Little Switzerland, Various First Ascents. From June 20-July 10, Bill Gamble, Mark Davis, Chris Giles, and I established three new routes in the Little Switzerland area. Eat the Queen (V 5.9 A2+) on the Throne ascends a line through the prominent V-slot right of the south face’s major prow. The line has nine roped pitches plus 400 feet of third-class to the lower summit. Due to warm weather and soft snow conditions, the corniced ridge to the main summit was dangerous and deemed by us to be unclimbable.
Our second route, The Insurrection (V 5.9 A2), was on the Royal Tower. This route ascends thin cracks on the east face, left of the central couloir. In the photo on page 192 of the 1999 AAJ, it is visible to the right of The Chase. The route was 13 pitches to the top of the rock buttress, nine of which were new, with the final four joining the existing line up the arête, left of the couloir. Thin nailing on the lower sections, and a beautiful crack out the right side of the face’s golden roofs, were the highlights of this quality route. With some protection bolts, several of the route’s pitches could go free.
Our final route, The Emperor’s Hanging Gardens (V 5.10 A2), was on the Throne. This route ascends the prominent V-slot left of the south face’s major prow. This route had excellent rock and would likely go free at mid-5.12 (a few protection bolts and some cleaning of vegetation from the cracks would be needed). The third pitch ascends a beautiful section of terraced rock covered in brilliant purple and yellow flowers (hence the name). This route has seven pitches of steep climbing with another 500 feet of “third-class” climbing up to 5.6 in difficulty.
All three of our routes joined existing lines for their last few pitches. We rappelled back the way we came on all routes, leaving two 3/8- by 2-inch Rawl bolts per anchor. For the first few raps of each route, we used whatever the previous parties had set up (webbing, slung horns, etc.), improving them where necessary. We had only four rain days on our trip, allowing us plenty of time and good weather.