Rolling Mountain sits in the back of Mineral Valley just north of Silverton. One of the forks for South Mineral Creek comes from Rolling's north face run off. It's rugged north face inspires alpinists and offers a multitude of options for those wishing to rope up and try their luck. The best time to climb the face is in late fall or spring as the face is prone to avalanches during mid-winter. I've climbed 3 new routes on the face each a spectacular outing with the average time to climb and return around 12 hrs. Be prepared as the face offers challenges for all.
Rolling Mountain is comprised of varying layers of granite from horrifying loose runouts to solid climbing. Makes for a great adventurous day. Gear will vary from nuts to red camalots. All three of our new routes were mixed affairs. If you attempt the face in the fall, allow enough weather and snow for melt/freeze to take place. You'll want to start early keeping the face frozen. All climbs started pre-dawn for the approach and climbing began at sun up. It's a north face route so plan on being cold.
Head north out of Silverton and take the Mineral Creek exit (west) off of Hwy 160. Follow the dirt road past the campground to the back of the valley. Rolling Mountain is the peak directly in front of you as you drive out of the dark timber and along slide paths. 4 Wheel drive recommended. Great camping and abundant water supply.
70m ropes work great for routes on this face. For all routes, you'll have to ascend snow/scree slopes to the base of the peak. 16 Penny climbs the face 100m left of the prominent coloir (Another of our routes) in the middle of the face.
Pitch 1-Climb the corner/crack system straight up stemming, hooking, and drytooling (5.8 M4/5). Gear of all sizes. Belay at the start of a 30m slab . Pitch 2-Look right from the slab and notice a dihedral. Head right to the dihedral, crank the small bulge at the corner (5.8) and head up the dihedral (20m) exiting onto a steep snow slope. Go up the snowslope to a roof and follow the roof left (5.7) exiting onto a steep mixed face (M4). Look for a good anchor spot at the top of the mixed pitch. Pitch 3-Changabang Traverse...Head right across the face and slab hooking your way to an obvious roof where the only good pros can be found (40m M4/5 R). Take a break, sink a couple of cams in, and watch as your friend follows across. Pitch 4-Continue traversing right until an exit point into a coloir appears. Belay at the coloir. Pitch 5-Climb up the snow/ice filled coloir for a full rope length (WI 3). Belay to the side as this coloir is prone to rock fall as the face heats up slightly during the day. Pitch 6-Continue climbing up the coloir until you exit on the summit ridge. Exit the coloir and scramble up the summit ridge.
Descent - downclimb the south face and head east down the valley back towards Mineral Creek. Caution!!!!! On one first ascent, while caught in an early season snow/rain/fog storm, my partner and I descended down the wrong valley and ended up hiking out Cascade Creek in the middle of a whiteout. She became hypothermic and delirious resulting in one of the most epic experiences in my life. Make sure you head down the right valley!!!!
A standard mountain rack works great on this face. A few nuts, micro cams, 1 red camlot, some knifeblades, a couple of stubby screws. Tools and crampons. A 70m rope is the ticket.
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