Correction to Secor

Mt LeConte

by John Wakabayashi

Comment on the "Waterfall Pitch". I noticed there was some debate as to whether the Waterfall Pitch should be considered class 4. I wish to add my two cents worth on this issue. First of all, I think the guide as written is a bit misleading as it says "A 15-foot class 3 pitch is soon encountered". I think this gives the misleading impression that this is the only class 3 on the route. Although it is the hardest pitch in the chute, there is certainly more class 3 above this pitch, even though it is easier.

Now, as for the difficulty, I am not sure my father and I actually climbed the true "Waterfall Pitch" when we did the northwest chute route in September 1979. I think we looked at actual pitch and thought it looked slimy and unappealing. We ended up climbing a crack on the left side the chute bottom (to the left of where I think the Waterfall Pitch is) that was bone dry. To get to this crack one first ascends some 20 feet of easy class 3 ledges then wiggles up this very steep crack, which I recall was at least 20 feet high and rather strenuous. This does not sound like the description of the "Waterfall Pitch" so I suspect it is somewhat to the left (north) of the actual pitch. If this is not the "Waterfall Pitch", I think this would make a reasonable, if difficult, alternative to it if the Waterfall Pitch is too slippery or such for one's tastes. I think this alternative crack is certainly class 4 in difficulty, however.


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