Should be confident crack climber and gym 5.10-5.11 climber. With hand jam, finger jam, and reverse foot jamming techniques for lie back cracks.
Follower: Pitch 5 and 6 will be uncomfortable with 3+ people. Followers should have basic crack technique. Crux pitch can be skipped by falling or taking tight.
Park at Glacier Gorge trail head or the Bear Lake secondary lot which adds an extra quarter to half mile. Overnight bivy recommended (glacier gorge spearhead bivy). Car to car possible. Follow trail signs to Glacier Gorge and then Black Lake. Once at Black Lake the trail goes left around the lake and follows the river that feeds it. This is the steepest part of the trail. Once on top of the plateau, head toward the center of the bowl where the prominent feature in the middle is Spearhead. I always get lost going through here and end up taking a different path. Note: the farther left you stay the easier it is, eventually hitting a boulder field and traversing right toward the base of the climb.
As you approach Spearhead, the smooth face with the sickle shaped scar in the top left is Sykes Sickle and then to the right of that is an arrowhead shaped block. This is The Barb. Start of climb is to the climbers right of the Barb at the start of the flakey layered rock with a left facing dihedral that becomes more prominent at about 30-40 ft (see picture above).
Double rack #0.3 - #2, single #3, full nut set with focus on small range. Ten (10) 60 cm alpine draws. Nervous climbers bring extra #0.3-0.5, & #1. 70m rope preferred for running out pitches. 60 m doable. No hand tape required.
No fixed anchors or rap stations. Single piton after pulling crux move.
P1/P2 good ledge; P3 small ledge semi hang; P4 good ledge; P5 stop at a good ledge before crux pitch; P6 shallow angle ledge semi hang; P7 good; P8 climbers choice good P9 top out, good
Route wanders a lot with long traverses. Extend majority of pieces at the beginning of each pitch. Protect traverses with directionals for followers. Don't protect primary holds on pitch 4 and 5 as it will make it much harder to follow. If running low on gear, make belay at next available ledge (P5). Voice commands between climbers is possible.
Pitch Descriptions (climbers perspective):
P1 P2 (5.6) Simul climb up flakes into the dihedral. Walk left along the grassy ledge about 20-30 ft to another obvious flake that goes up and left, set anchor here. P3 (5.8) Easy flake climbing, with possible run outs if you do not have a #4 or #5. Protect when possible every 10+ feet to small ledge with a thick square flake above it (possible to get on top of square flake for better belay ledge). P4 (5.9) Left diagonal crack with three back-to-back thin finger moves. P5 (5.9) Money pitch, exit good belay ledge to the left. Follow curve up to a small roof and right diagonal crack on face. Sustained 5.9 crack with poor feet for 20ft. Continue into vertical crack with lie back larger than fist crack and ledges. Before leaving the last good ledge, setup belay or continue up to the horn at the base of the right diagonal crack if you have enough gear (watch out for the left traverse between vertical cracks). P6 At the horn, traverse right toward piton into crux move as you transition into the right diagonal crack. Reach delicate right hand and smearing foot to clip piton (5.10-, committing move) to get into the right diagonal crack. Belay at the end of the crack before continuing around the corner. P7 (5.6) Go right at the same elevation as the belay (just below a little roof) to get onto the upper pitches of the north ridge. Drop into gully, set anchor. P8 (5.6) Go up the gully and get off into the face cracks. You can attempt to climb to the actual route or stay in the first crack system. Thin protection until after you are above the piano block. Some runout 5.7 slab climbing. Setup belay on sloping ledge at same elevation as top of piano block. P9 (5.7) Awesome pitch, get up onto ramp (you will see an obvious belay ledge to your right above piano block), use the left of the two back-to-back dihedrals with a face crack on the left side of the book. Continue up to a chimney and all the way up and top out (for a more entertaining finish, belay at the end of the chimney at the entrance to a tunnel. Go through tunnel to finish).
Descent (looking downhill perspective):
Walkoff. Go down the backside with obvious switch backs, goal is to stay as left as possible. After switch backs start to narrow, go over left hump with large boulders and no apparent trail, go down more tight switch backs and continue left until you can see tight switch backs going all the way down to the scree field. Note: If you can not see all the way down, it cliffs out. Wrap around the face to your right to get back to the start. Stay far away from cliffs as rock fall is common from other climbers.