Another Sharkstooth

It finally happened.  I finally did Sharkstooth’s NE Arete and actually felt like I knew the route.  It really felt more like a Boulder Flatiron than an RMNP Alpine route, although I’m sure the beautiful, sunny day helped with that perception. I thought I’d document this trip (8.24.2010) to have and to hold for future reference, after the details once again slip from my mind.

We left the Glacier Gorge parking lot around 4:30am in an attempt to finish before the 3pm forecast for rain (30% likelihood).  We hiked up the Knobs shortcut and then past Loch Vale before turning west for Andrews Tarn.

Brian was ahead of me for much of the approach.  After the turn toward Sharkstooth, he built up a big lead.  I just couldn’t motivate myself to go any faster; that is, until I saw the guys ahead of Brian.  I knew he’d push to get ahead; now I had to pick it up. I didn’t want to be the reason that we got stuck behind another team when the weather was threatening.

I lost sight of everyone for a while, but I pushed as hard as I could without vomiting. I was surprised to find how much I had gained on the other team; it made me think I had regained some of my old strength.  I neared them just below Sharkstooth; as I passed them, I could see they were older than me.  Oh well.

At least we got on the rock first.

Sharkstooth seen from Zowie

Below is a summary of the pitches:

Pitch 1:

Brian took the right-most of the two obvious cracks and worked he way straight up to a large ledge.  When I arrived, he suggested I look to the left before setting off. He was right; the proper route was up the left crack.

Pitch 2:

I traversed left 10 feet to get into a slot which I climbed up (was crux for me).  I continued straight up until reaching a roof, which was at the bottom of a left facing detached flake.  I seemed to recall doing a layback up the flake, but the face to the left looked easy enough so I just walked up to the ledge atop the flake, where I setup the belay.

Pitch 3:

Brian continued up the steep but bucket-filled terrain to the big flat part of the NE Arete. Every variation of the NE Arete route must hit this ledge, as it is the first part of peak that actually forms a ridge.  The views are spectacular off both sides.

Pitch 4:

I climbed up the off-width crack and then moved left to climb the left side of the ridge.  I continued past the next big ledge and belayed at the end of the 200′ rope on a smaller ledge below the roof protecting the summit.

Pitch 5:

Brian finished it off by scrambling over the roof.

After a brief stop so I could drink the liter of water I hauled to the top, we started down the rappels.  The Sharkstooth rappels are always interesting for the ; we had to sacrifice a sling on each anchor to back up the aged cords.

We got back to the packs at 11:30am.  We ate our lunch before starting the long walk to the trailhead.

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One Response to “Another Sharkstooth”

  1. Blitzen Ridge, at long last « PeakMind Says:

    […] to do: Spearhead North Ridge, Notchtop Spiral Route, Hallet Great Chimney, Zowie Standard Route, Sharkstooth NE Arete, and we even bagged one of my long-standing goals, the Solitude Lake Cirque, a linkup of Arrowhead, […]

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