M31, IV M4, (700M), Andromeda. FA: Valeri Babanov & Raphael Slawinski, April 10, 2005, possibly an earlier ascent?

This fun (?) moderate alpine route parallels the Andromeda Strain on the right, and tops out on the very summit of Mt. Andromeda. On the lower half it follows snowfields with some short mixed steps, but the reason for doing the route is the upper half, which climbs an exposed left-leaning ramp slashing through the steep rock of the summit block. Given the obvious line, it is somewhat surprising it had not been climbed before, but I have not heard of it. Oh yes, the name is not a climbing but an astronomical reference. Go figure.

Approach as for the A-Strain. Any number of lines are possible on the lower half; we started close to the base of the A-Strain gully and followed a rising traverse right, to the base of the upper ramp. At this point you are very close to the north ridge and the top of Shooting Gallery (possible escape). A couple of left-trending pitches up snowed-up rock (crux) gain the bottom edge of the ramp. Climb the ramp, exiting on a strip of ice to the summit snowfields. Swim up bottomless snow to the cornice. The route tops out right on the summit of the mountain. The easiest and fastest descent downclimbs the east ridge to the AA col.

A small mixed rack of a few cams, pins and screws will suffice. We took 11 hours car-to-car.

 

http://members.shaw.ca/raphael2/Andromeda%202005/andromeda%202005.htm for more info (lots of good stuff on Raph's site too)