Sunkist Topo or Beta


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Big Wall climber
Peak District, UK
Topic Author's Original Post - Jul 18, 2010 - 11:00am PT

Has anyone got a topo and / or any beta on Sunkist? We're heading out to The Valley in early September and my friend has set his heart on this as "his last Big Wall" before retirement. He's done Mescalito and The Shield amongst others and so "it's got to be Sunkist"

Any information much appreciated.


Dominic (a.k.a. one of the "Well decked-out Brits" from Tom's ElCapReport last year on The Shield)
Mark Hudon

Trad climber
Hood River, OR
Jul 18, 2010 - 02:17pm PT
Doesn't the Reid guide have a topo of it?

London, UK
Jul 19, 2010 - 04:47pm PT
You friend has excellent taste! It’s as good as everyone says and mostly pretty steady (as long as you don't make the mistake I did once-upon-a-time and go on it with only a number 4 friend for the chimney). The gold headwall and the final prow (on Son of Heart) are pretty fine places to be.

P1-4: As Magic Mushroom. Straightforward C1 or 2 and some free.
P5: Short (70’) pitch. Cast Away Mateys Pinnacle (5.6) then penji left.
P6: A2. Take the LH of two parallel cracks (RH one is Magic Mushroom), don’t go too high before a penji left and up. [Cams to 3.5, a few pins]
P7: A2. [Rivets, hooks]. Traverses out left above the heart roofs (the Reid topo is wrong here, but it's obvious where the route goes). Jolly Roger joins at this point; check out the Golden Doubloon pitch if you can.
P8: A2. Short (50’) pitch [Pins, nuts, cams to 2.5].
P9: A2. Walk along narrow ledge (Captain’s Quarters on Jolly Roger) then a couple of hook moves then some free. Cam 4 was useful for belay.
P10: The chimney / OW. Look towards San Francisco. Take at a Friend 5 and a Camalot 4, or two Friend 5s. I had a Friend 6, used it once here on the entire route but was glad to have it. There is also a chicken bolt.
P11-12: Link easily. A2+. Penjis or hook traverse to blind small cam then long crack [fixed stuff, nuts, cams to 3]. Jolly Roger goes off right. Gulp…
P13: A2+. The gold headwall starts here, "Yeeehaaarrr!" to quote my old hand-drawn topo from the second ascentionists. Rivets to expanding flake to more rivets with the odd hook move.
P14: A3. The All Time Aid Crack. First 140’ is A1. Final 25’ is thin [Everything to cam 3.5].
P15: A3. Thin for 50’ [beaks, heads] to rivet ladder and occasional hook move.
P16-17: Link easily. A3. P16 is The A5 Arch [Heads to circleheads]. Cam 3.5 useful at the end. P16 belay is not great and gets drainage: read Andy Perkins' account of his and Odd-Roar Wiik’s epic. Joins Son of Heart here.
P18: A2. Wild exposure amongst the Peregrines [LAs, cam hooks, small cams].
P19: A2+. Hollow in places. Belay is now good.
P20-21: Short aid section then 250’ of slabby 5.6 knobs (+ one tricky move at the very top). Don’t even think about hauling: fix ropes then jumar with packs on.

Aid ratings are for c.1996; P14, 15 and 16 are probably fixed and easier now.

Rack (c.1996):

10 beaks and/or KBs
10 LAs all short
2 each 1/2-3/4” angles
20 heads
3 sets wires
3 sets Aliens
3 sets Friends to 2.5
2 x 3, 3.5, 4
1 x 5
1 x 6?

Hooks all types

Social climber
Jul 19, 2010 - 04:58pm PT
You friend has excellent taste!

Are you the Dominic who climbed with Bill and then attended the Bachar memorial? The Bill who told the tale of being passed by JB and Croft on the first HD/EC link-up in a day? I recall the gentleman drank Old English 800 until the near infinite supply was exhausted and then switched to red wine. Hard man, indeed!

Erik Sloan

Jul 19, 2010 - 06:38pm PT
Hi Dominic,

I've got an updated topo. Just putting the finishing touches on it(will post up soon).

looks like a good one.

'Pass the Pitons' Pete

Big Wall climber
like Ontario, Canada, eh?
Jul 19, 2010 - 06:45pm PT
So what are the status of the anchor bolts on Sunkist? Have they been replaced lately? Are they originals? What's the scoop?

Big Wall climber
Peak District, UK
Topic Author's Reply - Jul 20, 2010 - 04:44am PT
Hi Gents

Many thanks for all this excellent beta - getting thoroughly psyched now :-)

Duncan - Good advice re Big Gear - we'll drag Big Bertha along for the trip.

Gene - Yup; that's us and this year we're going as a team of 3 with Mike who could probably give Bill a good run for his money in a drinking contest. Luckily we can't make the FaceLift this year or you'd have serious problems of beer availability!

Nonook - Excellent - topo would be most welcome

Pete - Cheers for the great info. Hopefully catch up for a beer in the Valley towards the end of our trip / start of yours.

Cheers for now (and keep the Beta coming :-)


'Pass the Pitons' Pete

Big Wall climber
like Ontario, Canada, eh?
Jul 20, 2010 - 09:53am PT
You know the Dr. Piton schtick, mate - "beta for beer". I've got it for forty different El Cap routes. Fire me off an email and I can tell you who to leave it with if we happen to miss each other this fall.

Tom Evans told me that a team including Brian Sadowski climbed the route this spring, and didn't say anything about the belay bolts being bad. So maybe they're ok? I have never heard of anyone replacing bolts on this route.

London, UK
Jul 20, 2010 - 11:09am PT
Aishan Rupp replaced some of the original belay bolts with Petzl long-lifes in mid-90s. I don't recall being concerned about any of the belays at that time.

black hills
Aug 3, 2010 - 02:36pm PT
Nanook gave us an updated topo for the route and I just sent him a few more updates. All belays have at least 1 bomber bolt with other 1/4"ers, rivets looked ok. Our largest cam was an old #5 camalot and it was sufficient for the awkward chimney pitch.

Trad climber
Ouray, Colorado
Aug 3, 2010 - 02:52pm PT
Retiring- what's that all about?

Big Wall climber
Peak District, UK
Topic Author's Reply - Aug 22, 2010 - 07:30am PT
Re retirement...

Mike turns 70 this year so he's thinking of retiring his aiders after Sunkist - don't put him off as I'm first in line to inherit!!
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