Spearhead

_MG_9799The Spearhead is a climber’s mountain. It sits with a distinct prominence in Glacier Gorge guarding Chief’s Head and shadowed by Mc Henery’s and Longs. The immediate face of The Spearhead is a rough 1000 rise above Green Lake. Sheer rock and a classic RMNP climb.

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We skinned from Black Lake up to a spot above Frozen Lake to the west of the Spearhead summit. We came across a pretty obvious entrance to the west face of the peak. It has previously sloughed and provided manageable booting. Climbing this line, we came to a steep choke and a second option around looker’s right. If conditions allow, it may be faster to boot directly through the choke and favor a path up skier’s left. On this day, we took the skier’s right option to deal with safer snow. Taking this route forces you to traverse a bit more to hit the summit, which is the farthest south west on the summit ridge, so keep in mind that you are going to want to trend to skier’s left.

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Higher up on the peak, we experienced sections of large snow covered slab which would immediately transition to choss and black holes that could swallow a climber up to the hips. Outside of careful foot placement, the boot up was only slightly technical and you would be pretty well off with a light axe. Exposure on the face isn’t fatal all the time, but for most of the traverse, you’d have a fairly uncomfortable ride down.

We first summited the highpoint on the northern section of the ridge. While interesting and exposed, this is not the proper summit. Just below the proper summit, you will come to a bit of a cave. through the cave is a straight drop to the valley floor. Up to your left is a very small choke, just big enough for one body, which takes you directly to the top of the summit block.

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From the base of the summit block, we descended a hundred feet to a safe entrance to the line we had previously climbed. On the way down, you will be trending to skier’s right as you wrap around The Spearhead.

There is another line if you head north along the summit ridge for a while. It will deposit you onto Frozen Lake and is much more mellow.

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The line off the west face sits anywhere between 35 and 45 degrees and needs significant coverage. We skied the line in the first week of May and had multiple sections of rocky mank. Unfortunately, this peak is not the peak to let the skis rip, but as you’re making your way down, check out the south west face of Mc Henery’s, which will be the most prominent peak you your north west… Plenty of opportunity over there.

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The ski out from Frozen Lake to the trail is very enjoyable. Take the time to study The Trough on Longs and make a point to fill up on water when you get to Ribbon Falls.

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