The route reaches the summit of the spire via 2 short pitches. The route has one variation mentioned by the guidebooks (on pitch 1; see below). The route starts on the left side of the west face of the spire and then traverses onto the northwest face on pitch 2 - in other words, it can get chilly in the dead of winter.
Follow approach directions on the main Dark Angel page under Getting There
. Route starts at the base of the west face on the left side of a large, triangular flake.
Route DescriptionPitch 1:
5.9, 75 feet. Start on the left side of a triangular flake sitting at the base of the west face. The books mention climbing a 5.7 chimney formed by the left side of the flake and the tower proper but that did not look like the best option. Instead, climb the easy (low 5th) face of the flake near its left side. Short stem section near the top of flake brings you to a small ledge atop the flake. The crux of the pitch is a 15 foot finger crack (5.9) that puts you on a small ledge that is then traversed 6 feet left to fixed anchors.
The right hand side of the triangular flake has also been climbed acc. to guidebooks and is rated 5.8. Willow
provides the following beta for this variation: I climbed the right chimney variation, since the rock crumbled the least there and I could get gear. The rock on the ledge is pretty horrible, well about the same as if you face climbed, but I felt good about most of the gear I put in the right-hand chimney and the climbing wasn't too difficult. I used a couple of medium cams for the chimney.
5.11- or 5.7 A0, 60 feet. Move left and surmount a boulder problem on the left side of the belay ledge. Books claim it's 5.7 but I thought it was harder than the short 5.9 section on pitch 1. Atop the boulder, either climb the 5.11- face (that's Entrada sandstone face climbing...
) or A0 it on solid bolts and fixed angles. Bolt ladder ends as the angle kicks back. Runout 5.4 climbing on chunky rock brings you to the summit. Belay on bolts right of and 3 feet below the summit.
One double rope rap down the west face brings you back to your packs. Watch out for tourists when tossing the ropes.
One set of cams from green Alien (~0.5 inch; perhaps double green Aliens) to #3 Camalot. Three nuts (small, medium, large). Slings. Double ropes.