TR: Flatus/Rorp/Upper Reed's obscurity


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August West

Trad climber
Where the wind blows strange
Topic Author's Original Post - Oct 21, 2006 - 02:43pm PT
A couple of years ago while parked in the Reed's turnout, I got talking to a climber who had just gotten down from the Rorp. For a one star obscurity, he thought it was a pretty good climb. After finally getting around to it last week, I agree.

Instead of doing the wandering 5.5 starting pitches, I did the direct start up the first two pitches of Flatus—which Reid also gives one star. This is a worthwhile climb in its own right—old school 5.9 climbing ("awkward climbing in that classic Yosemite style"). Where Reid marks 5.9 fist on the second pitch, there are a line of bolts (not shown in Reid) that head out left onto the face. The first is a manky 1/4" (there's a cam almost at your feet). The rest are shiny 3/8". Two of the bolts are a body length apart and protect some wild (and stiff, 5.10, maybe harder?) moves. A few more, puzzling, crack/groove moves, sees this second pitch variation end at a bolted belay. From this anchor, traversing up and right into a fun (5.9?), but somewhat dirty corner (more traffic would help) joins the fourth pitch of Rorp at the start of the 5.6 crack. This is a recommended variation, not to mention that it avoids what looks to be some vegetated traversing.

The 5.6 pitch is an easy, but fun, knobby crack that can be jammed or faced climbed. Another clean and fun 5.7 crack leads to a bolted belay at the bottom of an alcove. A touch more old school climbing follows: climbing the cracks in the back and chimneying past a small roof leads to 15' (or so) of double, wide, cracks (5.7 flared ow—could be squeezed or chimneyed).

At the top of the ow climbing, Reid shows a 5.8 going straight up or a wandering 3rd class. The straight up had trees/vegetation so I took the third (I didn't place any pro—my partner traversed back into the crack "on somewhat crumbly, 5.10 face moves"). Reid shows a 5.7 pitch continuing straight up, but he also draws an arrow directing the Rorp over to a 5.6. I followed the arrow over to the dirty, and disappointing 5.6 pitch. Rapping over to the anchor at the top of the 5.7 and then rapping again, I regretted even more not taking the 5.7 finish. This pitch starts in a steep (and fairly thin) crack that is clean and well featured. The angle relents at the top as the crack turns into a water groove. Dubious pro at the top but [apparently] easier climbing that turns into knob hiking before the bolted anchor. Very esthetic looking.

We took two ropes, but between various rap anchors (bolted belays, trees, horns, and slung blocks) and worries over stuck ropes, most of the raps we did were short. Going up again, I would probably take a single 70m. Even a single 60m would probably suffice without having to leave anything but webbing. The belay anchor at the top of the second pitch variation to Flatus is two ropes to the ground (or a little more awkwardly half rope to the top of the first pitch and another half rope off a slung block to the ground). I might take a second rope and leave it on the ground so the final rap could be from this bolted belay.

For gear we basically had double camalot sized pieces up the #3. Per Reid "extra 2.5" to 3" for Flatus, we added two #3 Friends and a #4 Friend. This seemed plenty. If sticking strictly to the Rorp, I would take doubles up to #2 Camalots and 1 or 2 #3 Camalots. A #4 Camalot and a #5 Friend would allow one to push a cam in front of them on the 5.7ow pitch. Took stoppers but didn't place any. Didn't really place anything smaller than finger sized/yellow alien, but the 5.7 pitch that I didn't do (at the top), might take micro cams. All of the anchors had at least one, newish, bolt. Carry some extra webbing for raps.

After having spent so many days at the base, it was cool to climb high up on Reed's—all the way to the headwall.

Trad climber
where the climbin's good
Oct 21, 2006 - 08:11pm PT
I liked that unnamed bolted pitch that exited out left from the second pitch of Flatus. But there is some pitch linking that is worth doing. The belay at the top of the first pitch of Flatus is on a nice big ledge. At the top of the bolted face, there is a bolted anchor with only a small stance belay. The 5.9 dihedral above is short and leads to an expansive ledge with a sizable tree. So instead of stopping at the stance, continue on up to the tree and treat yourself to some comfort. It would be worth using some extended slings come out of Flatus and again after the last bolt where you jog back right a bit in a short crack. The 5.9 dihedral crack is a range of sizes from fingers to hand. Climbed this way, every belay is on a good ledge.

There are some knobs on part of the headwall at the top that might yield a cool (if harder) extension to the climb. Might have to look into that some day
Mighty Hiker

Social climber
Vancouver, B.C.
Oct 21, 2006 - 11:01pm PT
A fun read - thanks! Many's the time I've done routes at Reeds, wondering about all that rock up there.
Ed Hartouni

Trad climber
Livermore, CA
Oct 22, 2006 - 01:17am PT
sounds like a cool adventure... mixing route pitches is a fun...

Trad climber
where the climbin's good
Oct 22, 2006 - 12:21pm PT
Yup, and the start on this one is only about a hundred feet from the high traffic Lunatic Fringe.
Russ Walling

Social climber
Out on the sand, Man.....
Oct 23, 2006 - 01:01pm PT
wrinklestick bump

Vision man...ya gotta have vision...
Oct 23, 2006 - 03:21pm PT
I think I did something similar to what you describe back in '93 or so. Definitely the first two pitches of Flatus and then onto the Rorp for several unknown pitches.
Greg Barnes

Feb 18, 2007 - 10:05pm PT
August - we sort of followed your advice and left the 2nd rope at the first bolted belay in the upper crack (i.e. top of 5.6 pitch). A 70m works fine, with just a tiny bit of down-scrambling on 2nd class on the top rap. But from the 5.6 pitch bolts you'd have to leave extra slings as opposed to just doing two straight-down double-rope raps.

That clean 5.7 pitch at the top is fun, but not super easy to pro due to the flared crack. Mostly 2-4" cams in the good spots, with a few thin cams here & there. Also some small pro right at the top before the face climbing to the anchor. Way burly/tenuous/heady for 5.7, maybe they mixed up the rating with the 5.8 vegetated pitch that you 3rd class around?

That 5.7 chimney/ow pitch is not protected super-well with a 4 camalot and 5 friend unless you trust the 5 totally tipped-out. Better to have one large friend - I'd bring a 3.5" piece (new Camalot #4/old 3.5), a 5" (5 friend), and a 7" (6 friend) if you really want great pro. Fun stuff, in Red Rocks you'd have exactly the same chimney/roof/ow with tons of face holds and it'd still be rated 5.7!

We did the original RORP start for 50', then the dihedral above to a 3-bolt anchor (good 3/8", OK 1/4", bad 1/4"). Burly, fun dihedral - Valley 5.8 or so, 3-4" pro is nice.

right here, right now
Feb 21, 2007 - 07:36pm PT
All right, now this is whut I'ma talkin' 'bout.
Nice read and that obscure stuff is well worth it.
At some point, this was prolly not so obscure.

Vision man...ya gotta have vision...
Feb 21, 2007 - 08:27pm PT
Did a similar deal back in November '93...first two pitches of Flatus and then a few on the Rorp. Only pitch on the Rorp I recall was some teflon-coated 5.7 chimney.

Here's my buddy Bill on the second pitch of Flatus...

Trad climber
where the climbin's good
Feb 21, 2007 - 10:40pm PT
Hey, maybe after we have talked about it here it will become less obscure. It has an easy approach, it now has good anchors to get down, and it goes up a few pitches. What’s not to like?
Clint Cummins

Trad climber
SF Bay area, CA
Apr 30, 2010 - 03:31am PT
Some photos of the Flatus-RORP combo with the bolted face connection:
Messages 1 - 12 of total 12 in this topic
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