Topic Author's Original Post - Mar 13, 2018 - 10:07am PT
Paul and I were able to get a night climb in on Thursday eve up Mark's new route. Makes for a fun night climb and a surprisingly good view of Tollhouse, Clovis and Fresno. We enjoyed a couple cold ones on the rocks above playground ledge after. I was amazed at the number of salamanders on the approach trail, literally saw like 30-40. Not to mention the millipedes, crickets, snails and stink beetles a long with a scorpion and giant Wolf Spider on the route itself. Good time and perfect weather with clear skies.
The Mander on patrol
Nothing to see here
I dare you!
Pepe Le Pew
The next morning I returned with Joe. We planned on trying to put up a route up to the left of Marks but found a single bolt and a set of anchors about 40m from the top. Anyone have any info on these? I couldn't find any other bolts below or above that anchor and one bolt. I could potentially see someone running it out an entire pitch on that easy face but then why the one bolt above the next anchor on even easier climbing. I am confused and Mark Fletcher says they are not his.
I scratched our route plan since I didn't want to screw up anyone's line. Instead we wrapped down 60m from the top ledge, using a nice crack as an anchor that I dug out, further left to a gully of sorts with a small tree/bush atop a grassy area. Were able to make two lines go. Joe scored the first and better line (Beat Around the Bush) going at 5.7 with 3x and pro to #1 BD following the crack/seems. We put in 30m anchor so one 60m rope could be used for it all as Mark did.
I went up another line that start about 15-20' below Joe's. You walk out right onto some dikes rails and then head up. When I first did it I only used 3x for the 35 meters but added a bolt after since the pro was really not great. Off the Rails 5.6, 35+m. Both routes will get better with more activity to clean them a bit.
Mark's in yellow with the 2 new in red.
We finished up and bailed. Summit Adventures passed us on the trail as they were taking in about 25-30 people.
At some point on Friday, Joe and I both touched the same Poison Oak plant. We both got a small patch on our forearm area. Worth it though, as always.
This is the low angle stuff left and below of Elvis Wall. Mark Fletcher put up a route on it last year. Very user friendly with five 30m pitches, wrap anchors and all glue ins. It's like 5.5/6 and all you need is a 60m rope and 8 draws for the entire thing. Great beginner lead.
This is left of that.
In the topo pic, the red arrow in the top right of the pic is pointing at the left base of Elvis Wall.
I remember years ago asking Kenny if there was anything over there and got the impression he had checked it out but wasn't interested in going back. I'll text him to see if those are his. If they look new though, they are not I'd be almost certain.
The anchor and single bolt could possibly have been put in by Paul Mertzen. I remember someone telling me that Paul may have put in a climb in this area. When I put in "Descending, Ascending, Vertical Elevation (DAVE)", I was careful to look for existing bolts. Paul occasionally posts here, so he may chime in.
I did "Off The Rails" this morning. Was your double bolt anchor supposed to have rappel rings since I did not find any? I did find a dug-out crack at the top where a rappel/belay anchor could be made. It might be nice to have a rappel anchor here so you do not have to leave any gear at the top. I have never trusted leaving anything at the top anywhere at Squarenail or Tollhouse Rock ever since I had some items that were will hidden at the top of Tollhouse Rock stolen while I was climbing.
Also, I found the rappel distance from your first pitch anchors to be more than 30 m. I almost rappelled off the ends of my rope. I had to swing over into the gully to the left and then down climb that dirty gully. It might be better to use two ropes for this rappel or put in an intermediate anchor next to one of your bolts. In any case, it is a nice climb and will get better when it cleans up. DAVE also had a lot of poorly attached flakes and munge when I started it.
Those bolts are likely mine as I started to add belay anchors and bolts to that face about 5 years ago, then got busy with other stuff. I thought I had put in two anchors but maybe not. Years ago, Bill Murphy and I climbed from the bottom up making do with natural pro, but I wanted to make a safe bolted climb out of it. Five years ago Holly climbed with me when I put in a few bolts, but we did not go all the way to the bottom. Glad Mark put in the effort. Somebody else said they had soloed around on those slabs as well, Matt Schutz maybe?
I wanted to start the raps and end the route in that nice gap between the asteroid boulders at the top. Thought that would give it a nice feel.
While those slabs are pretty low angle there are some short steeper sections and it is so long that it makes for a nice mellow adventure.
Thanks for the replies. I figured it was the top out of another climb. I could see the possibility of going trad with run out. Going to have to investigate the line.
As far as Off the Rails, it is 35m+/- and so you have to rap into the gully to the start of Beat Around the Bush and scramble down as you said unless you have a 70m. Joe's route starts at the tip of the gully and follows the seems. I almost placed another anchor by the rails to rap down further to make it 2p, which I may do. I climbed it from below up to the rails but its pretty dirty and easy slab. I just wasn't feeling it that day.
I didn't place any rap anchors at the top because that crack at the top was perfect for a quick anchor. After placing the anchor below at 30m in the dish, the second can down climb rather easily bringing the gear from the top anchor if desired and is what we did in case we needed the gear, which we didn't. I see how an anchor at the very top could make it more user friendly especially since it is a rap in area.