Saturday, March 8, 2008

North rabbit Ear: Awful Buttress

Today felt like mountaineering. Cold winds buffetted us through-out the day, and I was actually forced to climb in a toque and wind-breaker. Scott and I stabbed at the North Rabbit Ear, blundering onto a route called Awful Buttress . For some reason the name failed to ward us off, but the main reason we ended up on this climb was it was the one route with a descrption that I could vaguely follow up the North-West face of the NRE. One thing we forgot to account for was that the descent was off the south-face, and unless we wanted an additional hour of scrambling/bushwhacking, we needed to climb with our packs. Another reason that it felt like mountaineering...

The meat of the climb was dealing with chimneys and off-widths. Having packs on made this more difficult than it should have been, as well as scarier. Below the crux pitch was a delicate face traverse under the lip of a roof, at which point Scott started looking for alternatives. Instead of completing the traverse, he convinced me to abandon the crux pitch and attempt a corner system 100 ft to the right. This also ended up to be a chimney (last pitch of the PeaPod route I think), and for once we got smart, and dropped our packs to make the squeeze chimney climbable. We then angled back left on a rising flake and re-joined the Awful Buttress route just above the crux off-width.

Of historical note, the last entry in the summit register was May, 2004. This doesn't really surprise me as Dennis Jackson omits the Rabbit Ears from his guide, and local beta is hard to come by. A lonely peak on a windy day. I thumbed through the register to an entry in the 70's, Dick Ingraham's second ascent (solo) of the NRE, where he rants about the soon-to-be-built Aguirre springs campground. I sometimes wish that the Organs had better access. Roads that any car could get up, a network of maintained trails. While these would make climbing up here so much easier and more accesible, I also see the beauty that Ingraham saw: rugged inaccessible mountains, that will stay that way as long as roads and trails are absent. A proving ground only for the truly determined and adventurous. A bastion of wildness only a stone's throw away.

1 comment:

lizrdboy said...

Thanks for the blog man. I just climbed Boyer's Route yesterday, which I think was your descent route. Serious adventure climbing - not the popular thing these days it was seems from the register. How did you like those steel cable fixed raps? It looked like you skipped them and built your own... Good call - we had quite a scare with one of them.
I'm going to post a trip report on Summitpost later this week. Check it out.