Climbers Scotty Nelson and Gil Weiss have discovered (or maybe rediscovered) a great-looking moderate mixed route in Rocky Mountain National Park that might take pressure off overcrowded climbs like Dream Weaver or Martha. The line, which they called Deborah, splits the south face of Arrowhead above the high bench to the west of Black Lake in Glacier Gorge, with almost 1,000 feet of steep snow and short mixed steps (M3/4); some ice might form in the spring. At the top, two exits give a hard or easy finish, and Arrowhead’s superb 12,642-foot summit is just a few yards away. Descend by following the ridge west toward McHenrys and look for rappel anchors near the saddle; rappel to the south. This route may have been climbed before, but no previous winter ascent has been reported. It’s likely in good mixed condition from January through early May.
Nelson and Weiss climbed the route in mid-March as the middle leg of a very long day in which they climbed the West Gully ice route above Black Lake (with a nearly disastrous slip), then Arrowhead, and then continued up the northeast ridge of McHenrys. They named the Arrowhead route after Weiss’ mother, Deborah, who recently died from melanoma. Weiss has written a touching essay about his mother’s death and this climb at the excellent Pullharder blog.