Vampire Spire, New Routes. During the first three weeks of August, Colorado climbers Pat Goodman, Nan Darkis and I traveled to Canada’s Northwest Territories to the Vampire Spires. Located 25 miles north of the Cirque of the Unclimbables in the Logan Mountain range, this group of steep granite peaks was rumored to offer excellent potential for new routes. This proved to be true and we established Base Camp in a plush meadow, a 30-minute hike away from the spires, and immediately scoped a new line.
Taking advantage of 75° weather, our team succeeded on a seven- pitch line during the first three days. The Lair of the White Worm (V 5.11 A2+) ascends an obvious, continuous crack system on the east face of the 1,200-foot Vampire, 150 feet to the right of the 1995 route, The Infusion. The climbing involved everything from face to thin nailing to offwidth and chimney, with one bivy on a good ledge at the top of the fifth pitch. The Lair of the White Worm will go all free at around 5.12c; however, it took five days of perfect weather to completely dry some crucial sections.
After regrouping for one day and still in the midst of unbelievably stable weather, we began work on another great-looking line conveniently on the same spire. Sanguin Solution (V 5.11 A2+) added 500 feet of new climbing to The Infusion, and the three of us again summitted after three days. We finished just as the weather deteriorated into an exciting electrical storm.
Both the Vampire Spire and its towering neighbor, the Fortress, still have potential for new lines, especially hard nailing. Located three miles south is the Phoenix, an interesting, steep, 2,500-foot formation with only one existing route and potential for several hard nailing routes. Golden Wing Buttress, a steep, clean-looking 800-foot wall, stands two miles to the east of the Phoenix and is also relatively untapped.
Brad Jackson, unaffiliated