Road Warrior – M8

Lake Willoughby, VT

FA: 01-25-12  Ryan Brooks and Josh Hurst

 “Road Warrior is hands down the best mixed route I’ve been on at Lake Willoughby” – Josh

Rack: Standard rock rack including two #3 Camalots and three ½” cams, no pins, 5 screws: including 2x 10cm and 3x 13 cm.

The Route ascends a large corner 200 meters to the north of Twenty Below Zero Gully.

P1: NEI 4 50m Climb the left most ice flow, pull the overlap onto thin ice and a good stance. Foot traverse left and up easy mixed to the base of the big corner.

P2: M6 25m Up the big corner. Do not rap off the tree, your ropes will get stuck.

P3: M8 35m Traverse up and right following flakes to the ice. When the ice ends at the big roof, traverse right around the roof to a belay back left. If the ice smear extends to the overlap midpitch, the second crux can be avoided, lowering the grade half a notch.

P4: NEI 4- 20m Climb thickening ice to the trees.

Descent: Walk off or rap the route from anchors at the top of P3 and P1.

Josh’s notes:

Road Warrior is hands down the best mixed route I’ve been on at Lake Willoughby. It’s a modern mixed route with a very traditional feel requiring a full rack. The name comes from the absurd amount of driving it took to complete this route, 50+ hours over 6 days, and the apocalyptic setting at the base of the large rock fall. (Who doesn’t have a crush on Mel Gibson anyway?) It should be noted that the route is clean and is on some of the best rock at Willoughby. The route forms every year, this year being the smallest I’ve seen it.

The Back Story by Josh Hurst

Source: Josh Hurst

Note: This pair also put up “TINY DANCER” at The Lake last year.


8 replies
  1. Jeffro
    Jeffro says:

    Proud effort gentlemen! We were just looking at the pretty corner this weekend from over on GM. Now definitely need to get up there and take a look. Are the upper cruxes safe for someone who doesn’t typically onsight M8? Just wondering because you mention a full rack (I assume thats for the corner) and then modern mixed which I’m assuming refers to the mixed cruxes up high. Appreciate the heads up!

  2. Broken Spectre
    Broken Spectre says:

    Nice work guys! Was wondering when someone was going to nab that – I always figured it would come in with more ice eventually especially once the rockfall reconfigured things in there. I imagine the drilling was no picnic.

  3. josh hurst
    josh hurst says:

    Jeffro- All cruxes are well protected. That goes for any route that I equip. I’m not into bolting a death route and if the drill has to come out, it’s going to be safe. The third pitch is mostly bolts and is sustained with good stances. I placed three yellow alien sized cams and a .5 Camelot on the third pitch. On the third pitch, the first crux is up to the third bolt than it’s big pulls on good hooks to a torque crack that forms the overlap. The second crux is getting to the ice. In an icier year the second crux can be bypassed by getting to the ice lower. Go get after it!

  4. powers
    powers says:

    I climbed the first pitch today, Feb 8. The ice is currently rotten, dry and down right ugly. I found the traverse from the ice to get established in the small corner a bit vulnerable but its easy climbing. Two large cams and a tricam got me to the anchor. It was fun varied climbing. I was much too chicken to go any higher. The big corner is the defining feature of the route, its big, intimidating and probably an awesome lead.
    Josh, i admire you motivation in tackling such a major unclimbed feature.

  5. Jeffro
    Jeffro says:

    Bryan Kass onsighted the first two pitches ground up on Saturday. The ice on P1 was in bad shape but whatever. The second pitch was some serious business. I’m not sure what conditions were for the FA, but we found it completely dry and all turf unfrozen. There is, as Josh said, a lot of loose rock there on P2. Also, the two sand/bush/dirt overhangs are pretty wild and eye protection is in order. I tried looking down a few times only to have wind blow the dirt right back up the corner into my face. I don’t know my mixed grades well but it felt hard 10+, quite a lead even with somewhat decent protection. (FYI I liberated a block a few feet below the bolt on P2 and hidden behind it was a solid crack for protection; that possibility wasn’t there when the bolt was drilled.

    The start to P3 was confusing. It appears the first bolt can be clipped by climbing the tree, and there’s a good hook for getting to the second bolt, but the move to get there wasn’t obvious. We retreated by rapping off bolts 2 and 3. We could see rapping the tree wasn’t going to work and didn’t find anything better before it started getting dark. Josh, did you two find a better way of bailing off from the top of P2? P3 looks very good (and hard obviously). If we go back, I assume it will be top down to work that last pitch. In my not very well informed opinion, that second pitch lead is something to go do if you know you have that crux pitch in the bag, but holy shit man you have to really want it…

  6. josh hurst
    josh hurst says:

    Ryan and I are psyched that you got on Road Warrior. Willoughby rock is good when it is frozen, junk when it is not. It’s a good rule of thumb to only get on mixed routes when it is below freezing for safety and to protect the vegetation. We debated a lot about a bolt station by the tree but rationalized that there were options and that people are creative when they need to be, as you were. I can give you move by move beta but that would take the adventure out of it. Send me a PM if you really want the beta. All hooks can be found from hanging from each bolt. I do not want to come across as a dick but the second pitch should feel well within your ability before getting on the third pitch as it is two full grades harder. If Tiny Dancer (M8) goes well, Road Warrior is a great next step. Have fun!


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