The route was the first line up this spire and was put up in 1966 by three local (?) climbers (E. Dod, D. Jensen, and B. Pratt) via direct aid. Use of “giant bongs” is mentioned by the old Nicholas Dodge guidebook and the route was originally rated III 5.6 A3. The route has been freed in the 1970’s at reportedly 5.11a (though some discussions on cascadeclimbers.com hint at 11b/c). Regardless, this would be a very serious free outing as much of the fixed gear is body weight only. My guess at the modern rating would be about C2F or so though admittedly it’s hard to judge how many “bolts” would stay in place in case of a large whipper (or would the crack/flake on P2 break away under large fall force). For comparison, the Northeast Face on Steins Pillar (similarly rated) is relatively trivial (many new bolts on that one and all belays were well bolted).
Getting ThereFollow approach directions on main page.
Pitch 1: C1+F, 80 feet. From the high saddle/ridge at the pinnacle’s northern base, clip old bolts and move right. Couple more manky fixed pieces bring you to a crack. Follow it for 30 feet till you see bolts going up (all except 1 are of the old flavor). At the top of the bolt ladder, follow funky aid placements up and left to a cave-like recess visible from ground. Much fixed mank here could be strung up for a hanging belay anchor.
Pitch 2: C2, 100 feet. Move up via a 4-inch crack through the roof. Follow the chossy crack above which becomes more scary as you get higher (feels almost as though the flake that forms the left side of crack is flexing, especially at its top where it’s thinnest). The crack makes a slight right turn above and you arrive at a semi-hanging belay stance. Two old bolts and one brand new. Can be backed up with #3 Camalot. Pitches 1 and 2 can be combined with a 60 meter rope (we had 70 meter lines but I think 60’s would suffice?).
Pitch 3: C2, 70 feet. Move up from belay (clipping one old bolt) and pass a wide crack section. Reach an old fixed belay (worse gear than one below) just below the overhanging headwall. Climb the headwall via a “bolt” ladder – old fixed mank with one particularly exciting move near top. Pull over the lip onto a lower angle slab (fixed belay, bad bolts).
Pitch 4: low 5th class, 50 feet. Move up the lower angle slab terrain (tad licheny as you’d imagine) aiming for just left of Turkey’s head. Fixed sling belay (huge hole in rock) available 8 feet below top of head.
Know what you're doing before you step over the edge of the overhang!
This was as exciting as the climb. Many options exist of course but we wanted to avoid the mankiest of the belays to rap off of. We had double 70 meter ropes but I THINK two 60’s would work too.
From summit slings, rap with two ropes to top of above-mentioned pitch 2. Think hard ahead of time as the terrain is severely overhanging!
From top of pitch 2, rap with two ropes to your packs at base.
At least double 60 meter ropes (to avoid worst belays). Helmets.
Double set of green and yellow Aliens.
4-5X #0.5 Camalots or equivalent.
About 3-4X #0.75 to #1 Camalots.
Heavy on the #2 and #3 Camalots.
2X of #3.5 and #4 Camalots.
Set or two of nuts from medium to large.
Cheater stick (more uses for it than the name suggests…could save your behind).
1 or 2 15 foot pieces of webbing for replacing tat on the summit.
“Just In Case” Gear:
Bolt kit - NO NEW HOLES if you can help it, be ready to remove old mank and try to reuse existing holes.
Hammer and a few angles as a couple of fixed pitons looked as though they might not stay fixed for much longer.