Imagine an alpine granite face the size of the Chief with an easy 3h approach (up a trail) and a good descent. Now imagine that it has very few existing routes on it but potential for many excellent lines of a variety of grades. Now imagine that it's real. Because it is.
It's the east (or ENE) face of Mt. Parkes, the peak immediately north and connected to Slesse. The left side of the face is the North Rib and NE Buttress of Slesse. And the descent would be via Crossover Pass. On this wall is much clean-looking, solid-looking granite. The approach to the base is up the new Crossover Pass trail. Good camping in the meadows below the face. Plenty of water even late in the summer season.
1. I haven't tried climbing the face so I have no idea if it's any good. All I know is what I see in the photos. So take this for what it's worth.
2. Climbing up here would be somewhat unusual for the Alpine in that it tops out on a ridge, not a summit per se. So if being on a summit is the goal, this isn't the place. But if good climbing is the goal, then this may be just the spot.
3. I haven't researched the history of this face. I can't say if it's been climbed, where, and by how many routes. Those who know, please speak up.
Here's an overview photo, from the NE Buttress of Slesse on the left (850m high), The Heart of Darkness (in the darkness), the North Rib, and Parkes Wall (400-500m high) spanning the rest of the photo.
close-up of the left side of Parkes Wall
close-up of the right side of Parkes Wall
Again, I have no idea if this spot will manifest into something of value. But I thought I'd spread the word.
1. is it chossy?
3. prone to rockfall?
If answers are favorable, then this could be an amazing place to climb.
I think the Eldred Valley and Khartoum area also offer incredible potential for route development, with quality rock and generally very short approaches ...
1. is it chossy?
No. Quite solid, really.
Once in a while, sure.
3. prone to rockfall?
The cracks are pretty filled with grass... but the rock faces themselves are ultra clean and featured. What could be really fun is a route where bolted lines bust up the featured faces and ignore the grassy cracks. Would be work to put it in though...
Dru, can you ask Karsten?
We mistakenly thought this was the toe of the classic NE ridge due to thick fog/low lying clouds secluding everything 200ft above the glacier. We were uncertain that it was the start of the route but crossing the glacier to get there was so intense we were highly resistant to reversing that journey. A classic case of "it'll get better if we just go a little further." A few pitches up we got above the clouds enough to see we were way off route but just kept going anyway.
In the photo below (photo and topo lines by Dru) our line is letter L. I believe we actually started more to the north (right side of the buttress) at the bottom but his line otherwise is pretty close to what I remember us climbing. Starting up the buttress through some tree climbing pitches led to a ridge. Make your way up the ridge and then trended leftward on slabby but clean series of steps. The climbing is fairly moderate but at times sparse on pro so simul-climbing is necessary. To surmount easier exit slabs on your left we had a few steep pitches of hand cracks in the 5.10 range maybe 500ft below the ridge. The cracks actually protected quite well but had a bit of moss/foliage in them. I distinctly remember hanging on a steep hand-jams and cleaning above for placements. Above we zig-zagged across the easier slabs to the summit ridge.
The route potential is pretty vast. If a couple gumbies who can't even find the NE butt of Slesse can put up a route there you know there has got to be some potential.
So we offer the name "Beached Az" (5.9)
FA Justin Barnes, Kat Siepmann, and Jeremy Frimer, Sept 2011.
That's assuming that we followed the line of least resistance... which is not the case. The line of least resistance is right of the toe. We started way left of the toe, where it's cleaner but harder. To get to our start, we dropped way down to the glacier on the left and started under the glacier. Texplorer said their start was right/north of the toe. Ours was way left, as I indicated on the photo
Just noticed this thread, in the new "alpine" section - thanks Dave and Bruce, btw.
Last comments were from over a year ago...has anyone explored/climbed more in this area north of Slesse? I'd like to know more.
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