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Standard Route - 5.1

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Rock (Trad)
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From Topp Hut bear east across the desert (directly toward the Spire) until a relatively prominent trail, running northwest-southeast, is crossed near a small cairn after about 15 minutes of walking. Follow this trail southward into the draw which terminates the welt which comes down from Gerch's Folly and mount the welt just to the south. Follow this welt up to where it broadens and becomes brushier, then bear upwards and right, following a faint trail, until you drop into the great arroyo to the south. At the proper point to do this, the trail becomes very clear and leads down into a thick bower of scrub oak, where the ground is perpetually coated with a carpet of dead leaves (the "Deer's Trysting Place"). Climb onto the welt to the south, a broad meadow of high grass concealing tumbled boulders, and slog upward, passing to the right of the first large rock shoulder encountered. At the elevation of this shoulder, a fairly clear trail, vastly improved by the massive rescue operation on the Spire in 1963, should become evident. Follow this trail upward, bearing always to the right to avoid rock obstructions over a series of little saddles. Finding yourself engaged in 3rd Class climbing indicates that you are too far left. Eventually you arrive at the rock slabs directly below Low Horn #6. Proceed to the Low Horn #6 - Spire Saddle hugging the rock of Low Horn #6 on your left as closely as possible. Then drop down a few feet into a little bowl lying on the W Side of the Spire. This ends the approach. Climb out of the bowl at a point well to the right and traverse left on a ledge. Climb another easy pitch to a small, sheltered platform at the foot of the Spike on the Spire, a sharp 60 foot gendarme visible from afar. The route goes up the rock directly behind the Spike to a level place below a large cave-like crack between a great block on the left and sloping friction pitches on the right. Go up a short friction and small holds pitch on the right side of this crack, which leads to a perch above the great block from which the NW Face comes into view. Traverse onto the Face along easy ledges to a prominent vertical fault which more or less bisects the Face. Climb a short chimney, walk a hundred feet, then climb the left aide of a second chimney and traverse left some 30 feet to a small comfortable ledge. The next pitch is a the hardest on the route: a 12 foot wall with inadequate handholds at the top. You gain another ample ledge, the Rappel Point, provided with fixed pitons. (This is where G. Goedecke and A. Hunt spent a miserable night after having been struck by falling rock in the fall of 1963.) Above this ledge the fault widens into an ample gully, full of loose rock, leading to the summit 200 feet above.

Descent Options:

On the descent take the gully down to the Rappel Point, whence one 150 foot rappel lands you at the foot of the bottom chimney. Then climb back down the ascent route to the Sdddle, and retrace the approach to Topp Hat.

Submitted by: LongReach on 2008-04-18
Views: 390
Route ID: 93153