American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

M&M Wall, Golden Age

Washington, North Cascades

  • Climbs And Expeditions
  • Author: Colin Moorhead, Canada​
  • Climb Year: 2016
  • Publication Year: 2017

In the summer of 2014 I had the privilege of joining Blake Herrington and Max Tepfer to establish a new line on the mysterious M&M Wall (a.k.a. Supercave Wall). This impressive, 1,000’ south-facing wall is two miles north of the famous Liberty Bell massif. The 11-pitch route we climbed that summer, the Tiger, featured beautiful climbing on flawless granite (AAJ 2015).

Over the following two years I would often return to the images I had snapped of the cliff, dreaming of the possibility of another line, linking features up the steep swath of stone to the left of the Tiger. In the spring of 2016, I returned with a highly motivated Tom Wright and established Golden Age over two weekends in May and June. Taking advantage of spring snow in the approach gully and a straightforward 4th-class ledge system leading to the top, we opted for a top-down approach. Some large trundles and epic top-rope sends were realized, but progress was slowed by intermittent bursts of precipitation and regularly scheduled union breaks. On the final ascent day, a coin toss determined the order of leads, and both climbers freed every pitch.

Golden Age (IV 5.12b) features sustained 5.11 climbing with one pitch of 5.12. All belays are bolted, and there is excellent protection throughout the climb. The name is a response to the pundits claiming that the golden age of climbing has passed. With the explosion of difficult multi-pitch free climbs being established throughout North America over the last decade, we would have to say we are still living in the golden age.

– Colin Moorhead, Canada

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