Route of the Week: South Face of Zowie Spire

By Blake Herrington, 18 August 2013

  • DATE

    18 August 2013


    Blake Herrington


    Rock Climbing

You’ve probably heard of the Petit Grepon, and maybe you’ve climbed it. If you did, your ascent of the famously-crowded pinnacle likely wasn’t the untrammeled wilderness experience you’d come to the mountains for. Searching for a little more obscurity in Rocky Mountain National Park, I came across the Zowie spire, an eroded finger of Mt. Otis which stands independent from any major peak, similar in position and profile to the Petit Grepon. The standard south face of Zowie offers numerous options, but the climbing is generally sustained in the 5.8 range, with a final steep pitch that will initially make you doubt that such a climb is possible at a moderate grade. It goes. It’s good. And the rusty old pitons can easily be backed up with bomber modern gear.

For more beta, check out’s page on The South Face [LINK].

Go-To Gear for Climbing in RMNP

Air Brake Gloves [LINK]

Ferrosi Hoody [LINK]

Rambler Pants [LINK]

Axiom Jacket [LINK]

Voodoo Pants [LINK]

Men’s Echo l/s Duo Tee [LINK]

Women’s Essence Hooded Henley [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.

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