Monday, July 6, 2015

HOT ROUTE: Two Ears-Zanzibar Dihedral (300', 5.8+)

Trailhead: Weller Lake Campground
Distance: 1 mile
Elevation gain: 800 feet
Difficulty: 2 pitches, 5.8+

While not a summit-reaching climb, Independence Pass's Two Ears- Zanzibar Dihedral is one route that any intermediate, technical alpine climber might be interested in. This 300' climb highlights two long pitches on superb granite with good protection in a spectacular alpine setting. While a steep and rough talus approach may deter some climbers, those who brave the rocky beginning are rewarded with an excellent climb that finishes in the classic 150' dihedral pitch the "Zanzibar Dihedral."

Approach- From the Weller Campground find a climber's trail behind campsite number 6 and wind (briefly) through the pine and Aspen trails. Follow a series of cairns for the path of least resistance or pick your own way up to the base of the obvious 300' wall.

Zanzibar Dihedral, used courtesy of
Pitch One- "Two Ears" (5.7)- This long pitch is often regarded as a climb unto itself. Start just right of a pine tree on some obvious jugs. Work up and right to a series of broken cracks. The protection is good and solid throughout. There are many possibilities for cams and nuts. Small cams finger size and less are most useful. Work past two old pitons to a good splitter that ends in a pod. Work up and right to a two-bolt anchor just off a large ledge at the base of the dihedral.

Pitch 2- "Zanibar Dihedral" (5.8+)- This long, excellent pitch scales an overhanging dihedral with great protection and plentiful face holds to make it through. Several layers of cracks allow a variety of gear to protect. At the final bulge, step right on face holds and back left to easier ground at the top. A classic, granite dihedral!

Two double-rope raps from chain anchors will lead you to the ground. It will require two 60 meter ropes to make the descent.

From the "S-Turn" in downtown Aspen, Colorado, follow Highway 82 south towards Independence Pass for 7.8 miles. Park either on the right side of road (heading from Aspen to Indy Pass) at the Weller Lake TH or set-up a basecamp in the excellent campground across the road.

Zanzibar Dihedral on

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