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North America, United States, Idaho, Mount Heyburn, North Face of East Peak, Sawtooth Range

Mount Heyburn, North Face of East Peak, Sawtooth Range. Probably the most accessible of all Sawtooth peaks, Mount Heyburn has, strangely, seen little of the technical climber. Jerry Fuller and I climbed the north buttress of the west peak several years ago. We returned this year to climb the longer northern face of the east peak. On the morning of August 31 we left our campsite at the highest Bench Lake and climbed the rockslide to the foot of the 1200-foot final wall. The first pitch turned out to be one of the finest—sound granite, with some exacting and difficult free climbing, led well by Jerry. After being stopped by verglas in a dank, evil-looking chimney, we climbed around a corner into a new chimney, that eventually required a few pitons for aid before going free again. The route worked left onto a buttress that gave us two pitches of beautiful climbing, then into a chimney that had both ice and rotten rock. Several pitons of aid took me out of trouble, to a tiny belay platform; here Jerry traversed right and found an overhanging pitch around a gigantic chockstone that went free only because of the clever use of handholds. Gully climbing then took us to a final headwall, where sound rock again led to the false summit; this pitch was partly aid and partly free on a system of vertical cracks. We then climbed over several short pinnacles to the highest point of the east peak. We used about 35 pitons on the new route.

Fred Beckey