Remote First Ascents in Michigan

On Monday the weather was fantastic No chance of rain. The bug forecast on the other hand was horrible. It called for large clouds of gnats. We hiked into the top of the cliff via a spur trail to the North Country trail and rapped down the rappel line on the east end of the cliff. Once at the bottom, the real work began. Our task was to fid a new unclimbed line to the top. Normally that might be easy, but this cliff has a few sections of crappy rock and large sections of crackless roofs that look nearly impossible to protect wit trad gear. We walked almost the entire nearly 2 mile long cliff and decided upon a nice looking weakness with a few slabby sections that looked to go at 5.6. We scrambled up to the bottom of the route. After flaking out the rope, both Kendra and I decided that the route looked very familiar. After a few minutes of discussion we decided that it was The Stritch Route which is the first route we put up on the cliff in September the year before. After a little bit of disappointment, we decided to go for our second choice for a new route which is a couple hundred feet east of The Stritch Route.

The route starts out on a steep but less than vertical face that feels a little insecure. The first pitch ends on a small ledge to the left of the obvious vegetated crack and just under a small roof. The second pitch goes up the vegetated crack and traverses out left on small foot ledges to a ledge which creates the roof above the first belay. Due to a lack of good protection on the ledge the pitch continues to the left side of the ledge and up a small groove through brush and eventually to a vegetated ledge. Be careful with rope drag on this pitch due to the 30 foot horizontal traverse. From the second belay, head up the grungy groove and eventually up some easy slabs to the trees in the forest.

All three pitches of the route are fairly short due to rope drag and lack of other places to belay. As the route is climbed and cleaned up, it may become easier to do the route in less pitches.

Urushiol 5.8 PG13 3 short pitches
May 30th 2016 Carter Stritch, Kendra Stritch, Samantha Glowacki


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