American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

The Guardian, Weather Window Waltz

United States, Colorado, San Juan Mountains

  • Climbs And Expeditions
  • Climb Year: N/A
  • Publication Year: 2012

In August 2011 Wesley Ashwood, Kelsey Sheely, and I put up a new line on the northeast face of the Guardian (13,617') in the East Grenadier Range of the southern San Juan Mountains. My two previous attempts on the face had been thwarted by weather (once with Jon Rezabek, once with Ashwood). Weather forecasts revealed a three- day window of sunshine, so we had to try again. We camped east of the Guardian, next to Vallecito Creek. The following morning we hiked a steep 1,200' slope to the face and began climbing, at 8 a.m., on the left side of the prominent, water- streaked dihedral. Eight pitches of surprisingly solid quartzite corners and cracks, punctuated by occasional broken sections, brought us to the high ridge, where the angle eased. We simul- climbed the ridge for 500', then strolled to the summit in the evening alpenglow. We descended the mountain’s long, nontechnical south side, arriving in camp at 2 a.m. and celebrating with kipper snacks and whiskey. We christened the route Weather Window Waltz (1,700', IV 5.9).

Nic Harnish, Durango

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