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North America, United States, Colorado, Northwest Face of Chief's Head

Northwest face of Chief’s Head. Early in the summer of 1961 Layton Kor and I made the first ascent of the northwest face on Chief’s Head Peak in Rocky Mountain National Park. No previous attempts had been made although this 1500-foot granite face is one of the most challenging climbs in the area. The wall is smooth and featureless with only a few black water bands and an occasional small flake or corner to indicate route possibilities.

The route began at the center of the base of the wall and continued directly upwards with only minor deviations. The climbing was all face climbing on steep, smooth slabs with few cracks. Very difficult fifth class climbing was encountered immediately and, on the second lead, three pitons were required for aid. The third lead began with a short traverse to the left and continued upwards and to the left across a water band. After a traverse back to the right, several leads of hard fifth class climbing led to a tiny dièdre which required two pitons. The final lead was discovered by traversing to the right in an apparent cul de sac and was marked by a vertical piton crack. Five pitons were used for aid on the climb and three bolts were driven for belay anchors. The climbing time was eleven and one half hours.

Robert Culp, Colorado Mountain Club