2nd Free Ascent of Basketcase: a story

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Messages 141 - 159 of total 159 in this topic << First  |  < Previous  |  Show All  |  Next >  |  Last >>
cultureshock

Trad climber
Mountain View
Nov 16, 2013 - 12:34am PT
Photos make the heart grow fonder.

I've yet to try basketcase so some Milestone photos will have to do.

Looking up at the last 5 pitches of Milestone. From midway up P14
Looking up at the last 5 pitches of Milestone. From midway up P14
Credit: cultureshock

Crack Sniffing Dike on Milestone. Such a cool feature!!
Crack Sniffing Dike on Milestone. Such a cool feature!!
Credit: cultureshock

5.11D as in desperate. Ben climbing pitch 13 of Milestone on Basket Do...
5.11D as in desperate. Ben climbing pitch 13 of Milestone on Basket Dome
Credit: cultureshock

Enjoy,

Luke
RyanD

climber
Squamish
Nov 16, 2013 - 01:57am PT
Yesssssssssssssss
drljefe

climber
El Presidio San Augustin del Tucson
Nov 16, 2013 - 02:21am PT
Siiiiiiiiiiiiiick!!!!!!
The Warbler

climber
the edge of America
Nov 16, 2013 - 10:25am PT
Ya gotta be holdin' out on the !!d pitch photos
Peter Haan

Trad climber
Santa Cruz, CA
Topic Author's Reply - Nov 16, 2013 - 01:12pm PT
Definitely a tour de force, Milestone. Perhaps Kevin's coolest ever FA and to think he was practically a fossil by then. (grin).
SCseagoat

Trad climber
Santa Cruz
Nov 16, 2013 - 05:35pm PT
Great companion read with Salamanizer and Alexey's exploits!

Susan
The Warbler

climber
the edge of America
Nov 16, 2013 - 06:22pm PT
No longer practically a fossil I'm afraid, Peter, but turning to stone isn't all bad :)

Always wanted to return and photo a team on that route. Luke's clean and sharp photos are great to see, but there's a lot of pitches below that could make some more.

C'mon Luke, you gotta have a shot of that splitter arrow crack up there! I like the way the contrail of that jet is pointing to the top out in your first photo...

Peter Haan

Trad climber
Santa Cruz, CA
Topic Author's Reply - Nov 16, 2013 - 06:42pm PT
KW, is that first image of Cultureshock's showing the crack that runs to the gigantic dihedral edge?

The Warbler

climber
the edge of America
Nov 16, 2013 - 09:58pm PT
You're exactly right on the first shot, Peter.

The next two photos are taken at the belay at the start of the pitch below the pitch in the first shot, one looking down, or back across the dike, the other looking up to the traverse right to the hairline crack which leans and parallels the outside corner of the giant arch. 100 ft of mostly 1/4 to 3/8 inch splitter with a few fingertip sized openings - the only visible flaw in the dome, and desperately clean.

That arch is one of the biggest unclimbed corners in the Valley, I'd say
Peter Haan

Trad climber
Santa Cruz, CA
Topic Author's Reply - Nov 16, 2013 - 10:42pm PT
Thanks KW. Yeah, I agree: that dihedral is just massive and might well be the biggest unclimbed book in the whole region.

But back to your stellar route; the splitters right at the edge of that monster dihedral add so much to your route and route vision. What an adventure!
Salamanizer

Trad climber
The land of Fruits & Nuts!
Nov 18, 2013 - 08:46pm PT
Cultureshock, did you do the whole route in a day? How long did it take you. I'd like to get on this route sometime in the spring so a little first hand logistical beta would be nice.

A TR is an absolute must now that you've teased the congregation with photos.
Clint Cummins

Trad climber
SF Bay area, CA
Nov 18, 2013 - 09:56pm PT
Chad,
Judging from Luke's first photo, they rapped in from the top on a long static line,
and tried a couple of the crux pitches.
I don't think they tried the full route.
cultureshock

Trad climber
Mountain View
Nov 19, 2013 - 01:04pm PT
The always observant Clint has me figured out.

We dropped in from the top with about 300m of rope. We were just short of the crux pitch but climbed the top 7.

I can post a shot of the crux from above later on. It looked very similar to the 11d 13th pitch, but thinner and thankfully bolted. Both pitches are laser cut and leaning. You use the crack more for balance than anything else since it is so thin.

With the ropes in place it took very little time to do the top 6 pitches. I think less than an hour and a half. As Kevin has mentioned up thread there are a few spots of difficult slab. Mostly dime edging and smearing. The bolts are in the right spots and protect the difficulties. The hardest moves are on the 16th pitch which is almost a full 60 meters. The rest of the climbing is very quick 5.10.

I was able to do P14-P19 clean first try. P13 was a good amount harder for me and I had a few hangs. I think you need triples in the Green and Purple C3 range to lead it. It is a very very thin crack!

Once you have gotten past P13, the 11d "hangnail" pitch, you just have to trust your feet to get to the top. All the belays are bolted and have good stances. You could link link P17 and P18 with a 70m rope, but the drag would probably not be worth it. The very short 11- section on the last pitch was harder than I expected having just climbed five pitches in a row of slab.

I was impressed that the route was still very clean. There is a little dirt and grainy-ness, but for the most part buffed golden granite.

Having looked for routes on large domes my self I am amazed that Kevin and Sean found a way to link all the various cracks together. As Kevin mentioned up thread Milestone follows some of the only weakness in that part of the dome. There are no other cracks nearby at all! The position above the roof is both wild and very un-nerving.

Chad, if you end up wanting a partner I would be interested in going back. The route also bakes in the sun. We were super warm when we were on the route on 11/9/2013.

 Luke
The Warbler

climber
the edge of America
Nov 19, 2013 - 09:58pm PT
That area kinda grows on you, eh Luke?


I can post a shot of the crux from above later on. It looked very similar to the 11d 13th pitch, but thinner and thankfully bolted. Both pitches are laser cut and leaning. You use the crack more for balance than anything else since it is so thin.

The crux pitch is a bit steeper at the crux, but very similar to what you do on the 13th pitch for the bulk of it - the whole pitch is a lot longer than the 13th. Because the crack doesn't lean as much down there, you're able to toe the left edge more than on the Hangnail pitch, where you mostly smear your feet on the face. Man, was I happy to get to that belay hole at its end! Both those pitches are mind burners. And your toes and fingers get cooked along with your brain.

If you only had to hang a couple times on the Hangnail pitch, you're doing good. When I first saw it, I wasn't sure I could climb it. Thing's amazing - so straight and so clean...

I'm glad you're happy the crux is bolted - I expect to be slandered by some for doing it, but for a variety of reasons I think it's the best solution. I won't bother to explain again, as I've done so here before. The lead would effectively be a letter grade or two harder if you had to place all the gear, and probably half of what you put in would pull on a fall. Pins would work great, but that has its drawbacks.

With the ropes in place it took very little time to do the top 6 pitches. I think less than an hour and a half. As Kevin has mentioned up thread there are a few spots of difficult slab. Mostly dime edging and smearing. The bolts are in the right spots and protect the difficulties. The hardest moves are on the 16th pitch which is almost a full 60 meters. The rest of the climbing is very quick 5.10.


Doing those upper pitches after the whole lower route will be a bit harder, and slower. But now you know the beta, so you could probably do them fast or even with a headlamp if you had to. That 60m pitch might be a problem in bad light, but everything above that's reasonable.

There is a lot of tricky climbing to do to get up there.

You could link link P17 and P18 with a 70m rope, but the drag would probably not be worth it


Plus that flake belay with a view of your partner on the black steak is pretty sweet.

The very short 11- section on the last pitch was harder than I expected having just climbed five pitches in a row of slab.

I like how that last pitch ends up climbing over the steepest bulge in the vicinity and it's the easiest way to top out.

I was impressed that the route was still very clean.

We didn't really clean anything up there where you were.. A couple sections down below -the 5th and 6th pitches had some grassy crack sections, but only 10 - 15 ft worth.

The position above the roof is both wild and very un-nerving.


A photo of that last belay with a big lens from the slopes up the other side Tenaya Canyon would be cool. Rope blowing around out in space below the belayer...

If you haven't done it already, a hike up Tenaya with a pair of binos the scope the whole route is worthy.

Hope to see some pics someday!

Kevin
cultureshock

Trad climber
Mountain View
Nov 22, 2013 - 05:28pm PT
Kevin,

The area is pretty cool. These days I appreciate a longer hike and a touch of solitude. Also that face is super warm which is nice for this time of year. With the road closed it seems unlikely I'll get back out there this year.

Here are a few more shots of the route:



Looking down at the crux pitch.


Closeup of the crux pitch.


Ben starting off on the 5.11 slab pitch with some fun laybacking.


Looking up at the black streak on the 2nd to last pitch. Amazingly featured rock and tons of fun to climb.

 Luke
Salamanizer

Trad climber
The land of Fruits & Nuts!
Nov 23, 2013 - 12:22am PT
That route looks amazing. That kind of climbing is right up my alley, but that sure is a lot of hard climbing in a row that needs to all be done in a day. The number of climbers that could pull that one off in a day are probably pretty thin and far between. I'm not sure I'm one of those climbers. Maybe on the very lower end of the spectrum even if I were in tip-top condition.
Peter Haan

Trad climber
Santa Cruz, CA
Topic Author's Reply - Nov 23, 2013 - 01:59am PT
So Chad? Go up there and have a terrific experience, like we used to. You are very talented; make it happen. It's a warm wall, to say the least. If you get caught out, it can't be too bad. Accept the pressure and get on it! What a righteous route!
The Warbler

climber
the edge of America
Nov 23, 2013 - 10:53am PT
Thanks for posting those up, Luke, it's so squeaky clean up there...

Peter's right again, Chad

If you want to do the route in a day, here's my unsolicited input -

Hike out to the rim camp in the morning as soon as the road opens in May with enough gear for the climb and two or 3 nights out. That should only take 1 1/2 to 2 hrs. Drop your camping gear at the rim and descend with your climbing gear to the base of the route, maybe another hour if you follow my recommendations for the descent route. From the creek crossing to the route's start is a couple hundred feet - fill all the water bottles you think you'll need for the day on the climb when you cross it.

Cross the creek at the base at the biggest fir tree in the drainage, a little higher than you think you should. Failure to do this could result in a most hellish thrash in the bay tree jungle.

Scramble up the 3rd class to the very base of the route, then leave your water, and climbing gear - ropes flaked, gear laid out ready to go.

Hike back up to the rim - about an hour since you have no load, and you've learned the way to go on the descent. Enjoy the campsite for the rest of the afternoon, and go for an alpine start in the morning. Or chill for a day and rest up - there's water there, and it's a great hang. You could hike to the top of B Dome on your rest day and get that return hike to camp dialed, so it's easier if you top out in the dark the next day. With the slightly tricky descent fresh in your mind, and no load on your back, you should be able do the descent to the base in a half hour.

Climb fast.

If you can do the crux pitch, pitch 11, by around 3:00 or 4:00, you have a good chance of topping out before dark. Pitch 13 could take some time, especially if you are determined to do it clean. The climbing above that is all pretty quick and moderate, like Luke says, but for about 20 ft of super thin slab on pitch 16. As I've mentioned, the last 3 pitches are probably doable with a headlamp, especially if you time your effort just before full moon. A moonrise over Tenaya Peak would light that face up real good.

If you're moving slow, and you get stymied by the crux pitch, you could do a romantic Hahn/Drummond style spooning-man-bivy on the big ledge atop the 8th pitch, and carry on, climbing that is, in the morning, or...bail to the ground, and hike back up to your camp at dusk.

From the top of pitch 11, there is a very good, clean and quick rappel route, all with bomber bolted anchors. I believe you can rap the crux pitch and the short 10th pitch in one. You can rap pitches 7, 8 and 9 in one direct descent from the anchor at the top of the pitch 9 ramp to the arete belay atop pitch 6 . One rap for pitches 5 and 6, one for 3 and 4, and the last to the ground past pitches 1 and 2. They are all 60 meter rappels, and that's only 5, possibly 6, of 'em to the ground from the top of pitch 11. When we did them the ropes all pulled clean.

If you keep climbing past the crux pitch, rappelling is doable, but gets more complicated, sketchier, and more expensive, because the route leans harder up there, and the void is below. You'd have to probably lower the first guy, and he'd have to leave directionals to lower the second. You could have a pretty comfortable bivy in the holes at the end of the crux pitch - you can easily traverse from one to another. Pitch 16, 11d slab, could be tough in the dark, and the only way to aid it would be with a cheater stick for the bolts. That might not even work for the last section to the corners... If you rappel diagonally down the ramp and left, off route, from the belay ledge atop pitch 15, there's a nice bivy ledge to be had. Return to the route in the morning would be casual.





T H

Boulder climber
extraordinaire
Dec 21, 2013 - 01:16am PT
The (yet unclimbed) dihedral would be a real plum.
Credit: T H
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