Monday, August 22, 2011

More New Routes


It's the dog days of summer, but despite the heat there has been a small burst of new route activity at the North Rim. Three climbs have gone up in the last week and a-half. Of note, two are gear lines.

Those who've been up to the area the past month have no doubt seen the yellow "tag" line hanging off some low anchors on the enticing buttress located at the foot of the approach gulley. Tim placed these anchors with the assistance of Jake. They represent a first look at getting some routes up on what we are tentatively calling the "First Buttress." We hope this area will fill a gap in Missoula-Bitterroot climbing: a place where you can take your significant other, friends, co-workers, kids and dogs to learn to climb and they will actually have fun on a variety of climbs. It will take some cleaning, but the First Buttress looks like it will yield at least a half-dozen easy to moderate climbs that people will enjoy. It also offers a great setting plus avoids the final hump up the approach gulley to the Tick Farm proper. The vision for this wall is for safe routes where people can learn to climb and develop their skills. So stay tuned for more to come over the next few months.

Meanwhile, after getting the go-ahead from Tim, Alec Sundet nabbed the first line on First Buttress, climbing 5.8 moves protected entirely by gear up to the new anchors. Following is Alec's report of the route, Wild at Heart, along with its 5.6 variation. Thanks Alec!

Wild at Heart, Beginners Buttress, 5.8. Gear. August 2011.

Wild at Heart
photo courtesy Alec Sundet

I led this climb twice. Once from the left hand side where the [tag line] was tied off, which I would give about a 5.6 rating. I then climbed the face exactly below the anchors, which was a bit more difficult. I would give it a 5.7/5.8 rating. I used a #2 BD on the first wide crack about 10 feet off the ground. Next there's a thin crack less than 1cm wide that I was able to shove a great nut into. The next move involved pulling up under the roof where a #3 could be placed, but I skipped it, went left into the dihedral and placed an amazing #10 BD nut. Overall it's a pretty fun climb!


Around the corner from Wild at Heart and a 100 feet or so up the gulley, Kurt was back at work. Continuing his quest to climb all the dirty off-widths and chimneys in the amphitheater, he ticked off the first ascent of Because This One Is Also There.

The route ascends the middle of three wide cracks in the area to the right of Give and Take. With the other two cracks still unclimbed, we can look for Kurt to continue his theme of "just because" climbs.

His partner in crime and grime on this first ascent, Olin Martin, said the climb will be fun "once the bushes and loose rock are removed," though it should be noted a slow shaking of his head accompanied the report.

Here's the route summary from Kurt.

Because This One Is Also There, 5.9-. Gear. August 2011.

Because This One Is Also There
Kurt Krueger on the First Ascent

Down slope around a small corner right of Give and Take are 3 cracks. Climb the middle one. Wander up the crack until you get to the crux roof crack. Climb it on good pro and wonder why you just don't climb cracks all the time. Take a standard rack with a 3-1/2, 4 and 5 Camalot. Could also do it with up to the number 4 and some doubles of the 2 and 3. Belay from the top, then traverse left to the rap anchors for Li'l Crack and Give and Take. Or better yet, climb Because It's There as your second pitch. This incredible link-up awaits its first ascent!!!


Farther up-slope, between the Tick Farm and the Big Science area, Dane Scott, Kurt and Olin completed a new sport pitch on the left side of the Tiger Stripe wall. The climb is called Liger and has the provisional grade of 5.10d. The route does not start on the upper ledge like the other Tiger Stripe wall climbs, but begins on the flat spot at the top of the trail near the Big Science sector. It has 10 bolts and there are 2 distinct cruxes. The first is at a small roof 30 feet off the ground. A second tricky section is about two-thirds of the way up the climb and features big reaches on gorgeous rock. The climb ends on a large ledge 90 feet up, beneath an obvious left-facing dihedral. The team plans to return to add a second pitch, which itself promises to be one of the best trad pitches at the Tick Farm!

Liger, Tiger Stripe wall. 5.10d. Bolts to sport anchors. 90 feet. August 2011.

On left side of Tiger Stripe wall

Starts about 20 feet left of start of Tick Traverse (very left edge of Tick Farm wall). Follow bolts to ledge with large bush beneath clean left-facing dihedral. Single 60m rope.

Start of Liger

Because This One Is Also There