gorerangerock_35.gif Freya Tower (East, 5.8)

On Aug. 4, 2017, Bill Briggs (68), Jim Illg (55), and I (66) climbed this route, first done by Ryan Marsters, Mike Santoro, and Brandon Chalk in Sept. 2016. We approached by taking the Gore Range Trail for a short distance south from the North Rock Creek bridge and then, at a sharp switchback left, heading right and up through the woods to gain the low end of the long east ridge (Aasgard Ridge) of Valhalla; climb that ridge to the splendid high Aasgard Meadows and then drop into the basin just north of Freya. We found the proper approach gully which allows for entrance into a prominent right-facing dihedral from the right. A large loose block made the traverse into the dihedral tricky. The first hard move is under a 9-inch overlap, which must be passed on the right (5.8; the first ascent party avoided this by using the face to stay on the right side for most of the pitch; Jim Illg did the same). Then back into the dihedral and up to a wall with a crack in it that allowed passage to the first belay; again a 5.8 move here. I call this the “Overlap Pitch”.

Pitch 2 starts with a steep move up a ramp to get around a blind corner (5.7); then the angle eases and it is easy to the next belay. This is the “Corner Pitch”.

For pitches 3 and 4 we took routes a little different than those of the first ascenders. For pitch 3 we descended easily for about 6 feet to the north, then climbed an easy broad gully to the base of a steep face. The first ascenders went to the south side, finding a chimney route. The face itself was 5.8, to a 5.7 pullup to gain the top of the tower. This is the “Tower Pitch”.

Then some scrambling to the base of a 5.6 face pitch (led by Jim; other 3 by Bill) which leads to class 3 and 4 stuff the rest of the way. This face has a large horn on the left, so I call it the “Horn Pitch”. The first ascenders did this to the right of our way (5.8).

From the top there is class 3 scrambling to the summit, and then a long ridge traverse on beautiful but often very exposed rock. Much of this is class 4. All of this section was interesting and beautiful. We eventually reached the gully that I led in 2010 and set up a rappel which got us a long way down to easy ground.

Gear: We left our packs near the end of the descent rappel and did the climb carrying our approach shoes and a very small pack with water. We used one 57-meter rope for leading and another 50-meter rope for the third man.

gorerangerock_36.gif

Freya Tower: The east ridge route follows roughly the left skyline. The horizontal section at the top is a true ripsaw ridge.
  

gorerangerock_37.gif

We started by traversing from the photographer’s location into the dihedral. Seconder Jim actually avoided the dihedral and climbed straight up to the right side of the 9-inch overlap. Passing that overlap was the first difficulty. The rock was generally beautiful though one had to watch for large loose blocks.
  

gorerangerock_38.gif

Here Bill is just above the overlap on Pitch #1 (I found the rightward traverse from the dihedral to under and right of the overlap difficult). The rock climbing was, for me, a little more difficult than the pictures make it seem. Above Bill and to the right is a curving fracture that allowed passage to the belay at the bush. Pitch #2 then goes around the corner to the right from that belay position.
  

gorerangerock_39.gif

The second pitch starts with a 5.8 move to pass the small overlap and then proceeds around the blind corner to some easier ground to the second belay. Bill leading.
  

gorerangerock_40.gif

Bill on the last obstacle before the top of the tower on the Tower Pitch (#3). Both Bill and I have had knee replacements, but we are still able to climb at an acceptable level.
  

gorerangerock_41.gif

Stan finishing pitch 4; photo by Jim Illg.

gorerangerock_42.gif

gorerangerock_43.gif

The two images above show Bill finishing pitch 4, which I call the Horn Pitch because of the large horn near Bill’s left hand in the first image. Jim led this one.
  

gorerangerock_44.gif

gorerangerock_45.gif

After the roped climbing we had a very long section along the top of the ridge, which had spectacular rock and adequate holds, though it was terrifically exposed in spots. Bill in first image; Jim in second.

gorerangerock_46.gif

This photo by Brandon Chalk nicely captures the exposed moves along the ridgeline.
  

Created with the Wolfram Language