Harrison Peak – South Face (II 5.7+)

Zach Turner and I returned to Harrison Peak’s South Face and climbed it to the summit on July 23rd, 2017.  We attempted this line last year but were forced to bail due to falling snow and water running over the clean slabs that comprise the lower pitches of the route.  This time, we enjoyed a beautiful day of good rock and sunshine in the Idaho Selkirks.

Harrison Peak’s South Face standing proud.  Our route went up the obvious corner in the middle of the face into the crux pitch (shaded).
On the approach.  The bear grass was out in full force and was covered in pollen – we quickly got covered in the yellow dust. Photo: Zach


Zach and I made quick work of the approach to Harrison Lake before making a beeline toward the lower slabs of Harrison Peak.  Zach offered me the first lead since he took the first lead on our attempt last summer, so I racked up and led out onto our first pitch, 3 hours after leaving the trailhead.  There was a surprising amount of fun slab liebacking on this first pitch. It is apparent that there are multiple ways to climb this section – we took the right-hand side.

Zach nearing my belay on top of pitch one.

Zach took the lead on our second pitch, which unfortunately had little interesting climbing except for the final few moves.  Zach built a belay underneath the crux pitch and brought me up.  I offered the crux lead to Zach – he’s wanted to do this route for years and it just seemed right.  He cruised the pitch with style, starting with an interesting overhung move into a few strenuous lieback moves.  One more steep, splitter corner crack brought us to the summit.

Zach looking heroic on the summit.  Beautiful day!
Summit views of Harrison Lake.

The summit was spectacular, with most of the ridgeline overhanging the South and West faces.  The summit register is an old ammo box filled with interesting items including sutures, benadryl, bandaids, and a tiny bottle of whipped cream vodka.  We spent some time relaxing on the summit and made the easy descent down Harrison’s East slopes.  A quick dip in Harrison Lake gave us a refreshing break before hiking out to the car.  It’s pretty nice to be able to climb a peak this impressive in a single day and still be home for dinner!

Gear Notes

There are a lot of finger cracks on this route – I’d recommend carrying doubles of cams .3-1 with a single 2 and 3.  A 60m rope is sufficient.

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