7.24.2011

4 Peaks - 23 hours - Quadruple Lindy

On Friday the 22nd, my friend Scott Bennett and I climbed the 3 biggest faces in Rocky Mountain National Park, plus 'The Barb' (III 5.10, 900') on the NE Face of Spearhead peak, in 23:45 car-2-car. 

Leaving the car at 3AM, I already hadn't slept in 20 hours...



  1. Longs Peak - Diamond: We started up a running-with-water Crack of Delight (5.7) and followed it to Broadway ledge in one simul pitch. From there we did Pervertical Sanctuary (5.10+) in 3 pitches  then traversed down and right to the "Forrest Finish" (very slimy, more running water) where maybe 80 or 90 more meters of climbing led to the top of the Diamond. Although this is supposed to be 5.9 or .10b or something, I must have gotten off route a bit on a crack-switch, and definitely felt like I was engaged in some 5.11 slimy crimping. This was the day's freeclimbing crux for me.
  2. Spearhead Peak - The Barb: Although not done as part of the original "Triple Lindy" linkup as conceived by Copp and Cordes, we couldn't walk right past such a beautiful peak and granite face without going up! We soloed the 70m to Middle Earth ledge, then almost managed the route (5.10b/c ~6 pitches, ~900' of climbing via N. Ridge topout) in one simul-block, but I ran out of slings and gear just shy of the pin-protected crux. Scott swung through and led the final crack out on the face, and we hurried on up to the summit. At this point dehydration and allergies had my throat so swollen I had trouble talking, let alone shouting.
  3. Chiefshead Peak - NW Face - Flight of the Kiwi: The NW face of Chiefshead Peak had been part of the original linkup, with Jonny and Kelly choosing to climb Path of Elders into Birds of Fire's upper pitches. Scott and I chose a route I had helped establish last year (III 5.10d) and knew quite well. We managed to retrieve one of my cams, justifying my decision to skip work and go climb mountains. Scott had a good time for his first go up the route, and from the arcing ledge atop the face, we again scrambled on up to the true summit.
  4. Mt Alice - East Face: Huh? What the heck is Mount Alice? Where  is it? I thought I had seen it last year from Chiefshead, and my friend Jason had just nabbed a likely first descent via one of the peak's plum ski-lines, so Scott and I generally knew where to go to find the mountain. Plus we'd taken a digital photo of the topo map in Scott's car. That's probably 1/10 of 1 of the 10 essentials! However, it's still a LONG ways from anywhere, with the fastest and quickest approach or descent being roughly 9 miles. We followed the continental divide through growing shadows, and eventually found our way (through much snow and boot-skiable terrain) below the 1000' East Face. We did the route (5.8 Central Ramp, wandery, much vegetation) in one mega simulclimb block, a 70m pitch, and a 30m pitch, the last via headlamp. After scrambling to the summit, we limped our way 9 miles down the valley to the car. I fell in a creek, and Scott's car wouldn't change gears from Park, but we'd managed to climb Rocky Mountain National Park's 3 biggest faces, and Spearhead's NE face, in 23hr45mins. I fell asleep in the passenger seat, my head resting on a wet rope and my chalk bag still around me waist. I'd been 43 hours without sleep, but Scott had climbed the Diamond 3 times in the prior 4 days, so I think he might have fallen asleep still wearing his wet shoes as well. All told we did probably 20 miles of hiking, over 10,000 of elevation gain, stood atop 4 different peaks.

 The original "Lindy" was done 8 years ago by Jonny Copp and Kelly Cordes. These two local hardmen thought that the Longs, Chiefshead, and Alice contained the 3 tallest technical faces in RMNP. Their day and the Pennings/Donahue connection of Longs/Spearhead/Petit Grepon/Hallet/Notchtop stand as the two most impressive RMNP days I know of. Thanks to Kelly for the info and psyche. Since Spearhead is definitely not the 4th tallest, maybe the true Quadruple Lindy awaits...

2 comments:

  1. Super impressive guys. Very psyched for you and Scott, just awesome.

    ReplyDelete