Fifty Classic Climbs Of North America


Note that I meant this as a bare-minimum type list – just a quick reference for an out of print book.

Fifty Classic Climbs Of North America

by Steve Roper & Alan Steck

First published (hardcover) in 1979 by Sierra Club Books. Information here summarized from a soft cover reprint (ISBN 0-87156-292-8).


Formation & route names (including ratings) copied verbatim from the book. Complain to Steve & Alan if your favorite 5.10b climb has been downrated to a 5.9 or if the ratings lead you to bring a hammer and pins onto The Nose or if you get busted by a Navajo land owner or if your chosen route has been obliterated by rock fall or if you don’t quite survive an encounter with an alpine ridge…

Since the book is long out of print and somewhat hard to find, this might be a semi-useful list (probably not).

Why are there some “lame” routes on the list as opposed to some “modern classics”? Don’t know – again ask the authors though in some cases timing may be to blame: Prodigal Son (FA: Ron Olevsky, 1981), Primrose Dihedral (FA: Ed Webster 1979, FFA: Ed Webster & Steve Hong 1979), Black Velvet Wall (FA: Joe Herbst & Tom Kaufman, 1973…which led to the more classic Epinephrine “variation” courtesy of Joe Herbst, Joanne & George Urioste 1978), etc…
Alaska and the Yukon

1 Mount Saint Elias, Abruzzi Ridge

2 Mount Fairweather, Carpe Ridge

3 Mount Hunter, West Ridge

4 Mount McKinley, Cassin Ridge

5 Moose’s Tooth, West Ridge

6 Mount Huntington, West Face 5.9 A2 with “severe snow and ice”

7 Mount Logan, Hummingbird Ridge

8 Middle Triple Peak, East Buttress VI 5.9 A3

Western Canada

9 Mount Sir Donald, Northwest Arete III 5.2

10 Bugaboo Spire, East Ridge III 5.7

11 South Howser Tower, West Buttress V 5.8 A2 or 5.10

12 Mount Robson, Wishbone Arete V 5.6

13 Mount Edith Cavell, North Face IV 5.7

14 Mount Alberta, Japanese Route IV 5.6

15 Mount Temple, East Ridge IV 5.6

16 Mount Waddington, South Face V 5.7

17 Devil’s Thumb, East Ridge IV 5.6

18 Lotus Flower Tower V 5.8 A2 or 5.10

The Pacific Northwest

19 Mount Rainier, l>Liberty Ridge

20 Forbidden Peak, West Ridge II 5.2

21 Mount Shuksan, Price Glacier

22 Slesse Mountain, Northeast Buttress V 5.9 A2

23 Mount Stuart, North Ridge III 5.4

24 Liberty Bell Mountain, Liberty Crack V 5.9 A3


25 Devil’s Tower, Durrance Route II 5.6-5.7

26 Grand Teton, North Ridge IV 5.7

27 Grand Teton, Direct Exum Ridge III 5.6

28 Grand Teton, North Face IV 5.8

29 Mount Moran, Direct South Buttress IV 5.7 A3

30 Pingora, Northeast Face IV 5.8

31 Wolf’s Head, East Ridge II 5.5


32 Crestone Needle, Ellingwood Ledges III 5.7

33 Hallett Peak, Northcutt-Carter Route III 5.7

34 Petit Grepon, South Face III 5.7

35 Longs Peak, The Diamond V 5.7 A4 or 5.11

The Southwest

36 Shiprock III 5.7 A2 or 5.9

37 Castleton Tower, Kor-Ingalls Route III 5.9

38 The Titan IV 5.8 A3


39 The Royal Arches III 5.6 A1 or 5.9

40 Lost Arrow Spire III 5.5 A3 or 5.10 A2

41 Sentinel Rock, Steck-Salathe Route V 5.9 A3

42 Middle Cathedral Rock, East Buttress IV 5.9 A1 or 5.10

43 Half Dome, Northwest Face VI 5.9 A3 or 5.11

44 El Capitan, Nose Route VI 5.11 A3

45 El Capitan, Salathe Wall VI 5.10 A3

46 Mount Whitney, East Face III 5.4

47 Fairview Dome, North Face III-IV 5.9

48 Clyde Minaret, Southeast Face IV 5.8

49 Charlotte Dome, South Face III 5.7

50 Lover’s Leap, Traveler Buttress II 5.9