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powderhound

first ascent [TR] Sawtooths: Baron Spire - FA: The Royalty Ridge IV 5.10+ 8/25/2008

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Trip: Sawtooths: Baron Spire - FA: The Royalty Ridge IV 5.10+

 

Date: 8/25/2008

 

Trip Report:

O.. My. I first got a look at this ridge when John and I completed my first route in the tooths, Carpal Tunnel on Baron Falls Tower which sits to the North West of Baron Spire. As soon as I spotted it I elbowed John in the side and said "I have to do that man." At this time I had only completed two alpine routes and knew I wasn't ready to take on such an endeavor. The next summer Trevor Bowman and I spent some more time in the Baron Spire area completing two FA's and once again I got to look at the full ridge. This time it didn't look as daunting and I thought that I might be able to pull it off with a couple years more experience. This summer Trevor and I went back to the Baron area for three trips. The first trip we attempted the east Face route that ascends a splitter hand crack, we did the crack and then got stormed off. We spent two days in the tent and then went out. We came back two days latter and completed lawdog's lament and deliverance and then left the next day. Storms were brewing for the next couple of days so we rented harness's at the YMCA in Sun Valley, and headed off to the "City" to get dialed and wait out the weather. The city was sick, no one was there but we were limited with the meager rack that we had with us. So back to Baron we went after five days of cragging. The plan was to hike in, scope the next day, sleep, get an alpine start and finish before dark, and hike out. Luckily for us that is how it went.

 

So here it is.....

 

royaly_ridge_edit.jpg

sorry about the picture I need to upload a bigger one so you can see the lables of the spires.

 

 

The route begins on the West side of the bottom shield it ascends up the face to a 90ft splitter in a clean white wall. Take this to the top of the first spire. From here we climbed all of the major spires and pinnacles except two small ones that didn't appear to have any descent options. We continued to stay on the true ridge until it joins the south ridge. We took the south ridge north towards the summit of baron.

 

 

shieldroyaltopo.jpg

 

 

Looking up at the lower shield. Trevor and I soloed up to 5.8 to get to the splitter in the face. From there we continued with low 5th class to the right facing corner/ chimney directly below the upper summit block "the queen". Take the corner to the north east side of the queen and make a 5.7 move to get to the summit.

 

We figure the first shield was about 650ft of climbing to reach the queen.

 

royslsplitter.jpg

 

Since I got to lead the splitter on Deliverance I thought it only fitting to let Trevor eat this thing up. I was kinda glad that I didn't because it turned out to be a bit more strenuous then we both initially thought.

Belay on ledge and head up the scrappy crack. 70ft 5.10+

 

topogqueen.jpg

There was a little crack on the summit slab which we might have been able to place a nut but we decided that a needles style rappel would be safer and less of a hassle. So we rapped off with the rope in a notch on my right side.

 

top_of_serf.jpg

The Serf also turned out to be a small 5.6 solo up to the top, starting on the north west using edges and the arete.

side note*

From here you can see the south ridge we joined it directly below the high point on the right and downclimbed and made a short rappel and then downclimbed to the notch. We are not sure if we were following the same line as Beckey but we do not think so. We went up ledges and steps on the west face below the ridge proper until we joined it a went up a large left facing corner at 5.6 to a small notch. From here we downclimbed ten feet and went up a short awkward crack created by a large chockstone at 5.9

 

The Jester: The next spire in line proved to be a bit more challenging and offered up some great chossy chimneying. The gear kinda sucks but it wasn't bad the route ascends a wide crack/chimney on the north west side of the jester. 5.9 90ft

Downclimb the east ridge of the jester to reach the notch between it and the Dark Knight.

 

The Dark Knight: From the true west ridge traverse right into a set of cracks that offer decent but not great protection. Take the flakes and finger and hand cracks to a notch. Belay in the notch next to a tree ten feet below summit. Climb up to the summit and rappel to the south west off a large block. 5.9+ 100ft

 

westroyal_spire_shot.jpg

This is looking back down the west ridge with baron behind me.

 

 

the_king.jpg

 

This is me rapping the King Spire. This is a view of its shortest side the south west side drops away more than 400ft. Climb a series of cracks and wedged blocks to large ledge.50ft Climb a short slab to a series of flaring cracks up high, take these cracks to a notch 8-10 feet below the summit next to a small tree. 140ft 5.10-R Climb to the summit and rappel off a large horn. I was pretty strung out on this pitch by the end. I thought I was going for my first whipper in the alpine.

 

From here put your regular shoes on and scramble up ledges, faces, and cracks to the south ridge.

 

see side note above for description of upper south ridge*

 

Overall the climb took 8.5 hours start to finish, and covered over 1700 vertical feet of rock.

 

Gear Notes:

Double to .75 BD and Single to #4 BD

 

Approach Notes:

From Baron head 500ft up to the low notch between Baron ans peak 9211'. Drop 1200ft down to the lake and head up the drainage to the south west. Head up this drainage 800ft to the base of the route.

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Nice work you little bastards! I cant wait for you two to have to get real jobs :laf:

 

Ill dig though my pics... I think I have a good one that captures most of the route... that ridge is as big or bigger than anything we have out here :tup::rawk:

 

Very jealous but stoked you two nabbed it!

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