Beautiful New Testpiece in North Cascades
8/8/14 - Blake Herrington, Colin Moorhead, and Max Tepfer have created a challenging 1,000-foot free climb near the famous Liberty Bell in the Washington Pass area of the North Cascades. The Tiger (11 pitches, 5.12b) has six leads of 5.10+ or harder in a semi-alpine setting on the Supercave Wall (a.k.a. M&M Wall), two miles north-northeast of Liberty Bell.
Herrington said the team used a variety of ground-up and top-down techniques to piece together the line, clean the cracks, and place 12 protection bolts and some anchor bolts. Moorhead and Herrington first climbed the route in July, starting on another route, but then returned this week to add a three-pitch independent start and to make a few pitches safer to lead without previewing.
Based solely on its technical grade, The Tiger may now be the second-hardest rock climb in the North Cascades, after the Liberty Crack (5.13, with preplaced gear). The climb is on the south face of Peak 6,978.
"I learned a ton about efficient and fast drilling, on lead and rappel, from Colin—Squamish's most prolific new router of long routes," Herrington said. "Three of the protection bolts were actually added after two of the pitches had been led on gear alone. We thought it was dumb to leave them with such poor protection when we had not gone ground-up."
Herrington added that there is a direct variation to pitches 6 and 7 that he followed free but did not redpoint. He estimated it would go at around 5.12c.
Said Herrington: "This face is truly an amazing gem, which is only a couple miles from Liberty Bell and less than an hour form Highway 20. The wall has amazing stone and three huge caves, each the size of a big room to a small house, as well as myriad pockets and quartz jugs. But it basically sat ignored since the first ascent in 1969 by Mead Hargis and Jim Langdon [L&H Route, 5.8 A4]. A few years ago two guys put up the first "modern" route: Ellen Pea [1,000', 5.11c, Lawson-Pete]."
Earlier this year, Herrington freed the two crux pitches on the original aid route, with a crux at 5.12b.
Date of ascent: August 5, 2014
Source: Blake Herrington