American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

Mt. Langley, Horizontal Thought Movement

United States, California, Sierra Nevada

  • Climbs And Expeditions
  • Author: Nate Ricklin, Pullharder Alpine Club
  • Climb Year: 2009
  • Publication Year: 2010
I’d been eyeballing this line on the 1,500' north face of Mt. Langley for a year, since I noticed that Rest and Be Thankful, the north arête route put up by Alois Smrz and Miguel Carmona 10 years ago, was the only route on the face.

It felt like summer was slipping away. My friends Shay Har-Noy and Luke Stefurak had been up to the face the previous weekend, trying to scoop “my” line, but luckily (for me) they failed, climbing a detached tower that led nowhere and which they called the Unstoppable Tango Tower. With some idea of where not to go, I found a willing partner. Ben Cohen had never been in the High Sierra, never climbed an alpine route, never been to 14,000', and never simul-climbed, but I knew he’d be solid.

Our route starts at the base of the sweeping arête that curves down from the summit, to the right of Rest and be Thankful. Four vertical pitches, including a wide crack, zig-zagging through blocky towers, and a hand crack through a small roof, lead to the arête’s most prominent feature, a huge horizontal jog. Easy climbing along the arête soon leads to a huge open book, which we climbed directly, with a tricky face exit to the left. A few more pitches of easy fifth lead to the summit. We topped out on September 6 and descended the northeast couloir straight to our base camp.

We named the route Horizontal Thought Movement (5.8), a mash-up between a Franklin Merrell-Wolff book chapter and the big horizontal jog on the route.

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