Saint Sophia Route Description
To get to the summit we hiked through a lovely loose boulder field to the base of a couloir directly below(200') the summit heading up to the climber's right.
Not sure what to rate the lower part of the couloir(possibly class 3). The climbing wouldn't be technically hard here outside of one small detail. We couldn't walk up the couloir without setting off dozens of rocks half our size! Yeah, small problem. So we pressed one foot against each wall and slowly went up.
After ~100' vertical we reached a "usable" belay station, a ledge which could hold two people uncomfortably. Aaron set me up with a 3-point anchor and started up through the death cookies. He was able to place a piece of pro at the corner, about 50' up and made another belay station at a horn parallel to our route. I came up this section, swung the lead and scrambled through a sketchy traverse before placing another cam in a crack at the top of rocky/sandy couloir. Another 20' brought me to the base of the summit block where I was able to sling a large boulder and bring Aaron up. We figured this section was low fifth-class yet it seemed alot harder. The death cookies, cookie sized rocks that would break off, and sometimes crumble, in your hands and under your feet were scattered like landmines throughout this section. It seemed to us that a majority of this mountain was made of this rock.
The summit tower is ~40'. Aaron started up the crack but once again the rock would break in his hands. We even had some break around his first cam placement when the rope was pulled tight causing him to slide 7-10' down the crack while the "rocks" ripped his hands up. He found some somewhat usable rock on the right corner of the summit block. From here aaron used the adjacent block to somewhat chimney(several feet apart) halfway up the summit block. From here, the angle relented and he was able to pick a route up the remainder of the tower, throwing broken handholds off the other side of the mountain, until reaching the top. Making a solid belay station on the ledge below the summit took 4-5 cams. I had quite the adventure trying to follow the route and pull the pro(7-8 pieces) simultaneously. You can feel the air rush all around you on the summit. It's around 1/3-1/2 the size of Teakettle's! Summit block took ~2 hours to get both climbers up.
The rappel down was slow going and tricky, but not the nightmare we expected. We used the ol' rope in the backpack gig to decrease rockfall with some level of success. Two rappels almost brought us back to the boulderfield. After the second rappel, I scrambled out of the couloir and hid in the boulderfield before giving aaron the "all clear". He accidentally stepped on one of the giant boulders which sent plenty of the large boulders flying the length of the couloir and through most/all of the boulderfield. Despite being well-protected in my hiding spot, it shook me to my core.