Ulalume, 250 m, M5 WI5

FA: Peter Smolik and Raphael Slawinski, Oct. 19, 2002

This is an aesthetic route high on the west face of Mt. Blane, a narrow strip of ice between impressive rock walls. It is hidden around the corner left of the obvious (but ephemeral) ice pillar visible from the road. Mostly a thin ice route except for a possibly mixed 1st pitch. Take rock gear including a good selection of pins, a few wires and small Tricams, and a few screws (mostly stubbies). Feel free to add bolts to the single bolt belay/rap stations.  An early season route, forming with the first freeze and ablating away later, so get it while it lasts. With an early start, it might be possible to continue to the summit of the mountain.

Hike up King’s Creek, turn left at the forks, after 5 mins head up the left side of a drainage at some cairns. Hike all the way to the base of the mountain, then traverse right and up a snow gully to the start of the route. 2 hrs.  

 

 

  1. 40 m, M5. If the bottom ice looks reasonable, gun up that (ignore a bail bolt and biner up a corner left of the ice). Otherwise, continue up the snow gully to a thread belay below a big cave. Move up, then traverse left into a left-facing corner. Climb the corner past a fixed pin to easier ground. Continue past a rappel bolt and belay as high as possible on the right.
  2. 50 m, WI5. Climb a steepening strip of occasionally funky ice past 2 fixed pins (1st on left, 2nd on right) to a thread belay on the right.
  3. 60 m, WI3. Continue up the ice strip to a bolt belay.
  4. 40 m. Climb steepening snow to a piton belay on the right.
  5. 60 m, WI4. Continue up the ice strip past some steeper sections to a bolt belay at the base of a low-angle snow ramp.

Rappel the route.