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[TR] Lion's Head - Lion Tamer 8/30/2016


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Trip: Lion's Head - Lion Tamer


Date: 8/30/2016


Trip Report:

Jonathan was out in the Sandpoint area and asked me about climbing something. We settle on Lion Tamer which is up on the north face of Lion's Head near Priest Lake, ID. Overall it is a great route and more people should make the trip up there to climb it.


We camped at the trailhead the night before and set off from the truck about 6:45am. The trail was easy to follow and is now flagged (with pink tape) all the way to the boulder field at the base of Lion's Head....thanks Scott Coldiron!! Scott has been putting in the time up there to mark the trail and cut the fallen logs and the "climber's trail" was a lot easier to follow than I had anticipated. Made it to the base of the route in 90 minutes. The start of the route is very easy to find as you can see the huge corner splitting the north face that you follow up. We used Scott Coldiron's and Joe Lind's descriptions from their CCC TR's for the route finding and found them very accurate.


Pitch 1 is clean, fun, and in my opinion the crux of the route. Great gear with a few loose flakes in places. I stuck to the actual chimney up high instead of going left on flakes. It went although pulling the roof out of the chimney was burly without good feet. Pitch 2 was mostly fun 7/8 climbing although the crack was definitely dirtier. We pulled off a bunch of moss in a couple spots and generally tried to clean things up. Pitch 3 was easier than it looked although moving from the thin hands crack to the next crack 4 feet right was a blind move for me. After that short section of 10 climbing it was moderate although plenty more moss to clean. Pitch 4 was pretty short consisting of 20 feet of 5.9 wide crack then easy flakes to the base of the chimney. Pitch 5 starts out with a chimney that is way easier than it looks, then the crack narrows down. This is supposed to be the technical crux of the route with fingers going up about 20 feet to a great left trending hand rail traverse. Personally I felt that pitch 1 was harder but maybe that is because I am not great at chimney climbing. Pitch 6 is just a few feet of 5th class climbing up and around the corner to the right, then easy ramps up to the top.


If this were to get climbed more often and cleaned up it would be an absolute classic. Pitch 5 was one of the best 5.10 pitches I have climbed....clean, varied movement, good protection, and fun climbing. As it stands right now the climb is still well worth the effort and I definitely recommend climbing it.




Our 1st view of Lion's Head from the road on the drive in the night before. The last rays of sun are just leaving the summit.



Looking up at the north face of Lion's head from the boulder field. Lion Tamer goes straight up the middle corner system splitting the face.



Jonathan following pitch 1. The upper squeeze chimney is to his right and the flakes to his left. Either way is 5.10 climbing.



Jonathan nearing the top of pitch 1.



Jonathan starting out his lead on pitch 2. Lots of fun moderate crack climbing. Just a touch of gardening along the way.



Jonathan coming up pitch 5. This is the last ramp after the 5.10 crux.



This is pitch 6. Jonathan leads up around the corner. It looks challenging but it is actually pretty easy. Scramble up the corner than traverse out right and around the corner to easy ground.



Looking down towards Priest Lake from the summit of Lion's Head.



Jonathan at the base of the climb. Note all the chunks of moss on the ground around his feet. This is all from pitches 2 and 3 that we cleaned off!



Gear Notes:

We took a lot of gear largely because 5.10c trad climbing is near our limit.

Black Diamond C3's 0-3; Black Diamond C4's .3-3 (x2), single 4; 1 set of BD stoppers. I only placed 1 C3 cam on the whole route and I never felt that I needed the #4 C4 however I did place it on 2 of the pitches. Save a .75 and 1 for the top of pitch 1!


Approach Notes:

Bring something with high ish clearance because the last 3 miles of road have some rough water bars. I had a standard Dodge ram 1500 and was fine. Would be fine in an Outback or Forester too, just don't bring the minivan! From the trailhead follow the old ATV trail for a few minutes then head uphill following the flagged climbers trail. The trail is now (Aug 2016) flagged all the way to the boulder field at the base of Lion's Head...thanks to Scott Coldiron.

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