Arachnophobia

Arachnophobia

Arachnophobia was one of the first routes on the Spider, originally climbed by Wayne Wallace and Steve Elder in 1994. This route follows a wide, prominent drainage up the center of the face, beginning with a cliff band, then a snowfield, then another cliff band and snowfield. The first ascent was likely done in very thin conditions, causing Wallace and Elder to leave the drainage and quest up the rock to the right of the second cliff band before cutting back left to reach the second snow field. A “direct” version of the route, sticking entirely in the drainage, was first documented in 2017 by Alex Parker and Tim Bemrich, which is what practically all groups climb nowadays.

Overview:

The first ascent was likely done in very thin conditions, causing Wallace and Elder to leave the drainage and quest up the rock to the right of the second cliff band before cutting back left to reach the second snow field. A “direct” version of the route, sticking entirely in the drainage, was first documented in 2017 by Alex Parker and Tim Bemrich, which is what practically all groups climb nowadays.

Stats

Original Route: 5.9 AI4. Direct Variation in icy conditions: WI3 or 3+.

Description

Photo #1: Looking up at the first pitch in fat conditions.

Cross the bergschrund(s) and head up towards the main drainage in the center of the face. Move quickly as you’re in the spray zone for anything falling down the drainage. In fat conditions the first cliff band will have multiple streaks of ice to choose from (WI3). Follow the ice up to the first snowfield. This is a bit longer than 60m, so break it into two pitches or be prepared to simul climb. Note that this section was originally graded WI4 5.9, so expect some harder, and likely scarier climbing if the conditions are thin! Once you reach the first snowfield you’ll want to ascend on either side to stay somewhat sheltered.

From the first snowfield the original route exits up and right, following rampy rock. You’ll gain a prow and be able to look to the right into a gully that feeds the lower part of Center Drip. From here you’ll follow the prow up and left, eventually needing to do some steep traversing and a “5.8 mantle” to get to the second snowfield. Instead, most parties will want to climb during good ice conditions and will go for the “direct” variation up the second cliff band. From the top of the first snowfield most groups climb a short (10m) pitch of slightly steeper ice, the route’s crux, on the far left, reaching a low-angle groove that heads back right and up into the second snowfield. Alternatively you can climb the steeper, more sustained ice on the cliff to the right, though this exposes you to more overhead hazard as you top out.

Endless, calf-burning WI2 near the top of the second snowfield.

Reach the second snowfield and continue up. The original route exits up right through a final cliff band where Wallace and Elder climbed a 5.7 crack but this is entirely optional and hard to find. Most groups simply follow the drainage, which can be snow or solid, low angle ice (WI2). In low-snow conditions there may be a rock band to cross. Eventually, you’ll reach the summit snowfields and can slog to the top.