American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

North America, United States, Washington, Hai Tower, Diggin' for Dreams

  • Climbs And Expeditions
  • Climb Year:
  • Publication Year: 2012

Hai Tower, Diggin’ for Dreams. The Half Moon, Choi Oy, and Hai Tower massif forms a giant open book, easily visible from the nearby Liberty Bell group near Washington Pass. It was hard for us to believe that such a massive face was unclimbed. However, in speaking with several generations of local climbers, as well as Fred Beckey, we learned of no routes on the northwest face of Hai Tower. Alan Kearney and Beckey had done first ascents there, but they climbed much farther north, on Half Moon proper.

On August 25 Mike Pond, Rob Schiesser, and I climbed a prominent right-facing dihedral toward the right side of the face and then followed cracks to the summit. Of the nine pitches, seven were 5.10, one 5.11, and the “easy” one was a 5.8X lichen slab. We climbed the route onsight, in eight hours, with no bolts (1,000’, IV 5.11R). There was an old sling 250’ up, likely from an exploratory ascent that retreated where the corner runs out of good rock, protection, and features. We highly recommend this route; it follows high-quality, well- protected granite, except for two run-out slab pitches near the top (the R rating applies to pitches of 5.8 and 5.10, not to the 5.11). We plan to return to bolt two belays, as well as the X-rated eighth pitch, to make it safer and more enjoyable.

Diggin’ for Dreams is named for pitch four, which features two body lengths of large-grained kitty litter. As Mike tossed yet another handful, groping for something solid, Rob yelled up, “You dig for that dream!”

Alan Rousseau, AAC

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