Elevation: 11,100 ft
This peak is not in the book. Judi Steciak and Carl Hamke provided the following route information. Also see their article on the Missing Eleveners in the Climbing History sSction of this site. Updated April 2018
True Grit is located on the South End of the treacherous Mount Corruption/Mount Breitenbach Divide (see Pages 280-283). True Grit, along with Triple Peak and Cleft Peak, form a rugged cluster of rotten towers that see few ascents. The name True Grit was bestowed on the peak by its first ascenders: George Reinier, Johnny Roache, and Pat McGrane. True Grit is the most technically challenging of Idaho’s Eleveners. It is the only Idaho peak above 11,000 feet without a nontechnical route to its summit. The first ascent was made on July 9, 2011. Judi Steciak and Carl Hamke made the second ascent. There are fewer than ten recorded ascents. USGS Leatherman Peak
Reinier, Roache, and McGrane Route, Class 5.3-5.4 by Judi Steciak
- Pat McGrane added two photos and comments to this route description.
The quickest approach is from Dry Creek [(A)(6.1)(a) on Page 290]. Follow the pack trail up Dry Creek until it crosses the 7,820-foot contour. To avoid thrashing through willows, turn SW and ascend to continue up the valley parallel to the 8,200-foot contour until you can cross the drainage to the valley between True Grit and Cleft Peak. Stay on intermittent herd paths on the South Side of the valley until you reach treeline near 9,400 feet, where you can cross to the North Side.
From this point, thread up between cliffs to the cirque above. Ascend the NW facing scree to the 100-foot cliff below the summit on the NE end of the ridge. A small right-facing open book leads up to a ledge followed by a short series of pockets and small headwalls. The system tops off on the North Ridge a few easy steps from the summit. The technical crux is at the start of the climb of the summit block. Keep in mind that the rock quality deteriorates as you ascend.
Hamke and Steciak took a small rack, maybe 10 mid to small size pieces (hexes, wired stoppers and camming devices) and long runners. Carl reports “We found protection for the lowest belay anchor, two wired stoppers in opposition, in a horizontal crack, see second photo. The 4th photo shows the step up to set the belay anchors. You could continue to traverse left from there, probably 5.6 or so, but it was easier in hiking boots to come back down and do an easier and lower traverse to the small open book we told you about before.”
“We could not find a solid anchor to rappel from the summit, it was all loose rock. I belayed Judi while she down climbed and placed protection for me. Then I used a couple of long runners around the base of the summit cairn and down climbed while self-belaying, without loading the rope, see 3rd photo (this is a 4-biner rappel brake with a prussik backup). Back on the ledge at the top of the open book (1st and 2nd photo) it became clear that it would be difficult to retrieve the rope once I was back to the belay – too many jagged edges for it to get hung up on. I left Judi’s pro temporarily in place while I re-tied myself into a bight of the rope – Judi had me on belay – and was able to pull the rest of rope from the summit. From there I continued down, removing all of the pro while Judi kept me on belay. We used a 9 mm rope. Bring a 50-meter rope, a shorter rope won’t be long enough, and a helmet. The upper section had loose rock, maybe it has been cleaned by the crowds climbing the 11’ers now.”
Pat McGrane adds “I would bring about 6-8 pieces of gear and a few slings including a long one for the anchor. Bring two C4 cams, the red one and the yellow one. Then 5-6 smaller stoppers. It is pretty easy but you will want to overprotect it because we downclimbed the pitch rather than rappel. There is really nothing to rappel off. The top is simply a pile of rocks. I used one of the cams in a slot near the bottom and could get in a couple of small stoppers at the top for an anchor but I did not trust them to rappel off. I used the small stoppers and the long sling for the belay at the summit. I then belayed up John and George.
To descend, I belayed those guys down with a top rope and asked them to replace the gear to protect me because I needed the pro after the hard parts since I was down climbing. George did this. Then I down climbed the route with a belay from below.”