SOUTH TOWER, EAST FACE

Posted on: June 1, 2004


Chris Belczynski on Pitch 13 of Self Right to Suicide (VI A4 5.10+ 55°, 3,300', Belczynski-Kowalski-Wiwatowski, 2004). The pitch climbed through the largest roof on the east face of the South Tower of Paine. [Photo] Boguslaw "Bodziu" Kowalski

The Polish team of Chris Belczynski, Bodziu Kowalski and Wojtek Wiwatowski added a fourth line to the South Tower of Paine in January and February 2004. The South Tower of Paine, the most inaccessible of the Paine Towers, had only three routes, plus a number of unfinished projects. In the recent review of remaining big-wall problems ("Unclimbed," Alpinist 4, Pages 56-65), the south face was listed on the second page. We usually scan climbing magazines for our objectives, and this was just too much. How could we resist something like this?!

When we arrived in Paine, however, we found that the south face, though unclimbed, is several hundred feet smaller than the east (and largest) face. The plan to climb the south face was abandoned. Over six weeks, we shuttled 600 pounds of gear to the high camp at the base of the east face (one week), fixed the initial pitches (one week), finished the route (two weeks) and successfully descended and traveled home (one week). We climbed a direct line on the face, starting on the Swiss Route on January 23 and then following through the biggest untouched roof on the wall to the high summit, which we reached on February 12. We named the route Self Right to Suicide (VI A4 5.10+ 55 degrees, 3,300') to reflect the attitude one needs to climb such a thing. We salute the earlier parties, both those who succeeded and the ones who only attempted lines on this face!

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— Chris Belczynski, Chicago, Illinois



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