Patriot Cracks, Concord Tower II 5.8
Avg time to climb route: 1.5-3 hours
Approach time: 1.5-3 hours
Descent time: 1.5-3 hours
Number of pitches: 4
Height of route: 300'
OverviewThe Patriot Cracks is the most difficult and least classic of the three popular routes on the North Face of Concord Tower. The crux of the route and most of Pitch 2 is awkward and filled with route finding challenges. Higher on Pitch 2 there are large, seemingly secure but precarious stacked blocks. The Patriot Cracks is often combined with another route on Liberty Bell. Two routes for one approach – you can’t beat that. While the Patriot Cracks is a good alternative to routes on Liberty Bell or Concord Tower, it is a step up in difficulty from the Becky Route or the North Face of Concord. Except for slightly more challenging route finding, the difficulty is comparable to Rapple Grapple or the Overexposure Route.
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StrategyThe Patriot Cracks is the least popular of the three main routes on the North Face of Concord and thus is the least likely to be crowded. Like some of the other routes on the North Face of Concord Tower, the Patriot Cracks has its fair share of awkward climbing and funky, but never runout, gear placements.
Pitch 1, which is shared with the North Face, is short and straight-forward. You either belay from there, or move the belay to the far east end of the big ledge. Pitch 2, the crux, is sloppy, unobvious and insecure for most of the first half. Many of the holds point odd directions and some of the cracks are flaring. The climbing doesn’t let up and the upcoming gear or even the next hold is not always certain. About half way up, the angle tips back and the climbing eases. There is a fair number of seemingly secure but actually precarious, stacked blocks; take care not to knock them on your partner or surrounding climbers.
Pitch 2 is long and can have bad rope drag so some parties choose to break it up into two pitches. For the final pitch, you have two options: one is the original Patriot Cracks skyline finish. This has a short but insecure crux, in keeping with character of the rest of the route. Alternatively, traverse onto the slightly more secure and more popular North Face Bear Hug flake finish. Leave your shoes and extra gear at the start as the rappels deposit you a stone’s throw from the base.
Retreat StormRappel with one 60m rope at any time off fixed anchors. There are fixed anchors all over the face, so while this might involve a little side-to-side swing, it is never extreme. The route doesn’t get as much sun as nearby routes and can take a little longer to dry out. Early and late season, ice and snow linger on the face.
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