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Wasootch Tower

Difficulty: 
Alpine Climb
Elevation [m]: 
2070
Round Trip Distance [km]: 
6.9
Net Elevation Gain [m]: 
500
Total Elevation Gain [m]: 
550
YDS Difficulty: 
5.5
Ascent Time: 
8:00
Bushwhackyness: 
Pretty much none
Tripdate: 
Saturday, May 23, 2015

Taking a break from alpine snow routes, Steven, Ken, and I set off on a very different objective the mighty Wasootch Tower (a unofficially named outlier of Wasootch Peak).  Wasootch Tower is home to several technical climbing routes, we chose the '5.5 North Ridge Direct' a well equipped trad line which would give a nice warm up for the alpine rock season.  Rolling with a group of 3 creates some logistical challenges but we were keen to improve our efficiency for 3 man rope teams in the future.

Getting to the trailhead at the popular Wasootch Creek parking lot at around 6:30 we were just in time to see light starting to illuminate our ascent ridge.  This route has a delightfully short approach (at least relative to 11000er standards!) and after 20 minutes or so in the creek bed we were heading up the ascent drainage and soon after at the start of the first pitch.  I had previously said I'd be fine with leading the route and for added training decided to do everything in mountaineering boots (not the most slab compatible of footwear..).

The first pitch gets going very quickly with a traverse from a bolted belay to a overhanging ledge which has to be gained to carry on with progress.  Thankfully there is a bolt on the other side of the ledge (which can't be seen as you are leading it!) which decreases the commitment.  Beware rope drag as the route traverses across!

The later pitches are a blend of scrambling terrain and 5th class with a few pretty tricky moves thrown in for good measure.  The last technical pitch before traversing to the summit started off with an exceptionally interesting vertical progression, at least interesting with boots!

The sixth pitch had an interesting chimney feature that also made for very careful climbing in boots!

There is a very good topo for the route online at Rockiesobscure.com

Setting off from the spacious Wasootch parking lot.

 

Looking up at the route which follows the left skyline ridge.

 

Up the approach trail we go.

 

Me on the first pitch.  Photo by Steven Song.

 

Looking down at Ken after the second pitch.  Photo by Steven Song.

 

Me placing some gear in the chimney.  Photo by Steven Song.

 

Ken belaying me up the last technical pitch.  Photo by Steven Song.

 

Almost at the summit, only 3'rd class from here.

 

Still have to be careful though.

 

 

Partial summit pano.

 

Steven heading down the second rap.

 

Looking back up at our descent route.

 

Still some post holing to be contended with on descent.

 

Quite a good trail going down, just riddled with ticks though!

 

Good start to the rock season.

rating: 
4
Average: 4 (1 vote)

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