Yosemite Valley - Chingando trip report


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Ed Hartouni

Trad climber
Livermore, CA
Topic Author's Original Post - Nov 30, 2006 - 02:27am PT
In the 1994 "Yosesmite Climbs" guide by Don Reid on page 74 the climb Chingando 5.10a has the notation "Part of the Hardman Offwidth Training Circuit." I have looked and this is the first edition in which that notation appears for the "topo" guides. Searching the rest of the book also reveals that the rest of the "training circuit" is unidentified. This is not good, as one's imagination can cook up a brutal circuit to train on... which is where we are right now.

"We" in this case consists mostly of Gary and me... with our friends thrown in on the occasional trip to the Valley. Last weekend, 11/25/06, we day tripped up to the Valley to do Chingando, with Steve and George. George has at least been to some offwidth sessions on Gary's excellent crack machine. Steve was coming off the couch, and as usual, was game for anything.

Roper's green guide has this to say:

I, 5.10. This difficult one-pitch climb was first led by Chuck Pratt in June 1965. Chingando is the 150-foot jamcrack on the outer face of the Iota. Hardware: 6 pitons, 1 1/2" to 3".

In his "Camp 4" he writes (on page 197) "Another developing trend in 1965 concerned difficult crack climbing. Pratt stood head and shoulders above anyone else in this department, establishing routes such as Entrance Exam, Chingando, Twilight Zone and the left side of the Slack. All these routes involved difficult, off-width jamcracks -- and all were either 5.9 or 5.10. It was Pratt's biggest year, with ten first ascents recorded."

Modern alterations to this route consist solely of the belay station about 115-feet above the commodious belay ledge under the crack, south facing, it gets sun all day if the skies are clear.

Gary and I had gone up there before, and not done as badly as we could have... we were pretty psyched to get to the top this time as we got to a high point and ran out of big gear at a place it wasn't going to be nice to try to run it to the top. On that occasion we scrambled around to the back of the formation, got to to the very top and rapped down to retrieve the gear.

This time I lead up through the alcove and set the first piece in the cruxy squeeze just above. I was up and down a couple of times then lowered out. Gary was heard to mumble "shit!" as it was his lead in the rotation.

Here is Gary in the initial hand jam section just off the deck with George belaying through my pieces above...

Here is Gary working through the crux section, now leading with much of the route shown

Up high the difficulty eases off, but so do the pro possibilities. When I'm doing a Pratt climb I often ask myself "what would Pratt do?" the answer is usually "heel toe, dummy!" Here is Gary running out the wide section heel-toeing like a demon going for the bolts.

George was next, he made it with some hangs on top rope, but learned a lot out in the "real world"

Of course, comfy belay ledges are always nice!
Gary luxuriates while Steve belays George.

Steve was next, here he gets a no-hands rest just above the initial hand/fist crack start. He's sitting on the top of a flake pretty comfortably

I top roped the route as did Gary, much fun! or at least just like fun only different...

It was a good day by the time everyone got their fill of this climb. Steve split and we three went down to Generator Crack and couldn't get the mojo going. We did meet katiebird and Jesse, they were very nice and let us use their rope. We didn't make a good show. Throughly thrashed, we headed home.
Russ Walling

Social climber
Out on the sand, Man.....
Nov 30, 2006 - 02:36am PT
Standing Strong

Boulder climber
in a phonebooth @ the corner of walk & don't walk
Nov 30, 2006 - 02:46am PT
very nice. and chingando! is a fun word to say :)

Nov 30, 2006 - 03:03am PT
oh baby,
love the wide stuff, nice work

do not forget the crack of doom and despair across yonder, let alone every damn one on the long routes.
Patrick Sawyer

Originally California now Ireland
Nov 30, 2006 - 07:40am PT
Chingando is one of my favorite OWs, and I don't have many favorite OWs.
Roger Breedlove

Cleveland Heights, Ohio
Nov 30, 2006 - 08:01am PT
Nice report, Ed. Imagine Pratt climbing Chingando before there was an off width circuit. I notice that everyone is wearing low tops. Doesn't that hurt? Or is everyone so dialed into heel/toe that their ankles don't touch the rock?


Ice climber
Nov 30, 2006 - 10:37am PT
Great pics. I have a lot of OW technique to learn. The note about the 'offwidth circuit' prompted me to do some googling, and this is what I found :
Gary Carpenter

SF Bay Area
Nov 30, 2006 - 10:45am PT

Both Ed and I wear high tops. I've got several pairs of Megas and Ed just got his Kaukulators resoled by Barry. High tops are nice in the off-widths but we still leave our share of DNA on the rock.

Ed Hartouni

Trad climber
Livermore, CA
Topic Author's Reply - Nov 30, 2006 - 11:05am PT
Roger - what I was thinking was Roper's gear selection, 'pro to 3",' which would mean that most of the route was unprotected. But this is exactly what you'd expect from a Pratt climb in the '60s, as the gear to protect the wide stuff didn't exist... even a 6" bong-bong wouldn't help in most of the crack, and the flakes are pretty flexible so driving a piton into a lot of the cracks would have been problematic.

As usual, it seems that Pratt had confidence in his ability and technique. Amazing.

For high tops I'm using my re-soled Kaukulators as Gary said... probably order a pair of Acopa JB's after the holidays. The Mega's look good too. Maybe when I get the technique dialed I can waltz up the stuff in slippers, but it's going to be a long while before that happens!

The "offwidth circuit" is an interesting concept. I wouldn't be surprised if it consisted of just one climb. But we'll be exploring the various, short, fierce OW's in the Valley this winter, and reporting here.

I didn't put a lot of pain and suffering in the report, but that seems cliche, the stuff of other reports... OW is just another technique, you have to sack it up and go. The mantra is provided by Pratt: "technique is my protection." And John Long's admonition: "NO THRASHING!"

We ran into Eric on the way out of the Valley (Happy Birthday Eric!) and he said "so, you guys are ready to do Reed's Left"... what can you say to that?

My Kaukulators at the base of Chingando

Fun-loving climber
the Gunks end of the country
Nov 30, 2006 - 11:11am PT
Maybe he meant after you took one look at it, you would know that 'to 3"' meant nothing smaller than 3 inches? :-)
Roger Breedlove

Cleveland Heights, Ohio
Nov 30, 2006 - 11:53am PT
Pratt seems to have been one of the first climbers who completely mastered opposing pressure. Chuck and I were good friends but we didn't really climb together. But I remember guys of his generation telling stories about him contorting his limbs and body, locking in on the least amount of energy to secure a hold--arm bar, heel/toe, mantel, sloper, and then move effortlessly around it. I don't think I have ever heard of a story of him falling--can that be true?

Of course everyone who came after him had a model, or at least his climbs that we would try. But it still is amazing when someone create something that refined out of thin air.

And Gary, my DNA is all over the Valley too--not in a good way, I might add.

Carolyn C

Trad climber
Santa Cruz
Nov 30, 2006 - 11:54am PT
Nice report and photos. Having followed many of the OWs in the Valley (a long time ago), behind a boyfriend who loved doing them, I can even say that I kinda like OWs, too, well, sort of, in a puking kind of way. Maybe they are more fun in memory than they were in reality.

Social climber
Land of Green Stretchy People
Nov 30, 2006 - 12:14pm PT
Hey Ed, send me the directions to get to Gary's excellent crack machine. I got permission to go out tonight!

August West

Trad climber
Where the wind blows strange
Nov 30, 2006 - 12:24pm PT
"Imagine Pratt climbing Chingando before there was an off width circuit. I notice that everyone is wearing low tops. Doesn't that hurt?"

Only if you don't tape your ankles.

San Diego
Nov 30, 2006 - 01:08pm PT

The Eye of the Snail
Nov 30, 2006 - 01:46pm PT
I find Chingando about four grades easier than, say, Generator. Not letter grades either. GRADES. Pro to 3", though...yikes.

(Hartouni told me to post on this thread.)

Trad climber
one pass away from the big ditch
Nov 30, 2006 - 02:43pm PT
can you toprope that thing? it looks long.
Ed Hartouni

Trad climber
Livermore, CA
Topic Author's Reply - Nov 30, 2006 - 02:49pm PT
70 m rope does the trick... just.
But you can also drop down from the top (down climb The Iota chimney and clip into the anchor).

But don't be a wuss, lead it! it's a crack!! you can get pro! ('cause you're lucky and live in the age of big stuff).

Monument Manor
Nov 30, 2006 - 03:46pm PT
Yeah Munge - don't be a wuss - lead it like Ed did!!
Bruce Morris

Social climber
Belmont, California
Nov 30, 2006 - 03:57pm PT
Didn't Choinard write an article c. 1973 (or maybe even before that) that listed a Valley OW circuit that included "Chingando"? Maybe it was in the old Summit mag? In any case, Choinard made it sound like 5.10 and OW were synonyms in the Valley.
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