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North America, Contiguous United States, Colorado, Rocky Mountain National Park, Enchainment

Rocky Mountain National Park, Enchainment. In August, Mike Pennings and I left the Longs Peak parking lot at 3 a.m. and climbed Pervertical Sanctuary (5.10) on the Diamond. We then dropped over the west side of Longs and soloed the North Ridge of Spearhead (5.6) before traversing around to climb the Petit Grepon’s South Face (5.8). From there we kicked steps up Andrew’s Glacier onto the Continental Divide and continued north to where we could glissade Tyndal Glacier to reach the north face of Hallet’s. We started up the classic Northcutt-Carter (5.7), but found a massive rockfall had eliminated the second pitch just days before. We were able to do a variation to the right, which was runout and 5.10. The rest of the route is the same as before, but the first two pitches could be unstable; finding an alternative is recommended. We summitted on Hallet’s and continued along the Divide to where we could glissade Ptarmigan Glacier to reach the south face of Notchtop. There, darkness caught us and we climbed the Spiral Route (5.4) by headlamp. We reached the Bear Lake parking lot at 1:30 a.m.

Our effort bagged 5,000 feet of climbing in about 20 miles of cross-country hiking but, as Pennings pointed out, our climbathalon was just the beginning of possible enchainments in the Park. Add Mt. Alice, Chief’s Head and Shark’s Tooth to the package for a full day.

Topher Donahue