Solid quartzite and an awesome backdrop!
When the forecast called for temps to rise into the 90’s in the valley, SVT guides Joe St.Onge and Patrick Graham decided to go high. For years, we have been looking at the north wall on Cobb Peak(11,644′) above the Pioneer Yurt and wondering if the rock was good. The north face of Cobb is a massive rock wall, rising 1000-1800′ from the alpine basin and comprised of ancient quartzite rock. Quartzite is an interesting and beautiful rock type, created when sandstone is metamorphosed under intense pressure and heat. Extremely dense and compact, the quartzite on Cobb does not give continuous crack features for a climber to follow. Instead, there are varied slabs, blocks, corners and aretes that can be linked together with generally good to very good rock. 5 years ago, Patrick and Joe climbed the direct North Face in alpine conditions, climbing neve, rock and water ice to the summit (the Solstice Line) and found good rock and a spectacular setting, creating an desire to venture on a rock route. This 1100′ climb generally followed slabs and corners into a short chimney (5.8) and then onto the skyline ridge. The “Buccaneers Route” (5.8 III) had a couple 5.8 moves but was generally in the mid 5th class range. Fun stuff!
The Pioneer Yurt makes a perfect base-camp for climbing on the peaks above (Cobb peak on the right)
What a setting!
Pato on the evening ride into the yurt
Hiking above the yurt as the 1st rays of morning sun hit the high peaks
With the baby on the way, Pato stayed “in touch”
Approaching the scree field at the base of the north wall on Cobb
A closer inspection revealed some nice looking rock
Pato heading up on the lower pitches
Starting to get some air under our feet
Finding beautiful features midway up the wall
Joe climbing into the morning light
The view from a belay ledge 400′ up
Lots of options to venture out onto steep jugs
The final 400′ follows a beautiful and airy ridge
Making efficient transitions with over 1000′ of climbing
The upper ridge allows for some fun blocky climbing
Great exposure high on the upper ridge
The Buccaneers Route basically follows the skyline (1st 5 pitches not visible)
The descent is a walk off on the west ridge
Getting some fun flow on the ripping downhill ride back to the trailhead
Back in the meadows after the climb (on the ridge)
The “Buccaneers Route” roughly follows the red line (the first 5 pitches) with the upper 4 pitches on an exposed 4-5th class ridge not visible.