SHIP'S Prow
Route: Portal (5.9, 4p)  

JUNE
25
2020
TR #: 425

Category: Colorado       Elev (top of route): ~12,500 ft       Rock Type: Gneiss

Partner: Will Straks

Four pitches of 5.9 up a vertical corner system.


INTRO

The Ship's Prow is the long northeast ridge between the north cirque of Mt. Meeker and the Chasm Lake Cirque. The buttress above Chasm Meadow looks sort of like a ship's prow. Ship's Prow is usually passed by with little more than a glance as parties hustle towards their climbing destinations on Meeker or the Diamond. But it actually has several good routes ranging from 5.7 to 5.14, mostly around 300-400 feet in length. The rock is pretty high quality gneiss.

Will and I had just climbed Kor's Door on the Lower East Face of Longs Peak. The afternoon thundershowers appeared to be holding off for a few more hours, so we decided to climb Portal on Ship's Prow. This four-pitch route ascends an obvious vertical left-facing dihedral in the middle of Ship's Prow's east face. All four pitches are rated 5.9. 

Will and I both enjoyed this route. We thought it was better and more sustained at the grade than Kor's Door which we had climbed that morning. The thundershower hit just as we finished the route, and we quickly rappelled back down to the base. Portal (and other routes on Ship's Prow) are a good option for those looking for easy approach and descent in a spectacular location, or a quick route to tack onto the end of a day of climbing.

The following page gives an overlay and pitch-by-pitch photos for the climb. Enjoy!


OVERLAY



PITCH-BY-PITCH PHOTOS

Photos:
Photo descriptions:
Approach
Hike the trail to Chasm Lake. Ship's Prow is on the left just before you get to the lake.
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1. Hmmm....do we have time for another route? We figured a route on Ship's Prow (a bit lower elevation than the Diamond and easier to retreat off of) would be a good choice. (Photo by Will.
2. Portal climbs the obvious corner system.

Pitch 
1
5.9. Climb up a chimney system and past chockstones, ending the pitch at a big ledge at the base of the main corner that composes the rest of the route.
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3. Looking up Pitch 1.
4. In the chimney of Pitch 1.


Pitch 
2
5.9. Climb up the steep corner to a sloping ledge.
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5. Looking up Pitch 2.
6. Looking down Pitch 2.


Pitch 
3
5.9. Continue up the corner to a lede at the base of a chimney.
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7. Looking up Pitch 3. It is possible I belayed a bit high on Pitch 2, so Pitch 3 may start a bit lower than this.
8.
 Will starting up Pitch 3.
9. Fun corner climbing.


Pitch 
4
5.9. Climb back into the chimney, which is followed by a steep offwidth section (a #4 or #5 is nice to have). Continue to a ledge at the top of the corner system.
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10. The chimney feature.
11. The final stretch of "steep offwidth".
12. Looking down.


Top!
The route ends on the upper ridge of Ship's Prow. Not really a summit.
13.    
13. Uh oh. I think we have about 5 minutes before the skies let loose.... (Photo by Will.)

Descent
You can either walk off talus towards Chasm Lake and back around to the base of the route, or you can rappel (4 single rope rappels or 2 double rope rappels) just to climbers' right of Portal. There is a bolted rap station just about 40 feet to to the north of the top of Portal. We chose to rappel. It's nice not to have to carry up shoes and to be able to get down in 10 minutes when a storm looks imminent!
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14. The first rap anchor. Located about 40 feet north of the top of the route.
15. The second rap anchor (if you have double ropes) or the third (if single rope). It's on the left edge of the arete located right of the Portal corner.
16. Looking up at the second rappel (if you have double ropes). With double 60's, you can just make it to the ground.
17. Yeah, the white stuff is hail. 
18. Hiking out. Ship's Prow behind. At this point the bulk of the thundershower had passed by.  (Photo by Will.)
19. Purple fringe flowers. Notice it's sunny again.