How "Road to Astroman" ended up at Plumb Line


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Trad climber
San Jose, CA
Topic Author's Original Post - Jun 18, 2010 - 01:08am PT
How "Road to Astroman" ended up at Plumb Line

Sunday morning: I woke up on my tarp, a the dirty Caltrain pull out below El Portal . I was smiling..
I would better wake up in Ahwahnee fancy room instead and have coffee in the bed - since the road to Astroman was finally made day before. Did I earned at least the rest day after that?
My body felt pretty much trashed, and those stories about reincarnation/reinvigoration after you pass via Harding slot seems to be just jokes. Slot was actually tighter than I can expected - and squeezing through there were reminiscent how I was born 53 years ago.

It turned out as NO rest day for old man since original plan was to climb Astroman on Saturday and something on Elephants on Sunday.
My new partner Chad ( Salamanizer here on ST) was fresh and ready. We never see each other before -until we met yesterday morning at trailhead . It was kind of blind date via Supertopo. We both wanted to do Astroman, and both had the trouble to get old partners on it. Finally after some flirting on-line we signed up and made our Dream climb. We both was happy this morning: - Chad on-sighted it and I just climbed.

Original plan for second day on Elephants was very ambitious, but we cut it just to one route "Plumb Line" on East face. Last year when I decent down to Hot Line from above I was impressed by this line, and Chad get a bait.
But on Sunday morning I felt that I overestimate my desire to climb hard routes on next [post-Astroman] day - and I started looking for some good reason to do something easy. But fortunately Chad was firm.
My stories about hours of bushwhacking through 10 feet tall walls of poison oak did not scare him and we parked at Elephant Rock parking lot, just mile past the Wawona tunnel west end.

Surprisingly approach to the Base of Plumb Line took about half-hour and poison oak this year did not grew up due to Global Warming.

We are in the base of this climb. Left shady side in the photo is another route -Reality Check_10c forming with Plumb Line sharp triangle which lead to the top of Elephants where our car parked.
Second pitch crux corner OW started from alcove and goes up 50 feet to the small ledge and continue 100ft up to other upper ledge- to the start of pitch3

Plumb Line climbed in May 1974 by Dale Bard, Jim Bridwell and Kevin Worrall. It has 4 pitches, with second pitch crux at 10d
According to Kevin
"Bridwell definitely took Dale as the ropegun for that pitch
Dale was an ace offwidth climber, as I've mentioned here before, unlike most climbers, his fist size takes over where his knee size cuts off, and that section is 4 to 5 inches, if I remember right, and with a good edge in a right angle corner."

I take with pride Bridwell's role in this game, so Chad was taking Dale's, despite that his fists was smaller than his knee.

I took first pitch which rated 5.8 - corner which lead to ledge and traverse right to the alcove -where business going to start. It was section were crack diminished and you need to reach via blank face to the ledge. Probably 5.8 if you 6'2". Not me.
Shamelessly step on the sling and reach up. 5.8 A1.
From first belay you can not really see the crux. P2 begin with overhanging wide hands and we were thinking that crux would be higher where crack be widen to 4 inches . Chad left #5 and #6 on my harness and took off. Thirty feet up he was looking for abandoned gear and was happy to find on back of his harness #5 Friend which he placed to protect the crux. Just at the hardest part he got some loose plates of granite which he trow away. This root need more traffic...

Here is photo tipped out #5 Friend and the crux of the route above.
the crux is transition from fists to ow without good hands. Geometry here is weird and chicken wings did no works, but somehow we both went through it.

But overall pitch was not only about this place . Above the crux looming about 100 feet of hard climbing : see photo below:

Chad did perfect job on this pitch, but stop short 50 feet below the ledge of p3 in the bottom part of the wide pod [see photo above], running out of gear and probably energy. The man linked yesterday Enduro corner and Bolder problem variation as one 200ft pitch. I did not hear him groaning at the Harding slot, but on this pitch he was pretty vocal. So how hard this 10d ? - sustained and constantly changing the size. Geometry of the crack demand from you changing your technique every other foot

I took rest of the second pitch and p3 . Good and sustained climb in the clean crack continue [above] . P3 ended up at the ledge with eagle nest. I do not know is nest abandoned or not , but three was some rabbits's remains

Chad took last pitch 5.8 . Ha, ha 5.8 ha,ha, Very difficult chimney/flare faire to be 10b.

Someone(?) can say about last pitch "that this no harder than 5.8 but all moves is very sustained 5.8". I would say - it was very few 5.8 moves on this pitch , mostly harder. But good pitch .
So overall summary of climb of Plumb Line 4 pitches - as - like you climb in order of appearance: Catchy , Stepping Out, Ahab and ReedDirect_P3/chimney - not perfect comparison in selection of routes but give some perspective in difficulty and quality.
There are No single bolt/piton on this route.
And strategic Beta: with shoes size 13 it would be much easier than with size 9. [Heel -toe, all the way ]. Do foot enlargement before you go for Plumb Line.

Finally we were sitting at the beautiful Elephant summit after we done with this excellent climb. And we were discussing how secluded this area of Elephant Rock with such hight concentration of great climbs. Chad was worried : "What would be if we spray about this route? Next time we come here and see line of 5 parties in the Base of Trundling Juan?"
3 days later he sent to me his photos (all photos made by Chad) and wrote:
You should do a TR on supertopo. Would be fun to see what others say of Plumb Line.

Alright - here TP

Chad, thanks for great two days of climbing , kik ass leads and photos
Mike Bolte

Trad climber
Planet Earth
Jun 18, 2010 - 01:11am PT
nice TR! Great job!
Ed Hartouni

Trad climber
Livermore, CA
Jun 18, 2010 - 01:12am PT
thanks Alexi...
hoping this fall will be good Elephant hunting...
Mighty Hiker

Vancouver, B.C.
Jun 18, 2010 - 01:12am PT
Captain...or Skully

Social climber
Seriously, Man, I didn't know she was Your sister.
Jun 18, 2010 - 01:18am PT
Right on, Alexey!
Dude, Salamanizer(Chad) is my hero right now.
There are no trivial routes on the Elephant. They are real.

Social climber
Wolf City, Wyoming
Jun 18, 2010 - 01:34am PT

I climbed that in '78 (?) with Kin Weaver on the tail end of the .10c OW tour (that's what Meyers rated it, back then. Haha!) When I got to the top of pitch 2, gasping for breath, I s muttered "That's the hardest thing I'veever led in my life!" The rest was a daze...
nice job, you guys!

No way I would have ever done that the day after Astroman...

Trad climber
Mill Valley, CA
Jun 18, 2010 - 02:01am PT
Allright, Alexey and Chad! You guys rock! The day after Astroman, damn. That has got to be a record or something. Thanks for the trip report.
Clint Cummins

Trad climber
SF Bay area, CA
Jun 18, 2010 - 02:15am PT
Burly!! Thanks for sharing - very cool to see those pitches.

Big Wall climber
Seattle, WA
Jun 18, 2010 - 02:43am PT
Way fekking cool Alexey. I like the pics, too, and your syntax is hilarious.

So Jaybro, how do you write Cyrillic on here? Is it easy?

from the Leastside
Jun 18, 2010 - 02:58am PT
That photo from the base of it is priceless . Looking forward to Warbler posting some color-commentary about the FA too .

Social climber
Wolf City, Wyoming
Jun 18, 2010 - 03:17am PT
Wayno, I loaded the font.(it was already in the system file somewhere) a little flag sits on my menu bar, usually it's a US flag, when it is, I'm typing like this. I f I click the flag it turns into a russian flag and the type comes out like йфцукенгшщзхъфывапролджэячсмитьбю/

Trad climber
Jun 18, 2010 - 09:07am PT
Kick ass TR



Trad climber
Ouray, Colorado
Jun 18, 2010 - 09:59am PT
Nice TR. They don't make climbs like that anymore, you should have to stand in line to get on it.

Social climber
Davis, CA
Jun 18, 2010 - 11:28am PT
nice work on both climbs guys! thanks for the photos.

Gym climber
Green Cove slabbage BITD!
Jun 18, 2010 - 11:36am PT
Wow Alexey...way to git after it!

See you around I hope.


Jun 18, 2010 - 11:53am PT
Excellent TR and FA commentary by Warbler!



Big Wall climber
A Token of My Extreme
Jun 18, 2010 - 12:09pm PT

The day after Astrodude? Guh-Narly!

Donini says:
They don't make climbs like that anymore, you should have to stand in line to get on it.

I say:
They don't make 'em like that is exactly WHY you don't have to stand in line!

Geez Alexey and Chad, way to make us look bad.....
Roger Breedlove

Cleveland Heights, Ohio
Jun 18, 2010 - 12:19pm PT
Nice TR especially with Kevin filling in the FA story.

Social climber
A prison of my own creation
Jun 18, 2010 - 12:34pm PT
Wow, Alexey does it again! Congrats to you and Chad!

Trad climber
Santa Clara, Ca.
Jun 18, 2010 - 12:49pm PT
Nice job, dudes. Where's Sal at, he should chime in on that lead.

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