Fifty Classic Climbs Of North America

Fifty Classic Climbs Of North America

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Sign the Climber's Log


Note that I meant this as a bare-minimum type list - just a quick reference for an out of print book. I'm slowly adding the links to the remaining routes. If you want to make this fancy and purty, go 'head - I'll give you the page ownership.

Fifty Classic Climbs Of North America

by Steve Roper & Alan Steck

First published (hardcover) in 1979 by Sierra Club Books. Information here summarized from a soft cover reprint (ISBN 0-87156-292-8).


Formation & route names (including ratings) copied verbatim from the book. Complain to Steve & Alan if your favorite 5.10b climb has been downrated to a 5.9 or if the ratings lead you to bring a hammer and pins onto The Nose or if you get busted by a Navajo land owner or if your chosen route has been obliterated by rock fall or if you don’t quite survive an encounter with an alpine ridge…

Since the book is long out of print and somewhat hard to find, this might be a semi-useful list (probably not).

Why are there some “lame” routes on the list as opposed to some “modern classics”? Don’t know – again ask the authors though in some cases timing may be to blame: Prodigal Son (FA: Ron Olevsky, 1981), Primrose Dihedral (FA: Ed Webster 1979, FFA: Ed Webster & Steve Hong 1979), Black Velvet Wall (FA: Joe Herbst & Tom Kaufman, 1973…which led to the more classic Epinephrine "variation" courtesy of Joe Herbst, Joanne & George Urioste 1978), etc...

Note that Gary Clark provides a "modernized" list of North American classics: here.

Wonder who on SP holds the record for ticking off the most of these? How many?

The List

Alaska and the Yukon

1 Mount Saint Elias, Abruzzi Ridge

2 Mount Fairweather, Carpe Ridge

3 Mount Hunter, West Ridge

4 Mount McKinley, Cassin Ridge

5 Moose’s Tooth, West Ridge

6 Mount Huntington, West Face 5.9 A2 with “severe snow and ice”

7 Mount Logan, Hummingbird Ridge

8 Middle Triple Peak, East Buttress VI 5.9 A3

Western Canada

9 Mount Sir Donald, Northwest Arete III 5.2

10 Bugaboo Spire, East Ridge III 5.7

11 South Howser Tower, West Buttress V 5.8 A2 or 5.10

12 Mount Robson, Wishbone Arete V 5.6

13 Mount Edith Cavell, North Face IV 5.7

14 Mount Alberta, Japanese Route IV 5.6

15 Mount Temple, East Ridge IV 5.6

16 Mount Waddington, South Face V 5.7

17 Devil’s Thumb, East Ridge IV 5.6

18 Lotus Flower Tower V 5.8 A2 or 5.10

The Pacific Northwest

19 Mount Rainier, Liberty Ridge

20 Forbidden Peak, West Ridge II 5.2

21 Mount Shuksan, Price Glacier

22 Slesse Mountain, Northeast Buttress V 5.9 A2

23 Mount Stuart, North Ridge III 5.4

24 Liberty Bell Mountain, Liberty Crack V 5.9 A3


25 Devil’s Tower, Durrance Route II 5.6-5.7

26 Grand Teton, North Ridge IV 5.7

27 Grand Teton, Direct Exum Ridge III 5.6

28 Grand Teton, North Face IV 5.8

29 Mount Moran, Direct South Buttress IV 5.7 A3

30 Pingora, Northeast Face IV 5.8

31 Wolf’s Head, East Ridge II 5.5


32 Crestone Needle, Ellingwood Ledges III 5.7

33 Hallett Peak, Northcutt-Carter Route III 5.7

34 Petit Grepon, South Face III 5.7

35 Longs Peak, The Diamond V 5.7 A4 or 5.11

The Southwest

36 Shiprock III 5.7 A2 or 5.9

37 Castleton Tower, Kor-Ingalls Route III 5.9

38 The Titan IV 5.8 A3


39 The Royal Arches III 5.6 A1 or 5.9

40 Lost Arrow Spire III 5.5 A3 or 5.10 A2

41 Sentinel Rock, Steck-Salathe Route V 5.9 A3

42 Middle Cathedral Rock, East Buttress IV 5.9 A1 or 5.10

43 Half Dome, Northwest Face VI 5.9 A3 or 5.11

44 El Capitan, Nose Route VI 5.11 A3

45 El Capitan, Salathe Wall VI 5.10 A3

46 Mount Whitney, East Face III 5.4

47 Fairview Dome, North Face III-IV 5.9

48 Clyde Minaret, Southeast Face IV 5.8

49 Charlotte Dome, South Face III 5.7

50 Lover’s Leap, Traveler Buttress II 5.9

Additions and CorrectionsPost an Addition or Correction

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Klenke - Sep 27, 2006 4:02 pm - Voted 9/10

Ship Rock two words

Nice. I've wondered what some of the objectives were for this list. So, Ship Rock: it's two words. The nearby town is one word. Does the guidebook have it as one word? If so, phooey.


rpc - Sep 27, 2006 4:05 pm - Hasn't voted

Re: Ship Rock two words

I've wondered what some of the objectives were for this list Paul, you mean MY objectives or Roper & Steck's? I'm simply putting down the list they wrote since I could not really find a good one on the web elsewhere before (& book is out of print). Just another list although probably one of the most famous (?). Yeah, I've copied exactly what they have in the book - I'll double check Ship.....


Klenke - Sep 27, 2006 5:49 pm - Voted 9/10

Re: Ship Rock two words

If R & S have it as one word they are wrong and this means they didn't double-check. I figured it was their list not yours. Who cares what YOU want to do. :)

Martin Cash

Martin Cash - Sep 27, 2006 10:10 pm - Hasn't voted

Looks good so far

Nice idea. I personally think that all of the grades should be updated to the established and agreed current standard. For example, the North Ridge of Stuart is a 5.7 now. One idea for the list may be to include a little speal on each. For example, what makes this climb special or unique? Just a thought.


rpc - Sep 27, 2006 11:57 pm - Hasn't voted

Re: Looks good so far

Thanks Martin. I was sort of planning on keeping it simple - just provide links to whatever of these have pages on SP (and there they can look up the "modernized" ratings). Maybe couple of photos. My approach is that this is just a bare list that they've put together. Also, I only did a tiny handful of these climbs and so can't really give insight/thoughts on a bulk of these (other than copying out of the book). If someone more qualified steps up, it's all theirs.


mvs - Sep 7, 2007 7:59 pm - Voted 10/10

I think there are updates

Hi Radek, I think there have been some new pages added so you can add links...Sir Donald for example. Awesome page!


rpc - Sep 10, 2007 12:24 pm - Hasn't voted

Re: I think there are updates

Hi Michael - thank you for checking this out. Yeah - I know, I need to get around & put some time into this page :) Give me a couple of evenings at home & I'll take care of it. Radek

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