolts and consist very thin and inobvious face moves. I take a few falls figuring out the crux sequence, pretty exiting with big air below. There is no possibility of aiding through this section as the bolts are pretty far apart and the crux comes a move or two past the second bolt. The top of the pitch eases to 5.10 and is protected with gear and a few more bolts. All in all, one of the best Alpine face pitches ever!! Here are some photos at the top of the crux pitch.
Pitch seven is also 5.11 face with several very tricky high steps onto perfect golden knobs. This takes us to the summit ramp and a quick scramble gets us to the summit block. The summit is very exposed and an awesome place to hang out.