Alois Smrz and I climbed this route in August, 1990. After a bivouac on the Grandstand, we climbed the Italian Cracks variation to the Second Ledge. We then "walked" around the corner to the NW Face. We climbed the face to the left of the Great West Chimney. There was an old ring-eye piton in a belay alcove at the end of the second or third pitch. It is possible we finished on or near the top of Durrance's West Face route. If I ever digitize my old slides, I will post them here.
We did the North Ridge with the chimneys. I was surprised to not find a route page for this classic climb after all this time so I'm adding a few old photos from our climb of the original route. And I agree, this side of the Grand has some of the finest routes in the park.
Bill Krause and I climbed this wonderful route either in summer of 1989 or 1990 as part of our exploration of the North side of the Grand. I believe the North Ridge is a much better climb then the North Face. All the available variations, The Italian Cracks (awesome climbing) or this The North Ridge without the Chimneys provide a long (Grade IV), moderate (5.8 with a bit of 5.9) climbing in amazing alpine setting. IMO this North Ridge or the Black Ice Couloir to the West Face route (IV+, 5.8, mixed ice and rock) provide the two best moderate climbs on the North side of the Grand.
"Got tight last night on absinthe and did knife tricks. Great success shooting the knife into the piano. The woodworms are so bad and eat hell out of all furniture that you can always claim the woodworms did it."