The Northest Face of the Warrior in the Cirque is included in Beckey’s relatively new book as one of his “100 Favorite North American Climbs”
. I know it would not make a list of my favorite 100. But this route is one of his FA’s and thus no doubt why he had fond memories of it. In 1962
it would have been a grand achievement for sure.
There really is not much to the first several pitches. Pitch 3 seems to get several folks attention from a route finding perspectiv
e as there are several ways to climb it. The fourth and fifth pitches are uneventful. The sixth pitch is the cleanest and best pitch en route. The seventh and eight pitches offer fun exposure. There are several variations on those last pitches. The route can go fast for competent parties, we were on the summit by noon.
From the Cirque, hike up scree towards the col between Warbonnet and the Warrior. There is normally a snow patch you are aiming for but will not have to cross. Cut back right through water worn rock to gain an obvious large grassy ramp that leads up to the base of the northeast face (the top of the ramp). The first two pitches could be soloed but most go ahead and tie in at the top of this ramp and just simul-climb the left side of this separate feature to the next ledge up where the real climbing begins.
Steph Abegg, my partner and photographer for this climb, did an outstanding job on this topo pic displaying the route
as well as writing up a detailed trip report on her blog site.
Route DescriptionNortheast Face, 1200’+/-, 5.9
1st/2nd Pitches- 320’- 5.6/
The first pitch in the guidebook is rated 5.4 but most of it seemed like 4th class. It is more comfortable to just rope up at the top of the grassy ramp and simul climb to the large ledge above and below the main wall. The end of the second pitch follows a right leaning crack that some might think is closer to 5.7 than 5.6 but it is short lived to the big ledge above. You pass one slung rap along the way (2014).
3rd Pitch- 120’- 5.9/
There are several ways to climb this pitch up a wandering section of the northeast face. I trended up and right and took a fun angled hand rail from right to left that eventually joined a right facing corner that is followed on the face out right to a broad ledge. Some folks call it R….some call it the crux…I found it to be fairly mellow albeit a bit run out.
4th Pitch- 190’- 5.9/
Head up to a chimney and then climb a left facing corner to a ledge. Even though reported by others, no real off-width technique is needed as I recall. It is a straight-forward pitch. Some call it the crux, some want multiple pieces of large gear. It depends on your experience level no doubt. I thought it was yet another fairly mellow pitch for the grade. I think folks who are climbing the classic on Pingora at their upper level are getting on this route and making more to do about it than what is reality.
5th Pitch- 70’- 5.5/
Climb the right side of a pillar to a nice ledge below a corner/splitter.
6th Pitch- 100’- 5.9/
Run up the obvious hand sized splitter which is definitely the best pitch en route. Belay on a small ledge above the slab finish.
7th Pitch- 140’- 5.7/
It appears folks get off route here. Angle up right to a slung rap on the arête on easy ground. Climb a fun and exposed hand rail right of the arête. The true finish goes up a nice splitter located just a few meters around the arete. My partner extended her lead further right on the north face below a less traveled corner crack system.
8th Pitch- 170’- 5.9/
This was probably the crux pitch for us but I believe it is off route. It was ok, the crack splitter back closer to the arête looked like better rock and climbing. Layback and stem up the chossy finger/hand corner/crack system to the very summit.
There is a tower that impedes the supposed “walk off” option. I am sure there are a few raps and climbing pitches involved, losing ground, regaining it, etc. to reach the main ridge of the Warrior. We took a photo of this tower from the summit of Warbonnet when we climbed Black Elk and I included it on this page.
Therefore, we chose to rap with a single 70m rope
. We had one down climb off the rope near the top and added one rap towards the end and maybe did one short rap off of a fixed piece somewhere in between. It starts off a slung block on the summit climbers-left of the route. I think my partner said she counted 10 raps
. The only weird one was in the middle when you get to the base of pitch 7. The slung rap looks likes it directs you into a chimney and it does. Go ahead and go down the chimney
and look for an old Beckey rap (check out some of that hardwear!) on your right that gets you back out onto the face.
Double ropes if you want a quicker and safer rap. 70m rope if you want to avoid any bad pulls. Single rack to C4#4. Doubles from C4 #.4 to #2. A few offset cams or nuts would be helpful since you are building most of your stations although you can sling a lot of blocks as well. True NE facing: morning sun, afternoon shade. Seemed like we had plenty of sun but we were done climbing by noon. There can be a solid wind tunnel through here, so expect it to be colder than you might think from camp
. Fairly chossy route, I advise helmets particularly if you are going to rap it.