October, '03



Climbing The Book on the Finger of Fate

with Koren.



Koren and me on the summit of the Finger of Fate
        In retrospect, I can't believe we actually climbed this thing. We almost left the house without a map.  It was only at Koren's
   insistence that I went back and found one. We would never have found the trailhead otherwise. Even with the map, we finally
   guessed at which dirt road we should take.  Several bumpy miles later, we arrived  at the trailhead, beat-up but relieved.
       The approach was more straightforward once we were on foot. We followed a maintained trail to the edge of Hell Roaring
   Lake and then forged a contouring line around the basin to the base of our route. I don't think Koren was too impressed with
   my ability to find the shortest path between us and the route.  :)
       The climb itself was pure joy. Seriously, this is the best, alpine 5.8 climb I have ever done. The first 600 feet are in a dihedral 
   so clean that you will swear you are in Yosemite. The protection is excellent  and the climbing intriguing. The cracks range from 
   fingertip to chimney size... and yes, that does include offwidth! The best part is that every pitch is SOLID 5.8. When you leave 
   the corner, the exposure is incredible! We really had a great time on this route!!!  I can't recommend it enough.
       We lingered on the small summit for half an hour enjoying the ambience.  When we did leave, we made short work of the 
   rappels and soon found ourselves hiking back to the truck. This had been our last day to play in the Sawtooths.  In the morning, 
   we would be driving back to Logan to resume our lives there. 

      I couldn't have wished  for a more amazing end to our summer in Idaho. 
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Koren crossing the outflow of Hell Roaring Lake with the Finger of Fate in the background.

A closer view of the Finger from Hell Roaring Lake.

I snapped these two shots as we gained our first view of the north face dihedrals. Here is another view.

We climbed the giant dihedral behind and to the left of Koren. The route then heads up and right, near the sun/shade line, to the summit block.

This is me starting the first pitch. From bottom to top, this route has impeccable rock quality.

Koren working through the crux of the first pitch. I must admit that this route was harder than I expected.

I thought this pitch was kind of spicy for the first pitch on a backcountry route.

Tell me that doesn't look like a Yosemite dihedral?

Koren, above the WIDE section on the second pitch. (which was not marked on the topo I might add!)

The third pitch offered no reprieve. This whole route is almost even in difficulty.


Koren, pulling some balancey moves near the top of the dihedral.


Wheee.... it ain't over yet. :)

After three rope-stretching pitches, we escape from the confines of the corner system and are rewarded with a nice belay ledge.


This picture is looking the opposite direction from the previous shot. As you can see, it is beginning to feel like a spire.


Of course, if you're not in a corner system.... This pitch definitely felt like we were on a spire! It's the easiest pitch of the climb, but there is no pro where it's easy, so it feels exciting none-the-less.

Koren, trying not to think about the hundreds of feet that she can feel on both sides of her.

The tunneling pitch near the top.

It's an interesting way to cross from one side of the formation to the other!

The upper lake is where we left the maintained trail.

The summit!

This was, unquestionably, our best effort as a climbing team. The route was a perfect challenge for both of us and we were smooth and fast.

I count this day among the top five of all the days I have spent climbing!

It felt like an Old Milwaukee commercial.

Of course, the day was only half over and we still had a series of rappels and down-climbs to get to level ground.

Fortunately, all the raps are fairly straight forward.

Koren, rapping off the ledge below the summit.

Even the flowers on the hike out managed to match the brilliance of our day. :)

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