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N Face Direct - 5.6

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Go to a tumbled tower on the far left side of the N Face, whose top is about on a level with the prominent grassy band crossing its lower part. (Bushy approach--best to leave Rabbit Ear Canyon almost due east of this spot.) The first pitch takes you over a steep slab on some small holds to the grassy band, where you run out the rope. Continue on the grassy band and up to a good belay spot from which obvious broken-up rock leads you back toward a prominent little ledge in the middle of the face. Climb up to this ledge and then directly above it (first hard spot) to a belay on a good big ledge which runs all the way west to the Ridge. Directly above you now is a clean sweep of smooth slabs. Move left a little bit to get on to the slab, then back to the right and up to a fixed bong. If you climb straight up above this bong, you are doing the route right (about 5.6 here: small holds); if you move 8' to the left, you are cheating on easier rock. Continue straightup, zigzagging a little to use the scanty nut protection, to the summit of this main surface, Face I. Face II, behind it and across the Escape Gully, is one pitch up 3rd class rock, then a traverse on the most feasible ledge to the left. A funny little step-around at the very end. Face III, the 60' high facelet at the very top, serves several routes. Start from a good belay spot up a way in the middle of the face. Up and leftward with delicate footwork to the little Sickle Ledge. Mantle onto this (or get onto it somehow), then get your left foot as high as possible, assume a giant spreadeagle position, and reach a finger hold with the right hand. (If you do this well, you automatically qualify for any ballet company.) Or, you can climb straight up on admittedly small holds. This is the crux pitch of Face III and probably of the whole N Face Route. Continue to the top on steep but easier rock. There are many variations of this line. On Face I you can bear well left from the last belay spot on this face, then back to the right along a shallow diagonal crack, exposed and with poor pin protection, but easier than the Direct up the slabs to the right. One can also bypass them on the right, going almost to the Ridge, then back. You can even start up the ridge of Face I from the beginning ("tumbled tower") for a relaxing 4th class climb. On Face II there is a hard variation (Clem's Route) which passes somewhere below the one described. On Face III one can avoid the strenuous spreadeagle by bypassing on the left.

Submitted by: LongReach on 2008-04-18
Views: 423
Route ID: 93149