NWAC posted an avalanche advisory in big, red, bold letters for this past weekend. High solar radiation was expected to release copious large slides in the mountains. This prediction thwarted our plan A + B alpine objectives. Thus we decided to do something completely out of the ordinary for us: sport climb. That is we decided to climb Prime Rib of Goat 5.9 III+ in Mazama. The route is 11 pitches and 1300 feet of technical, airy sport climbing. And if that isn’t dizzying enough, there are 15 rappels to round out the day. Damien and I swung leads. The rock was extremely enjoyable and solid with fun moves that tested our limits. For both of us it was the longest route we’d ever done, the most pitches we’ve ever led and the hardest rating we’ve accomplished. A great description and topo of the route can be found in Bryan Burdo’s book Mazama Rock. I have also included some notes below:

  • Damien and I made the mistake of spiting the 2nd pitch into two due to a rap anchor being in the middle of the pitch. study the topo and note where there will be rap anchors so that you don’t end climbing only part way up a pitch. Luckily we only made this error once and probably for the better because this prevented what probably would have been bad rope drag in that area.
  • The route is pretty generous with the bolts sometimes a bit to generous. I skipped 1 or 2 of them. Mostly though I was happy to have the bolts there as they were strategically placed after difficult moves.
  • 5.9 sections feature mono-pockets
  • In general the route in very crimpy
  • Pitch 6 has some very bouldery moves
  • Pitch is the longest and is extremely sustained at 5.8+ (mostly slab face climb)
  • The scramble between pitch 6 & 7 has some spicy moves that can been intimidating to down-climb between raps
  • Start early to stay the the shade as long as possible and avoid getting behind slow groups. Also its a LONG route. We were the 2nd team on the route which worked out well. On our way down we discovered that only one team from the original 6 teams behind us were actually still climbing. The others bailed.
  • This probably goes without saying, but check yourself and your partner multiple times on the many rappels. You’ll be tired at this point and more prone to errors.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *