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AAC Library Volunteer Climbs Spearhead in RMNP

Posted on: August 19th, 2009 by Erik Lambert

It’s not always what the pros are doing that inspires the rest of us. Last weekend, AAC member Adam McFarren (also a valued volunteer in the AAC library) sent a recap of his ascent of the north ridge of  Spearhead, a classic route in Rocky Mountain National Park that sits below the west face of Long’s Peak. Check out his brief recap, below, then visit his personal blog for the full report and pictures. Thanks Adam!

Pete on the approach to Spearhead, in the background. Photo courtesy of Adam McFarren.

Pete Krzanowsky, Adam's climbing partner, on the approach to Spearhead (in the background). Photo courtesy of Adam McFarren.

Fun day on Spearhead yesterday. It’s a great climb. I thought the 1st and 6th pitches contained the two 5.6 “cruxes”, the other pitches all seemed easier. Pro was good, just a little thin on the initial slabs and higher up depending on the exact line taken (the easiest way probably tends left through some shallow, vegetated seams that didn’t offer as much pro, but the climbing was still easy). Even on a Wednesday, we had 3 other parties on the route. Thankfully, we left early (4:30am from the trailhead) and the only party ahead of us let me climb beside them then scoot past on the easier terrain in the middle of the face. We found we could easily run the rope out to full 60m pitches without rope drag. That also let us get out of the way of the other team more quickly after they let us pass.

I found the best beta for the route on guide Eli Helmuth’s site. Still, I didn’t stick with his route exactly (I started left of where he indicates and belayed from higher up on a sloping ledge).  That allowed me to go past his belay point at the top of his pitch 2, and made my pitch 3 almost totally 3rd-4th class. Largest gear I carried was a #3 camalot, placed it twice. Otherwise, I carried doubles from .5-#2, all but the smallest size TCU, .5 and 1 tricam, #4-10 nuts, #5 & 6 wildcountry hexes. I placed most all that gear at one point or another.

Rock was solid (but some of the ledges had some loose stones on them) and the climbing was a lot of fun.

My own photos and such from the day are on my blog.

Good luck if you give this one a shot,


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