NW Ridge of Thunderbolt Pk - Annotation
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2010-07-17 - The III 5.5 NW Ridge of Thunderbolt Pk. Dots roughly mark our belays using a 70m rope. Much of this route is fine for soloing or simul-climbing if you're leading 5.5. trad. Otherwise, be prepared for the climb to take ALL day!
Crux sections are where most people may want to rope up.
Note also how much longer the route is beyond the rappel into the notch! If you aren't there early, it might be a good idea to bail down the couloir.
At the second notch, I drew a line that is probably the most optimal, though it would be hard to tell when to cut left when ascending the ridge. We did variation A, which is not ideal because of all of the downclimbing and backtracking. Variation B is more direct, but I chose not to take this line staying more on the crest because of the knife-edged nature of it and the stacked rocks that you'd be forced to pull on. It still might be the best line if the rocks are more solid than they look.
I found the climbing to be much slower beyond the notch due to exposure, looser rock, and much more difficult routefinding, though the technical crux of the route is probably on the first pitch.
Also, the unnamed peak is worth a visit.