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Shawn Gregory climbing the last pitch of Meatballs

Shawn Gregory, climbing the last pitch of Meatballs.

For many years, this elusive slice of the Beartooths has been at the top of many alpinists’ checklists. In fact, this was Daniel Burson’s 5th attempt. It wasn’t so much the difficulty of the climbing as much as the conditions not aligning for a safe ascent and not having enough ice. The primary stopper on the route is a massive chockstone, which is what halted many of the other parties trying to connect the dots.

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At the bottom of this massive chimney system in the East Rosebud drainage lies the well-known Spaghetti Falls. The chimney system rises over 3,000 feet from the valley floor with very little relief. For years, many of the climbers who frequented Spaghetti Falls wondered what lay above the route.

Aaron Mulkey on Spaghetti falls literally before it melted away

Aaron Mulkey on Spaghetti Falls, literally just before it melted away.

I had just gotten back from Norway, still super psyched to get out and climb, when I received a call from Daniel Burson who was thinking the cow was fat and it was time to slaughter. We quickly rallied a third because, well, I don’t like to carry too much weight in my pack. Shawn Gregory joined us, fresh off the bar stool from an epic night, but he was ready to get after it.

Cruising up low angle ice above Spaghetti Falls

Cruising up low angle ice above Spaghetti Falls.

about 1000 feet above Spaghetti Falls things open a bit and then tighten down quickly

About 1000 feet above Spaghetti Falls, things open up a bit and then tighten down quickly.

We made quick time into the uncharted ground above and things were looking very good for us at the chockstone pitch, the one that had turned previous parties around.

Getting below the chockstone

Getting below the chockstone, Daniel is super psyched to finally tick this rig off.

 

Daniel Burson taking on the nemesis chockstone pitch

Daniel Burson, taking on the nemesis chockstone pitch.

Shawn Gregory fighting through the chockstone

Shawn Gregory, fighting through the chockstone.

We were super stoked to break new ground, through the chockstone, and to see what lay above.

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Above the chockstone pitch was more steep snow, leading us into the steeper terrain above.

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Aaron Mulkey leading through more ice to summit headwall

Aaron Mulkey, leading through more ice to summit headwall.

 

Oh yeah some Beartooth Choss

Oh yeah…some Beartooth Choss.

Daniel getting committed to the choss

Daniel, getting committed to the choss.

 

Daniel lead a super proud pitch of mentally challenging terrain with questionable gear

Daniel, leading a super proud pitch of mentally challenging terrain with questionable gear.

 

Shawn Gregory wondering when it stops

Shawn Gregory, wondering when it stops.

bad rock aside this was an incredible pitch

Bad rock aside, this was an incredible pitch.

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So excited to have been lucky enough to finish this project off with Daniel and Shawn.

So excited to have been lucky enough to finish this project off with Daniel and Shawn.

At the end of the day, we were pretty damn stoked to have added a 2,200 ft. extension to Spaghetti Falls. We called it “Meatballs” (WI5 M7ish).

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