ARROWHEAD
Route: The Godfather (5.11b, 5p)

JUNE
16
2020
TR #: 422

Category: Colorado       Summit Elev: 12,660 ft       Rock Type: Granite

Partner: Nate Arganbright

Steep climbing up one of the big faces in RMNP.

INTRO

I had climbed Arrowhead via Arrowplane (11a) in 2018. But this was just one of several great routes we had to choose from, so I knew I'd be back in the future to climb another. That time came in June 2020, when I climbed The Godfather with my friend Nate, who had climbed several other routes on Arrowhead's south face but had not yet climbed this one. The first half of The Godfather follows the first two pitches of Arrowplane, but then breaks left to join Crooked Arrow, and finishes with the beautiful J-shaped crack in the upper headwall. I thought this route was every bit as good as Arrowplane. I will be back to climb more of the routes on Arrowhead's awesome granite walls.

Even though it was late June, conditions were more like mid-July. There was a little bit of snow to negotiate getting up to the base of the climb, but it was easily dealt with, although it forced us to carry our approach shoes up the route. We made good time on the route, and topped out just before noon. After tagging the summit and enjoying the views for a bit, we headed back down. Another great day of climbing in Rocky Mountain National Park, great rock and sans crowds!
 
The following page provides a trip report for the climb. Enjoy!

July 2020 Update: In July, Nate and I climbed Airhead (11d), to the left of Arrowplane and The Godfather.


TIME STATS

Glacier Gorge Trailhead to base of route (some snow): 2 hours 40 minutes
Climb route: 3 hours 20 minutes
Rappel and scramble back to base of route: 30 minutes
Hike back to trailhead: 2 hours
Total car-to-car (includes breaks): hours 35 minutes


OVERLAY



PITCH BY PITCH PHOTOS 

Photos:
Photo descriptions:
Approach
Hike the Glacier Gorge Trail to Black Lake. Just as you reach Black Lake, head rightward, crossing the outlet and picking up a path through the brush to a talus field on the slope to the west of the lake. Follow a faint path up the right side of the talus field, and then head left (south) over grassy slopes and ramps, wrapping around until beneath the south face of Arrowhead. Here you can see the route. We racked up in the boulders in the basin, and scrambled up through boulders and snow to the base of Pitch 1. Without the snow, you can rack up higher (as I did when I climbed Arrowplane in 2018) and get away with not bringing approach shoes on the route.
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1. Elk on the approach, near Black Lake.
2. Nearing Black Lake. Early summer conditions.
3. On the hillside above Black Lake headed for the basin below Arrowhead. 
4. Our first view of the South Face of Arrowhead. We decided that since we would need to bring approach shoes on the route to deal with the snow, we would rack up here.
5. A snowpatch we had to negotiate to get to the base of the route. Snow conditions were good to boot up it.
6. From the base you can see the obvious "J Crack" of The Godfather (left) and the "Lightning Bolt Crack" of Arrowplane.


Pitch 
1
5.8+ R. (Same as Pitch 1 of Arrowplane.) Climb up the slab, heading towards the dark water streak under a short corner. The water streak is the 5.8 R section. A fall here would be no good. Nate and I agreed this section should have a bolt or two, especially considering that Pitch 4 has two protection bolts. Belay on a ledge above. This is also the first pitch of Crooked Arrow.
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7. Pitch 1.
8. Higher on Pitch 1.


Pitch 
2
5.9-.  (Same as Pitch 1 of Arrowplane.) Traverse right ~20 feet to a crack that leans up and right and is above a grass hummock. Climb up through the small roof, then follow a crack up and left to a stance beneath a thin crack with a bush.
9.     9. Looking down Pitch 2 from above.


Pitch 
3
5.9+. Step left from the belay and climb up along seams past a jammed flake. Climb straight up for another 60 feet as per Arrowplane, then break left to the prominent right-facing corners. Transition into the left dihedral and climb to the top of the pillar, the big ledge of Crooked Arrow. This is a long pitch, ~60-65m depending on where you set the belay.
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10. Nate starting up Pitch 3. Awesome exposure.
11. Looking up Pitch 3.

12. A fun crack system midway up Pitch 3.
13. Three pitches on this rope and the middle marker is nearly half worn away. Love the color though!


Pitch 
4
5.11a. (Shares some of Pitch 4 of Crooked Arrow.) Climb the finger crack to where it ends, then face climb (two bolts) up to a two-bolt belay beneath the J-shaped crack.
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14. Looking up Pitch 4.
15. Steph on the bolted face crux. Photo by Nate.


Pitch 
5
5.11b. Climb the J-shaped crack. This starts with a traversing tips crack up and right (crux), and then proceed up the flaring hand crack. When it ends, continue over stacked blocks/overhangs to the top of the wall.
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16. Looking up the start of the J Crack.
17. Nearing the stem of the J Crack. This photo was taken just after the crux.
18. The final section of the pitch pulls through steep blocks to the top. The route takes the right-hand weakness in the photo.
19. Nate on the J Crack.
20. Topping out.

Top!
Yay! Scramble to the summit - it's worth it.
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21. On top!
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Signing the register.


Descent
Scramble down to the low point between Arrowhead and McHenry's Peak. Locate the first rap station (under a big boulder). There are two raps and some 4th-low 5th class downclimbing. A single 70 works just fine. Scramble back to the base of the route (not too far from base of rappels). Hike out the way you came.
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23. The first rappel.
24. The first rappel.
25. The second rappel.
26. Arrowhead Spire as seen on the hike out. I'd like to climb something on this.
27. Glacier Gorge Trailhead. Packed with cars as usual.