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Dane

Rooster Comb, North Butt?

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Anyone here been on this route? I have the original accounts of the Colton-Leach ascent but was looking for something more current. thanks!

 

 

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Dane,

One of my regular partners climbed it in 2003, the same year 4 French did it. My friend bailed a few hundred feet above the crux gully, a few hundred feet of moderate terrain from the top. It was not clear if the French topped out either, I get the impression they did not, but they also climbed through the crux.

My friend (Walsh, with Semple) said of the crux pitch, the last hard one, that he might have backed off it if it wasn't so high on the route. He said it was a burly, runout chimney with a roof pull high above his last piece. There is also a dodgy aid pitch about 2/3 height where they aided off tied off stubbies in small patches of ice, then runout drytooling to aid off kb's. Apparently John Stoddard broke an ankle here in the 80's.

Generally the route is very thin ice and s'nice throughout. I made an attempt with Dan Aylward in 2004 that made it about halfway. We found even moderate ground to be tenuous and poorly protected, the rock is very compact. In 12 pitches we placed one ice screw. More than once we were simul climbing with a single knife blade for pro while climbing 70-80 degree snow/s'nice. Walsh had firmer conditions down low than we did, it made things too slow for us, but we also had bad spindrift and I was struck in the shoulders by a large random piece of ice which also helped send us down. I had a look at the route the next two years for another attempt but it was looking way too lean. Still hoping to go back some time, it is a cool line. Beware that the start is actually quite dangerous due to seracs from both sides. As we skied away from the schrund we were also knocked over by a good sized snow avy from the route itself- thankfully we were not still in the gully for it.

The last complete ascent I can confirm was Benoit Grison in 1984, which I think was the 3rd ascent.

 

 

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