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Grassi Ridge
Timestamp Free: 2019.05.24 - 03:18:38
Ranges: North America Ranges / Rocky Mountains / Canadian Rockies / Continental Ranges / Park Ranges
  (1 days)     Elevation Gain: 670m
Participants: Philip Akins, Aaron Heidt, Alex Pickering AD+ 5.6-5.7 (10 pitches).
A smoky afternoon on the fabulous Grassi (South) ridge of Wiwaxy West Peak.
Packing up for a family-and-friends hiking trip to Lake O'Hara I thought it was wishful thinking to throw in climbing gear. However, as soon as we got off the bus at the campground and looked across the road to Wiwaxy, We 3 Dads exhibited some quick decision making and got up Grassi Ridge before anyone else was the wiser (the rest of the trip was devoted to family-oriented hikes and scrambles, honestly). After missing the climber's trail on our first pass (this departs from the trail on the north side of Cataract Brook; we beefed up the cairns a few days later), we had a straightforward approach and very enjoyable climb. As the guide* says, most anchors are bolted, and those that aren't are atop large ledges and can easily be protected with a bit of gear or by slinging a bolder (not all are rap anchors, however; you would need to leave some hardware to get off the route the way you came).

As we approached the summit we started looking nervously across to the East Summit and the descent trail that traverses beneath it. From our vantage point this looked like the sketchiest (steep, loose) thing we had ever seen, and with very little daylight to play with we were wondering what kind of epic lay ahead. In fact, it was nothing of the sort and we were simply being fooled by foreshortening. Don't let this view ruin your own ascent!

The guide suggests 10-11 pitches. We lost count but ended up doing 12 or 13 including very short pitches 5 and 8 between close anchors. Not sure why these anchors were built this way; both are situated ahead of 3rd class terrain so perhaps the idea is to rig a quick belay without building a full anchor or dealing with the rope drag that would come from the leader continuing over this 3rd class terrain. Three full-length rappels (with a bit of...

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