Route of the Week: Ithaca on Arrowhead Peak

By Blake Herrington, 05 August 2013

  • DATE

    05 August 2013


    Blake Herrington


    Rock Climbing

If you think alpine rock in Rocky Mountain National Park means cold, North-facing stone and elaborate descents, you are mostly correct. But here’s an excellent exception. Ithaca is one of the best routes in the park’s most scenic valley. It faces generally south and is very fast to dry, making it climbable before and after most of the park’s walls come into season.

Using a 70-meter rope, the descent involves just a handful of rappels and a short section of walking easy to do in rock shoes. Although the crux 5.12a pitch may have once earned the grade, it feels a few letters easier now that the crack has cleaned up, allowing more room for gear and fingers in the leftward undercling. The pitch to look out for—or get psyched up for—is the immaculate 5.8 slab start, which is legitimately x-rated, but has excellent stone, secure stances and would be easy to downclimb.

For more beta, check out’s page on Ithaca [LINK].

Blake Herrington

Leavenworth, WA

Blake Herrington learned to climb as a teenager while working for a small bakery in North Cascades National Park. His first trips into the mountains instilled in him a familiarity with untraveled alpine choss and a love for remote peaks. Now in his mid-20s, Blake has lived in Denver and Bellingham, before recently settling into the mountain town of Leavenworth, Wash. He has established over two-dozen new alpine routes or first free ascents from Alaska, to Colorado to Argentina.

Blake is also a widely-published author, having contributed articles to Alpinist, Climbing and Rock & Ice. He has climbed sport and traditional pitches up to 5.13a, but considers diverse alpine routes the most engaging and inspiring sub-set of climbing. Despite savoring the alpine cooking of many climbing partners, he counts himself among the best camp chefs he’s had the opportunity to climb with.