2nd Free Ascent of Basketcase: a story

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WBraun

climber
Feb 22, 2009 - 09:52pm PT
Believe it or not Peter, I was going to onsight free solo Basket case one morning and Walt Shipley talked me out of it.

It was kinda hot day in the summer and Walt suggested we both free solo Steck Salathe instead, which we did.
The Warbler

climber
the edge of America
Feb 22, 2009 - 09:56pm PT
That's a lot of virgin Valley stone right there.

Two hours of casual hiking from the Tioga Road.

OK, maybe the last half hour's a little steep.




But the East Face of BD has some lines awaiting. And that other little slabby dome, well...

EDIT: and there's a crazy looking route on the face of the pillar between Basket Case and Straight Jacket.
Peter Haan

Trad climber
San Francisco, CA
Topic Author's Reply - Feb 22, 2009 - 10:00pm PT
Munge. This is an incredible photo. Thanks for reporting that xrez has got new stuff--I guess that is what you are saying. Anyway, it does not show the "Basketcase" route but instead and way better, a fabulous shot of Kevin Worrall's "Milestone" route on the east face. 5.12b VI (19 pitches). (See previous thread from The Warbler on this. I am guessing it is his best climb.

Let's soup it up so we can see the detail that Worrall was working with. HIs route begins far bottom left and ascents diagonally up right almost to the highest point. He did this a few years ago as a fossil too.


The Warbler

climber
the edge of America
Feb 22, 2009 - 10:20pm PT
Yes, Peter, that is a great perspective - one not many climbers see.

The first four pitches are cropped out of the frame. Milestone climbs into the frame up steep terrain and into the dark corners below the giant arch, until the left wall of the arch starts to overhang and turns orange and cream colored. Here, atop pitch 8 are some scrub oaks on a bivi ledge in the back of the giant corner, from there the route ascends a ramp which leads up and left to the arete of the arch. Then follows thin face climbing to a 300 ft splitter crack, with the crux 11th pitch. The arrow crack parallels the edge of the arch, getting closer and closer as you climb, ending on the brink of the roof near the arches end, right at the junction of shadow and sunlight on the arches lip. From there 5 pitches lead to the summit up the right margin of the shaft of sunlight which tapers to a point as it drops down the wall.

EDIT: Actually did the route just before I became fossilized, Peter. Having a kid just afterward seemed to be the catalyst that set off the hardening up of the old joints, hence the name Milestone.
Mungeclimber

Trad climber
sorry, just posting out loud.
Feb 22, 2009 - 10:27pm PT
Peter, zactly. Good freshening of the shadows.

Kewl unearthing of a fresh persective on this route. It's an incredible area when viewed in xrez. Kevin, I can see why you were drawn to it.

I just want to try that slab to the right. I think Kevin said there is a spring on top and good bivy site.

July sounds like a good time to go in.
The Warbler

climber
the edge of America
Feb 22, 2009 - 11:09pm PT
Munge,

The slab has some great dike lines on it, the angle is real consistent as the photo shows, and the rock is, of course, excellent.

The campsite above might be the nicest rim bivi site I've seen too, when the creek's running.
Mungeclimber

Trad climber
sorry, just posting out loud.
Feb 22, 2009 - 11:41pm PT
done and done then. checking maps for the approach from above now...

thx!



edit- lightened original in the hopes of less data loss.
Clint Cummins

Trad climber
SF Bay area, CA
Feb 23, 2009 - 01:55am PT
Here's a fairly low-res shot of Basket Dome and the slab to the right, from the original Xres:



Below are high-res images of Milestone from Xres:





The Warbler

climber
the edge of America
Feb 23, 2009 - 07:35am PT
Nice Clint!

I've wanted to get a shot of the route from that perspective since we did it. Your photos really show the line well, as was obviously your intention. Anyone interested in doing the route could use them along with the description I wrote, and have no problem staying on route. Doing it in a day would be challenging.

The route goes from low dead center to upper left in the lowest photo, leaving the bottom of the prominent right facing corner on a diagonal slash to the soft white arete on its right. Through the center of the photo it climbs the right facing corner/ramp with the clean jagged arete that ends at a pointed white top. Where the ramp ends, dark features lead up and right to a difficult Arches style slab section which ends at the roof at the top of the frame. From the right side of that roof, in bottom of the second photo, a weakness leads up and left on clean rock between the bushes into the white ramp. You climb that for a bit, and then exit right to a belay on stacked blocks below a vertical straight in crack leading toward the arete above. From that arete, the white hand traversing flake is well lit that leads right into the back of the huge shadowed corner.

The route is obvious in the upper part of the third photo, but lower in the frame you actually climb all the way up to the sunlit tree, then down a ramp, and up another ramp to a belay out on the arete. A short, hard traverse left gains a Wheat Thin style flake, not visible in the photo, that parallels the arete for the first forty feet. From a belay at the top of the flake, a tricky face traverse finally climbs to the crack and the crux of the route. Higher in the third photo the route is mostly obvious - the route leaves the crack and belays in the left most hole, as the cracks are not freeable where they pass through the bulge at the line of holes. The Crack Sniffin' Dike above then leads the climber back right to the diagonal crack above the horizontal line of holes. Where that crack appears to end, you traverse right to another parallel, invisible crack. The crack becomes so thin you can't really see it in the photo, but its a splitter 1/4 inch crack, laser straight for 80 feet, right on the softly shadowed arete that parallels the sharp arete of the corner below. 11d as in desperate (prolly 5.12).

In the fourth photo, the exposed belay where the crack disappears around the roof is obvious - from there a long pitch goes up to a belay at the far right end of the long diagonal ramp that cuts through the frame. You can see the Scott - Child route to the left - it climbs the small corner/ramp to the left of the big ramp, the face to the big tree, and up the obvious flake above the tree. Milestone stays toward the right side of that fourth photo, entering a zig zagging left facing corner. In the top photo, you see the end of the flake system at the bottom, and then the Tuolumne style black streak finish dead center. The cracks that continue up and right look fun, but a direct exit is in order at that point.

The bivi site is visible at the very top of your low res photo in the open, flat terrain above the smaller dome. From the bivi, descend to the east behind the smaller dome, then follow its base back to the west. The gully below the east wall of Basket Dome is kinda sketchy.

Thanks for posting those Clint!

KW
MisterE

Trad climber
One Place or Another
Feb 23, 2009 - 08:33am PT
My Gawd, I bet the position towards the top of the arch (geting closer to the edge) is breath-taking
Peter Haan

Trad climber
San Francisco, CA
Topic Author's Reply - Feb 23, 2009 - 09:13am PT
Here is a link to a 2 mb file I created out of merging Clint's five Xrez photos. You can zoom it way up and retain resolution:

files.me.com/peterhaan/tc4il8

and meanwhile, this is what the merge looks like from Photobucket which won't let me post such a giant HR image:


MH2

climber
Feb 23, 2009 - 09:17am PT
Something about Peter's writing makes me think of getting past fear beyond the climbing type.

Does anyone have a picture of Ed Ward(was -Drummond)? We saw a guy once who stood apart. For reasons I don't understand, other than he wasn't local, my brain made the unlikely guess that he was Ed Ward.

As Mighty Hiker mentioned, it would be interesting to hear the story in the inventive prose of PH's partner.
noshoesnoshirt

climber
dangling off a wind turbine in a town near you
Feb 23, 2009 - 10:40am PT
Holy crap I feel like an unmotivated slug.

Thanks for the great posts, mebbe today I'll go to that new stone on the river I've been meaning to check out.
Mungeclimber

Trad climber
sorry, just posting out loud.
Feb 23, 2009 - 11:13am PT
no doubt

thx Clint and Peter for the motivational merging of the images.

What a bitchen line.

I hate to even ask, because if I have to even ask...

What's the rating on Milestone?
The Warbler

climber
the edge of America
Feb 23, 2009 - 11:48am PT
The photos do really show what a cool line it is - intricate and subtle, yet pretty direct overall. Starts at the lowest point of the Dome, and winds its way through lots of wild terrain, ending near the summit. The lower quarter of the route is really good, clean and hard climbing, despite the chaotic structure and brushy ledges. The second quarter is steep, hard crack climbing. The third quarter holds the crux pitches in that amazing thin crack system, and the top quarter is just fun, low angle flake and slab climbing, except for a desperate (11d) thin face section on the 16th pitch.

19 pitches - 14 are 5.11, one short 5.8 pitch, one 5.12b (the 11th), the rest are 5.10.

3 pitches are all bolt protected, 7 all gear protected, the rest mixed bolts and gear.

90 bolts total, all stainless, 15 two bolt belays, 2 three bolt belays, the rest are protection bolts.

Its a pretty incredible and intense climb - even with a bivi atop pitch 8, and prior knowledge of all the pitches, the second day was long for us semi-fossilized guys. A retreat from high would be tricky, but pretty basic from the top of the 11th or 12th. The last three pitches could conceivably be done free with headlamps.

Some day a team will do it in a day - that would be the ultimate style of ascent.

EDIT: just noticed the merge Peter posted above isn't lined up correctly between the top photo and the one under it - the top photo should be shifted east a ways.
Clint Cummins

Trad climber
SF Bay area, CA
Feb 23, 2009 - 01:30pm PT
Here's my attempt to draw lines to match Kevin's descriptions of Milestone:


In the top photo, you see the end of the flake system at the bottom, and then the Tuolumne style black streak finish dead center. The cracks that continue up and right look fun, but a direct exit is in order at that point.


In the fourth photo, the exposed belay where the crack disappears around the roof is obvious - from there a long pitch goes up to a belay at the far right end of the long diagonal ramp that cuts through the frame. You can see the Scott - Child route to the left - it climbs the small corner/ramp to the left of the big ramp, the face to the big tree, and up the obvious flake above the tree. Milestone stays toward the right side of that fourth photo, entering a zig zagging left facing corner.


The route is obvious in the upper part of the third photo, but lower in the frame you actually climb all the way up to the sunlit tree, then down a ramp, and up another ramp to a belay out on the arete. A short, hard traverse left gains a Wheat Thin style flake, not visible in the photo, that parallels the arete for the first forty feet. From a belay at the top of the flake, a tricky face traverse finally climbs to the crack and the crux of the route. Higher in the third photo the route is mostly obvious - the route leaves the crack and belays in the left most hole, as the cracks are not freeable where they pass through the bulge at the line of holes. The Crack Sniffin' Dike above then leads the climber back right to the diagonal crack above the horizontal line of holes. Where that crack appears to end, you traverse right to another parallel, invisible crack. The crack becomes so thin you can't really see it in the photo, but its a splitter 1/4 inch crack, laser straight for 80 feet, right on the softly shadowed arete that parallels the sharp arete of the corner below. 11d as in desperate (prolly 5.12).


From the right side of that roof, in bottom of the second photo, a weakness leads up and left on clean rock between the bushes into the white ramp. You climb that for a bit, and then exit right to a belay on stacked blocks below a vertical straight in crack leading toward the arete above. From that arete, the white hand traversing flake is well lit that leads right into the back of the huge shadowed corner.


The route goes from low dead center to upper left in the lowest photo, leaving the bottom of the prominent right facing corner on a diagonal slash to the soft white arete on its right. Through the center of the photo it climbs the right facing corner/ramp with the clean jagged arete that ends at a pointed white top. Where the ramp ends, dark features lead up and right to a difficult Arches style slab section which ends at the roof at the top of the frame.
Mungeclimber

Trad climber
sorry, just posting out loud.
Feb 23, 2009 - 02:45pm PT
How long did it take to put it in? 19 pitches never comes easy, but face it often harder due to belays, etc.
The Warbler

climber
the edge of America
Feb 23, 2009 - 02:58pm PT
Nearly perfect, Clint.

The first pitch is just right of the obvious corner, on the face, which is actually a soft arete with faint diagonal slashes all the way up it parallel to the line you drew.

All good up to the hand traverse at the arete above the white ramp. There the route follows a shaded left facing corner above the second sunlit bump on the white flake. Above that its slightly left of your line, in the very back of the shaded corner to the tree. There's a fine steep splitter crack lurking in there. From the tree, the crack you use to downclimb the ramp is right up against the overhanging wall of the big corner, to the left again of your line.

The traverse to the cracks, the dike, and to the lip off the roof is exactly right, but the pitch off the belay at the lip climbs up and left off the belay on 5.11 face, left of your line, then under a left facing short dihedral/roof, up a white corner, and then back right to the end off the big diagonal slash. You saw the tiny left facing flake that you lieback off that belay to get over the bulge above the slash. Instead of continuing straight up above that into the zig zagging left facing corner, the route climbs up and left in those scallops toward a grey circular spot, touches the base of a left facing, left leaning corner, and directly up the blank, as in blankety blank, face into the zig zag.

From there it's exactly right.

The Scott/Child is right too.

There you go, fine route finding job in cyberspace, now somebody's gotta climb it!
The Warbler

climber
the edge of America
Feb 23, 2009 - 03:19pm PT
Munge,

It was a LOT of time and effort, not the best style, but we did the best we could. I was psyched to do the route finally in two days with no fixed ropes and no falls, after 3 trips to the Valley and 8 or 10 days on the rock putting the route together. We tried to do a ground up ascent, but ... It's a long story.

Clint has an outline of the sequence of events on his long hard Yosemite freeclimbs site, I believe it is.
Russ Walling

Social climber
Upper Fupa, North Dakota
Feb 23, 2009 - 03:21pm PT

Werner says: I was going to onsight free solo Basket case one morning and Walt Shipley talked me out of it.

Usually when someone like Walt says it is a "bad idea" ........ well....... you get the idea.
Messages 61 - 80 of total 159 in this topic << First  |  < Previous  |  Show All  |  Next >  |  Last >>
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