15/08/04: Solitary Confinement - New Route in the Pigeon Feathers

Grant Statham, Andrew Querner and Sean Isaac climbed a new route on Prince Albert Tower in the Pigeon Feathers of the Bugaboos. Their route was a well-known yet secretively whispered-about gem. The smooth vertical southwest face of Prince Albert Tower is sliced by a series of sweet splitters, the middle of which aims straight for the summit. If this line were located in Squamish or Yosemite, it would be a three-and-a-half star classic done decades ago but instead it has evaded climbers due to its remoteness, sustained parallel nature and burly off-widths.

Over three days, the trio slugged away at the splitter torquing fingers and jamming hands into rough crystalline granite. The route followed a singular, unflawed fissure from bottom to top. Ever widening, it started as tips gradually opening to fingers then tight hands then hands, cupped hands, fists and of course, off-width. Luckily after a pitch of burly 5.11 arm-barring and hand-stacking (which burly Grant redpointed), the crack abruptly narrowed back down to hands and fists to the top. The 6-pitch Solitary Confinement (D 5.11) has three 5.11 pitches and three 5.10 pitches. It is equipped with 2-bolt stations and can be rappelled with a single 60m rope.


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