Kyle and I wanted to get in one last long technical day before the summer ended, so we headed to the uncrowded side of the Indian Peaks. Armed with four pages of Gerry Roach's Indian Peaks guidebook and a few tons of hardware, we left the trailhead in the dark at 6:00 AM. Our plan was to daytrip the SE Buttress on Hiamovi Tower.
The route is rated 5.4 (III). Endless variations are possible, and there are lots of places to bail if needed. We did it in 5 pitches due to accidentally bypassing the first buttress and then combining the first two pitches on the second buttress (60m exactly). My favorite pitch was "The Ramp" on the second buttress - superb position. We had terrific weather, moved fast, and encountered very little rockfall. We were back to the car by 7:30 PM.
- The elevation gain is actually 5,700'. It would be more comfortably done as an overnighter.
- The "4th class" chockstone in the chimney accessing the main ridge is more like low 5th class. Sorry to ruin the surprise.
- The guide describes a casual 3rd class descent of the west ridge. Maybe we didn't look hard enough, but we ended up rapping some high 4th class at a place where others had obviously done the same. Bring bail rings.
- If you plan to daytrip it, bring a water filter. There's no way to carry enough water with you, as we found out on the eternal descent.
Route ascends right skyline
First pitch of the second buttress ("The Ramp")
Kyle following the last pitch of the second buttress
Following the final pitch of the third buttress
Rapping a vertical section of "3rd Class" on the descent
Go to this lake before dropping into the valley