What's the most sandbagged climb in Yosemite Valley?

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Mason

Trad climber
Yay Area
Topic Author's Original Post - Jun 17, 2010 - 04:05pm PT
A few weekends back I finally followed on Reed's Direct, 5.9. It had been quite some time that I had looked up at this line drooling with hunger and hoping to climb it as soon as possible. Everytime we'd line up at the Reed's Parking lot, it ended up that we'd go some other direction, leaving the Direct Route for some other day.

Finally, on the 5th of June I got my chance. I had led a few 5.8s in the Valley and I felt like I was ready. I kept looking up at the line thinking, "Hey, it doesn't look so bad." I remember a few people told me that it was pumpy and that the first pitch I could definitely lead. The second pitch, I might have a hard time on it. I figured I'd lead the first and see how I felt and then let my friend lead the second if I wasn't feeling it.

Man, was I in for a wake up call. The first pitch start wasn't even possible. I put in protection, tried to jam my toe into any part of the crack to get some purchase, and nothing. My hands couldn't get a decent jam, unless it was way high up and then I was over extended with no leverage. I finally said, "I can't do this."

So, my friend racked up, set a couple of pieces to protect a fall on that crazy slab that would break your tail if you fell on it and took off. He called, "off belay" in a few minutes and it was my turn to follow. I wasn't even sure if I could follow after that poor psychological performance. I finally figured it out and took off. The climbing was relatively easy after that.

Then our 3rd came up and we thought, cool, let's go down. But, apparently our first had a vendetta with the second pitch and said, "well, people are coming up, looks like I'll have to go!" I thought, "great...not really..."

After some serious hangdogging, gear dropping, a single whipper and some major communication issues, he made it up.

Awesome lead nonetheless.


The rope started moving up and then it came tight. Then three tugs..."now what? My turn?" I couldn't even hear him. "Well, here goes nothing." Even the start had me shaking...I looked up at the first placement and couldn't even remember how he moved above it. At least there were feet. Slowly, I started moving up. "Ok, this isn't so bad...the jams are there, just move up slowly and get used to the height and vertical line." One-third of the way up, "ok...getting a little tired. He sure jammed these hexes in really well and hung on them for a while."

About half-way up I realized I was working way too hard and I had almost no energy left and my arms felt like battery acid was coursing through them. I don't know if it was because mid-week I had done a heavy and intense back workout with biceps thrown in, or thursday I had done a hard climbing workout at the gym with my buddy finishing with several laps on a 10a for good burn, or the fact that I continued to boulder in the Mammoth area on Friday but my forearms and hands felt as if they would spontaneously combust into fireballs. I didn't think I could make it...

Every few feet up, I'd look at a good spot to get a good hand jam and think, "Maybe if i get to that spot, it looks like there might be a rest." No such luck. Finally, I got to the third to last placement below the rest ledge. "My god...I have nothing left. I can't even pull the piece out. I see that there are three pieces clipped together, he must have been so tired that he didn't bother to unclip the other two...I have no strength left...I can't even pull the hex out...I am not going to make it..."

But I did...finally mustered the strength and energy to pull myself up onto the ledge, battling the rope drag from the directional that my friend had placed because he ran out of pieces for the OW. I took the easy way up after that. And I was thankful to have made it up.

A while back a friend took me on this crazy, burly 5.8 to humble me a little. He said that 5.8 could be hard. I agree. But, I think he would have had better luck humbling me had he taken me up this monster, the Direct Route. Believe me, I was humbled.

The next day I thought would be restful easy climbing, but no...we had to go to Generator Crack


But someone did say that Reed's Direct is probably the most sandbagged climb in the Valley. Is it? If not, which climb is?

I am afraid to try .10a...sort of...not really...but I'll never look at a climb again and say, "that doesn't look so hard."

Mighty Hiker

climber
Vancouver, B.C.
Jun 17, 2010 - 04:11pm PT
What's wrong with this photo? Apart from the tube socks, that is.
hobo_dan

Social climber
Minnesota
Jun 17, 2010 - 04:14pm PT
Quicksilver
Mason

Trad climber
Yay Area
Topic Author's Reply - Jun 17, 2010 - 04:18pm PT
Is that Rick Cashner? He's climbing solo with a boom box. Badass!
survival

Big Wall climber
A Token of My Extreme
Jun 17, 2010 - 04:18pm PT
It's Werner.


Nice post!

Glad you made it man. Keep after it.

I have always loved that pitch. Some days it feels like 5.9 d, other days not so much. Course now with a few extra pounds on my ass, it's probably 5.10.....
donini

Trad climber
Ouray, Colorado
Jun 17, 2010 - 04:20pm PT
I'll second Quicksilver, Reed's seems okay for the "old school" grade.
scuffy b

climber
Eastern Salinia
Jun 17, 2010 - 04:22pm PT
Reed's Direct (2nd pitch is good, solid, 5.9, on the tiring side.
It's always been considered one of the standards, so how can it be
sandbagged? By the way, that is quite an awkward construction.
Climbers are sandbagged, not climbs. And that means someone lied to you
about a climb, told you it was easier than the reality.

But, really, that pitch is 5.9.
Maysho

climber
Soda Springs, CA
Jun 17, 2010 - 04:30pm PT
Way to get after it! Yes that is classic 5.9, but also an example of the limitations of any numerical system. You will find 5.10's that are easier to accomplish, but Reeds really is 5.9, especially once you get some more advanced technique, keeping the arms straight, reaching through to palm the wall to support moving your feet up, rather than just hanging off your hand jams, etc.

For the record, when I was a 15 year old punk, I lead a number of 5.10's and even a couple of 5.11 face routes in the meadows that summer, but was pretty "psyched up", (read kinda gripped), about leading the second pitch for the first time.

Peter

ps. for a good sandbag, I always loved the Fish Crack as "the hardest 5.11" Even though it is rated 5.12b these days, I will always call it the "hardest 5.11"
Jaybro

Social climber
Wolf City, Wyoming
Jun 17, 2010 - 04:30pm PT
Worst Sandbag?
Reed's direct?

not by a longshot, though most .10's Are easier than the Second pitch. The first pitch barely rates 5.9

Generator Crack?
Hey, .10c is 10c


Mason your asking the wrong question, you need to learn the grades before you decide what you want them to be. Gotta Crawl before you can run.
Start out with a nice 5.7, Fatman's Chimney, Washington column. Don't do Reed's direct until you can climb that one.
Tony Bird

climber
Northridge, CA
Jun 17, 2010 - 04:31pm PT
i burned out on a couple pitches of reed's once as a discovery channel crew moved in to film dean potter casually cruise up and down the thing as though it was what he did every morning before breakfast. he didn't bring a boombox, though. what a weenie, huh? or is that dean?

royal robbins 5.9 = approx. 5.10b
survival

Big Wall climber
A Token of My Extreme
Jun 17, 2010 - 04:33pm PT
I would follow that chick up Generator.



But there's a good reason she's only a few feet off the dirt.....
scuffy b

climber
Eastern Salinia
Jun 17, 2010 - 04:37pm PT
yeah, the photographer was probably kinda nervous...
Mason

Trad climber
Yay Area
Topic Author's Reply - Jun 17, 2010 - 04:46pm PT
Thanks guys, I was a little out of shape from not climbing since JTree in November so I probably should have gotten some easier stuff under my belt before I got on it, but it was a great climb and I'm glad I got it.

I'm not trying to say one climb or another is sandbagged, just wondering if anyone else agrees. I think all Valley climbs are rated much easier than they really are. I've only climbed a handful of Valley stuff but most everything I've climbed was harder than the rating suggested.

I guess I agree that Reed's is 5.9, but a very draining 5.9 because I didn't know how to rest and where to rest, and as mentioned, use proper techniques to leverage my body movement up the rock. The jams were all good...I just hung on my left arm way too long.

Lesson learned.

Btw, I'd be happy just belaying that chick on Generator.

Oh, and now I understand Werner a little better I think. How did he climb that thing with a boom box...clip the boom box somewhere?
Daphne

Trad climber
Mill Valley, CA
Jun 17, 2010 - 04:47pm PT
jaybro--- bwahahaha

Mason, I still have scars (just physical ones) from the second pitch of Reeds Direct. Won't go back and do that one again until I am sending most 5.10s I try. I loved, loved, loved the first pitch, though. I think that is the most perfectly sized crack for my hands. If anyone knows others just like it, please post up!
bluering

Trad climber
Santa Clara, Ca.
Jun 17, 2010 - 04:48pm PT
Good job, Mason.

Take Jaybro's advice about grades. Keep doing the 7.s and .8's until you have no problems with them and are super comfy placing gear and falling on it.

At some point you can leave behind my old advice about learning to place/climb on gear. "Just don't fall and you got no problems".
Mighty Hiker

climber
Vancouver, B.C.
Jun 17, 2010 - 04:50pm PT
No one ever asks why Werner was carrying a boom box in the first place, on the second pitch of Reed's 3D or elsewhere. It was pre-Walkmen/IPods, but that isn't the reason.
ontheedgeandscaredtodeath

Trad climber
San Francisco, Ca
Jun 17, 2010 - 04:54pm PT
I've never found the valley to be sandbagged. Sure, that wide stuff feels stiff for the grades, but it always does. Other climbs feel harder than they are because the pitches are long and sustained.

If'n you venture out into the provinces you'll see some real sand bagging.
Mason

Trad climber
Yay Area
Topic Author's Reply - Jun 17, 2010 - 04:56pm PT
Thanks Blue.

Fattrad, thank you. I don't think it's so much that I'm trying to rush through the grades, but I just see a line that looks really nice and really fun to climb and I want to climb it. The grade deters me if anything. I'm glad our ropegun was up to the challenge.

Daphne, I still have a scab on my hand because I didn't tape up. Pretty nasty!

FRUMY

Trad climber
SHERMAN OAKS,CA
Jun 17, 2010 - 04:59pm PT
mighty hiker we know the reason. a man who could hear wouldn't need a boom box. reed's is no sandbag it's just a real good little climb. now you know what 5.9 is.
scuffy b

climber
Eastern Salinia
Jun 17, 2010 - 05:00pm PT
For the amplification?
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