Magic Mushroom - answers for Houston Wall Rat

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'Pass the Pitons' Pete

Big Wall climber
like Ontario, Canada, eh?
Topic Author's Original Post - Jul 26, 2010 - 02:05pm PT
Hey buddy,

I see you're new here. Questions like these, which are questions as opposed to answers, are better posed in the main forum. The route beta section is where you add stuff to the knowledge base. Accordingly, I will answer some of your questions here. You should also send a message to Mike. as he has soloed the Mushroom recently.

"I'm planning on starting up the shroom a week from today and wanted to see if I could get some input from other supertopo members. This may take a second to explain and since this is my first supertopo post I apologize ahead of time if this is an inappropriate place to post this kind of thing or if I ramble on a bit."

Ay, mate - forum is better. Here you go.

"About 6-7 years ago I spent 2 summers in Yosemite with the express purpose of climbing el cap and have done little wall climbing since. I did SF of the column, leaning tower, lurking fear, zodiac, Muir and the Nose. For each of these climbs I was with an inexperienced partner (some trad following but solid rope handling, cleaning) so I led all the pithces, set up belays/bivies, etc. Since then I have done some A2-3 aiding in north conway NH (Prow, Mordor Wall)as well as at Looking Glass in North Carolina (Glass Menagerie, Invisible Airwaves) and spent my spring break in Zion getting up Moonlight Buttress, Touchstone Wall, and Spaceshot.

The first question is what would be the better route to rope solo on el cap. Mescalito, Shield, or Magic Mushroom. I keep reading about people spending 2+ weeks on mescalito and I only have about 12 days to work with. Shield looks incredible but I would not look forward to hauling on FreeBlast.

So I'm trying to figure out which one of those routes would be the best choice for a soloist. I'd much prefer doing some spicy aid to getting strung out on some free climbing while soloing too. Also saw the previous post on this site saying Magic Mushroom is MUCH harder than the supertopo suggests. Comments? Thanks for your help!"

You should talk to Kate [holdplease2] and Kia [poop_tube] as they have both soloed Mescalito. Mescalito is El Cap's best A2 for sure, however it is very long and will take you a long time.

Shield is shorter, and virtually NOBODY hauls Free Blast. Those who do say they will never do it again. If you want a legit solo of El Cap, solo Free Blast, then come down the fixed ropes, grab your pig, and haul it back up to Mammoth Terraces.

I climbed Magic Mushroom with a partner, and I did not particularly like it. It is a stunning and proud natural line, however it has very unfriendly geometry. Basically, you end up climbing a lot of "C1" cracks in "deep" dihedrals. What I mean is that the angle of the dihedral is very small. Imagine a perfectly square sentry-box corner, with a 90-degree angle. Easy to climb - you can get in close to the crack and reach high for each placement. Top-stepping is easy. The dihedrals for pitch after pitch on the Shroom have very narrow angles - maybe 30 degrees? What this means is that you have to reach at arm's length to barely fit gear in the crack. Then the gear will take a severe outward pull as you get onto it. Top-stepping is impossible. In fact, often the dihedral is so narrow you can only reach about twelve to eighteen inches higher to place your next piece. [Think about it....] So C1 and C2 cracks are very hard to climb, because they require so many moves. As well, many of these clean cracks will require the use of micro stoppers, and as you weight them, their angle changes to more outward pulling, and you know what happens then.

I did knott like Magic Mushroom, and I would not recommend it. One of my least favourite routes [I've done forty on El Cap].

Shield can be busy, you may require some big sawed-off pins.

I would recommend you solo:

Sunkist - excellent route, best A3 on the west side. Same start as Mushroom, but without the ugly corners. Unsure of anchor bolts, think they might be OK. There is a recent post here.

Virginia to the Trip - Virginia far and away the best climbing. Superb steep opening pitch, you'd better know how to read a topo. Great beaking pitch before you join the Trip, which I think is a lousy route.

Lunar Eclipse - a little harder, but not that hard. Finish on Zodiac. May have had some new bolts

Contact me for more info. Will trade beta for beer {wink}

Cheers,
PTP Pete
hollyclimber

Big Wall climber
Yosemite, CA
Jul 26, 2010 - 02:22pm PT
I have hauled the Freeblast many times, and it is no big deal. I would do it again. So does/would Mike Schafer. In the big picture, it is less work.

HB
'Pass the Pitons' Pete

Big Wall climber
like Ontario, Canada, eh?
Topic Author's Reply - Jul 26, 2010 - 02:27pm PT
Wow - did knott know that Holly. Why do so many people say how terrible it is, and how they would NEVER EVER do it again?

Have you ever hauled it solo? Is it viable? Or would you end up Far End Hauling the whole way?
hollyclimber

Big Wall climber
Yosemite, CA
Jul 26, 2010 - 02:41pm PT
I haven't hauled it solo. It wouldn't be much worse I don't think. People probably say that because they don't know how to haul. I have watched people lately hauling up Heart - presumably the same people avoiding hauling the Freeblast. Average time per pitch to haul the day Lorna and I were climbing - over 1 hour. Average time it takes a party to haul Heart pitches who know how to haul 8 minutes? So, that is the real issue I would guess.

HB
Mark Hudon

Trad climber
Hood River, OR
Jul 26, 2010 - 02:59pm PT
8 minutes to haul a pitch up to Heart? Is that by the clock or an estimate? I'd like to see that!
Fat Dad

Trad climber
Los Angeles, CA
Jul 26, 2010 - 03:08pm PT
I've hauled on Freeblast (en route to the Shield). If that was the only way I could reach the upper part of the wall, I'd do it again, but if I didn't have to I definitely wouldn't. You'll live; just not much fun. Personally, I'd take Pete's advice and solo Freeblast and haul to Heart.
Prod

Trad climber
Jul 26, 2010 - 03:15pm PT
People probably say that because they don't know how to haul. I have watched people lately hauling up Heart - presumably the same people avoiding hauling the Freeblast. Average time per pitch to haul the day Lorna and I were climbing - over 1 hour. Average time it takes a party to haul Heart pitches who know how to haul 8 minutes? So, that is the real issue I would guess.

So then, what is your method Holly?

Prod.
Mighty Hiker

climber
Vancouver, B.C.
Jul 26, 2010 - 03:18pm PT
It's a route first done by Canadians, eh? So you like to have to say eh? a lot before, during, and after the route (pronounced "root", not "rout"), eh? And maybe practice some important words beforehand, such as roof, eh?
Pierre

Big Wall climber
Sweden
Jul 26, 2010 - 04:29pm PT
I have hauled the Freeblast, with partner - and solo, it is not bad! I would do it again for sure...

I like Magic Mushroom - a great route!
Tom

Big Wall climber
San Luis Obispo CA
Jul 26, 2010 - 07:40pm PT
PTPP forgot to mention that he and I diverted up Albatross for about four pitches. That was the section with the awkward dihedrals. Instead of doing the penji to the left on P16, we went straight up a bit before the top of that pinnacle.
The Warbler

climber
the edge of America
Jul 26, 2010 - 07:49pm PT
The Mushroom does have some tight corners with awkward nailing (it was pins when I did it) , but only two pitches, really only one and a half, seems to me. The two or three pitches below Chickenhead are good - steep and interesting. The start to Mammoth is nothing special, and a bit contrived with the pendulum around the corner above Moby Dick.

Peoples' doubts about the route might make it less popular, and a good choice for solo.


Melissa

Gym climber
berkeley, ca
Jul 26, 2010 - 08:02pm PT
You could do the lower Muir to the Shield instead of Freeblast. You can fix from the top of p6 w/ two ropes b/c of the lean of the route and the upslope of the ground. (It's a little disheartening, really.)

5-8 parties per day seemed typical on the Freeblast when I was around there earlier this summer. I would be stressed out if I was trying to toss my solo self and my haulbag into that line. That said, I would be stressed at the prospect of soloing the freeblast without a conga line or a haulbag.
Captain...or Skully

Big Wall climber
Transporter Room 2
Jul 27, 2010 - 01:26am PT
Mike seems to have grooved on it.
It's a Wall, man.....Make of it what you will.
oh yeah.
http://www.bigwalls.com/forum2/index.php?PHPSESSID=753206776327b2449eef7c8bb24fad83&topic=585.0
Karl Baba

Trad climber
Yosemite, Ca
Jul 27, 2010 - 02:16am PT
I've lead and hauled Freeblast in a day a couple of times. It's doable if you know how to haul.

Nice if you can avoid it though, so there's not too much risk of slowing down other parties.

Peace

Karl
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