American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

North America, Canada, British Columbia, Selkirk Mountains, Crumble Tower, When Hairy Met Scary; and Half Dome, Irregular Route

  • Climbs And Expeditions
  • Climb Year:
  • Publication Year: 2005

Crumble Tower, When Hairy Met Scary; and Half Dome, Irregular Route. On August 9 Graham Rowbotham (Canada) and I made the first ascent of the limestone tower immediately south of Waldorf Tower in the Remillard Group of the Selkirk Mountains. We climbed the northwest buttress, which involved much face climbing on friable limestone with poor protection. Ten meters left of the toe of the buttress, the first pitch involved hairy climbing on decomposing rock in a prominent left-facing corner (5.9R). Next came the crux pitch: a 50m scary adventure into virtually crack-free, crumbly limestone (5.9+R/X). Six more pitches (to 5.7), generally following a chimney/gully left of the buttress crest, led to a shoulder below the final headwall. Beginning from a sandy ledge, the ninth pitch had neither a belay anchor nor any protection for the first 30m (5.8X). A final pitch led to the summit of this previously unnamed, unclimbed tower. We propose the name Crumble Tower and called our route When Hairy Met Scary (10 pitches, 5.9+R/X). We made five rockfall-threatened rappels down the north and west side of the peak to a bombarded muddy scree cone. Two days later, we climbed the northwest face of the granitic peak fittingly named Half Dome. Just right of the Death Slabs, we followed a faint buttress for three pitches (to 5.8) to where the terrain steepened. Three pitches (to 5.10a) led to a right-trending ramp, which we followed for two more pitches (5.7) to its abrupt end. The complex crux pitch followed thin cracks in an exposed setting (5.10c). We climbed another ramp up and right, curling onto the west face, to a multiple-pitch offwidth crack. I attempted to climb it but backed off, as I lacked sufficiently large protection or courage. We finished via three pitches of face and slab climbing 100m right of the offwidth (to 5.10a). We named our line The Irregular Route (13 pitches, 5.10c).

Jeremy Frimer, Canada

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