Stairs and Flowers, V M8 WI5+, 200 m of climbing

FA: Eric Dumerac and Raphael Slawinski, January 26, 2001

 

Stairs and Flowers is the mixed version of Acid Howl on the Stanley Headwall, bypassing the two frequently unformed pillars on that route by challenging drytooling variations. The rock sections are bolt-protected, so a rack of 15 draws (including some long slings) and screws will suffice. Double ropes are nice due to the traversing nature of the mixed pitches, and required for rappelling.

Approach as for Acid Howl. Beware of avalanche hazard on the large slope below the route. Scramble up low-angled snow and ice to the base of the first pitch. 

  1. M7+ WI4, 30 m. The first pitch climbs the groove/crack just right of the ice of Acid Howl. Starting from the highest ledge, climb up to a roof. Pull the roof (crux) into an easier but sustained groove. At the last bolt, trend left to the ice. Continue up funky ice to a single bolt belay on the right.
  2. WI3, 30 m. Climb easy ice to the snow slope below the upper pillars. There is a single bolt anchor on the right near the bottom of the slope. Walk up snow to the right-hand pillar.
  3. M8 WI5+, 50 m. The crux pitch climbs the obvious overhanging dihedral to the left edge of the right-hand pillar. Belay on a small platform a few metres below the base of the overhanging wall (single bolt belay). From the ledge at the base of the wall, steep moves lead up to the dihedral. It is recommended to pre-clip the first 3 bolts, as they are difficult to reach while climbing. Follow the overhanging dihedral to below the upper roof. A tricky traverse left under the roof leads to the ice. Bash your way out through the curtain and follow the steep ice above to a comfortable cave belay.
  4. WI4, 40 m. Climb the ice pillar on the right to the upper snow and ice slope. Walk up this to the base of the upper headwall.
  5. WI5, 50 m. A choice of several steep smears leads to a ledge below the overhanging rock headwall.

 Descent: rappel the route from abalakovs and bolts.

Photo at left Raphael Slawinski on Acid Howl/Stairs and Flowers, photo by Frank Huster,  http://frankhuster.com/index.htm

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