/ Orion Direct - Route guide

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Sean Toms - on 09 Apr 2013
Hi there we recently climbed Orion Direct ( normal route )

Most of the guides give fairly minimal descriptions so this might be useful to any aspiring first time ascenders.

Pitch 1 start 20 metres left of Zero Gully, left of an in situ rope. Climb short 70 degree wall 8 metres then trend right into a 55 angle slope to a belay ( if on 60m ropes ) continue up a short 3 metre 75/80 degree chimney . Ice Screw belay stance tight but suitable for 3.

Pitch 2 , climb a shallow chimney 70 degree for 5 metres then trend left onto the face left round a corner & follow a 70 degree slope trending left upwards to a belay and stance , rock nut & ice belay room for 3 & with room below for a following team.

Pitch 3 , move up right from the belay up a 65 degree ice slope into the lower part of the basin c60 degree + .On 60m ropes you can belay on the left side but we followed & marginally lead through rightwards to an ice wall & better belay, ice screw belay.

Pitch 4 , move up the wall c70 degree & either continue trending slight right or go straight up towards the top of the basin & then traverse hard right ( & if you go to high even slightly down ) for 10 metres across easy ground to a good rock belay & sling belay before the overlap pitch.

Pitch 5 , ( crux ) step right onto the face , delicate 70 + angle & either move straight up after 3 metres , ( steep & poor screws ) or ( much better ) continue on a rising traverse right , note no gear & a 50 foot run out to better ice & a pull through to easier ground & a belay on screws on the left above the overlap.

Pitch 6 , continue up the face on 65 degree ground then either A ( the right way ) trend left to an exit chimney climb this to a belay on the left , on rock / peg

OR wrong way ( as we went ) donít traverse left enough & climb a short vertical ice wall 3+ metres with a free standing not fully formed icicle start on left ( not so recommended , I fell 4 times ! )

Pitch 7 , trend up & right on easy ground c55 degree to the rim , passing through slightly steeper ground 60 near top , possible dead man runner but otherwise no gear , 60 metre run out.

Have fun

Cheers Sean

jshields - on 09 Apr 2013
In reply to Sean Toms: Thanks Sean, good info.
Jon
Michael Gordon - on 09 Apr 2013
In reply to Sean Toms:

Most of the route is pretty easy to follow with an existing guidebook. Please don't take offence but I think your post may confuse more folk than it helps! There's a pitch between the crux pitch and the headwall pitch - I don't know how you managed to put the usual pitches 6 and 7 into one!

I'd agree that the way through the headwall is not blindingly obvious on first acquaintance but by looking at the diagram most folk should be able to figure it out. The Tower variations are cool though.
Captain Solo on 09 Apr 2013
In reply to Sean Toms: Just follow the stepladder.
Sean Toms - on 10 Apr 2013
In reply to Michael Gordon:

Hi Michael

Oops ! We were climbing on 60m ropes not 50's , however I will double check with my co partners , on reflection I think you are right , the missing pitch was nothing tricky & simply straight up to the belay the last but one.

Must have banged my head & not just my ankle in the falls !

Cheers , Sean
Jamie B - on 10 Apr 2013
In reply to Sean Toms:

I didn't have a detailed guide like yours when I first climbed it (nor was there a step-ladder) and I think it would have spoiled the experience were I constantly referring to it. One of the many beauties of Orion is that even although it's not truly Direct, it finds the logical line throughout, and one of the rewarding challenges was that of playing off pitch length versus belay maximisation. Perhaps closer to the spirit of the FA?

But some will appreciate your guide, so good work.
Sean Toms - on 10 Apr 2013
In reply to Captain Solo:

Yes a bit like that , still good though !
Sean Toms - on 10 Apr 2013
In reply to Jamie B:


Agreed , we were never quite sure whether to push on to a better belay or not , in good weather , there is little need for so much detail

In bad weather & particularly in bad visibility ( & on our ascent the weather gradually worsened ) , not going off route is important , particularly as most off route excursions are harder. This is fine if you are great on grade 6 not so if you are not !
Michael Gordon - on 10 Apr 2013
In reply to Sean Toms:

I think practically everyone who does Orion uses 60m ropes - you'd be mad not to!
AlH - on 10 Apr 2013
In reply to Sean Toms: Your pitch 7. After you leave the the wall on the left at the top of the chimney its possible to get at least a spike and a nut runner if you bear right keeping the next rocks on your left.
James Thacker - on 10 Apr 2013
In reply to Michael Gordon: It's perfectly feasible on 50m ropes.
Michael Gordon - on 10 Apr 2013
In reply to James Thacker:

I'm sure it's possible but surely far preferable with 60s? I definitely remember doing at least a couple 55m+ pitches.
niallk on 11 Apr 2013
In reply to Michael Gordon:

Did it on 50s a couple of years back without any belay bother that I recall. Obviously put in an extra pitch or two over doing it on 60s (and held up the 60m-rope-wielding teams behind us!).

paraffin on 11 Apr 2013
In reply to Michael Gordon:

> I think practically everyone who does Orion uses 60m ropes - you'd be mad not to!

So not using any ropes - how mad is that? ;-)

Michael Gordon - on 11 Apr 2013
In reply to paraffin:

Well there's no worries about finding belays if you're soloing!
neil the weak - on 11 Apr 2013
In reply to Michael Gordon: True enough, but other people's stances make nice places to gice your calves a rest....
Steve Perry - on 11 Apr 2013
In reply to Michael Gordon:
> (In reply to Sean Toms)
>
> I think practically everyone who does Orion uses 60m ropes - you'd be mad not to!

I have 50m ropes and wouldn't go out to buy a pair 10m longer to suit it.

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Michael Gordon - on 11 Apr 2013
In reply to Steve Perry:

Fair enough guys! Use as short as you want.

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