Stoking the Grovel-Lust, a TR


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Ed Hartouni

Trad climber
Livermore, CA
Topic Author's Original Post - Dec 31, 2006 - 12:14am PT
Stoking the grovel-lust,
our last day of the year climb in the Valley...

Well, Gary thought today would be the best of the weekend + Monday, so we were out in the Valley trying to catch a good time. First thought was just do a quick lap on Nutcracker then get down to the business of offwidths... but a walk out to Manure Pile revealed cold and wet rock. We did scope out The Gardner Did It as scuffy b had mentioned it at a Thrash Thursday sesh. TGDI looks hideously runout in the lower section, and you just have a feeling that the bolt way up above is a 1/4" button head with a vintage Leeper hanger on it.

Anyway, that little jaunt took the motivation for the day right out of the sails. Gary suggests that we go on up to Reeds Pinnacle and if nothing else, scope out a "new" area to climb in, the Goldrush area... of course, my electric pink list of 5.10a offwidths from the Yellow Meyers' guide has the climb Nothing Special, which for some reason has been renamed Mongolian Clusterf*#k, FA Jim Donini et al. 1972.

We are the first and only car at the Reeds pullout, we get our stuff and walk the road to the west tunnel, then hop the wall and descend a soggy wet hill of gravel and loose rock. Down and down, first coming to Goldrush which does look spectacular, but not in our sights today... then down the "200 feet" to find Hand Job which also looks good finally descending to the area of our objective.

Well, not quite, as we overshoot and end up on the other side of the toe of this particular buttress. Back down we find William's Climb which doesn't look that hard for 5.10c (more on this later), Mongolian Clusterf*#k, Siberian Swarm Screw 5.10a which looks great but is drippy wet and especially at the crux, and the climb Gang Bang 5.10a.

The climbs in this area are short and the sun is out, filtered through the shade of the oaks and pines. It's a nice day with no wind and the mojo is starting to run...

I start out on Mongolian Clusterf*#k, it is really big, and the first few moves are steep and awkward, I am getting pro in, a #3 and then a #4, moving up above my fist jam and "whoa" out I come. Gary is surprised 'cause he has never held me in an unexpected fall before (usually I warn him first). This is really steep and awkward above, and I'm not into it right away. I down climb and ask Gary if he wants to lead this (a strategy that Gary has figured out by now), nope...

OK, let's go do the first pitch of Gang Bang. Again, steep and awkward, but really hands, or at least the left hand and the left foot in the crack, the right hand gastons on features and the right foot stabilizes the moves up. I'm not doing bad, but not great either, and end up hang-dogging to the belay tree, which has an ancient faded sling on it. I put two slings on and some 'biners and have Gary lower me... we do two laps on this each, fun day even if there are scary looking blocks in the crack, they didn't move when tested...

The next thought is to climb William's Climb and then top rope Mongolian Clusterf*#k and Siberian Swam Screw... but the first moves are mossy, and not only that, a slip getting to the first bolt will send you off on a rather nasty fall, since we are approaching the bolt up hill on the left, and the fall line is to our right, and even further down hill. The rock is also slick granite, the moss is cute green and fluffy, and there is a gravelly finish to most of the rock here, not really very worn by climbers.

I try but it is not that happy a moment, stepping up and sliming off, the bolt is also high above the stance, it would be a full out reach. As you can see, I have a lot of good excuses not to do this climb. I get down, untie and start to wander up to the left, I find a passage, a little scramble with a tunnel through (cool!) and then we're on top of the ledge.

Anchor off a stout oak tree, lower down and fire William's Climb which has an odd combination of bolts on it, including some with button heads and old Leeper hangers, but also some with SS Metolious hangers... the climb would have been a pants filler as a lead, edges kept pulling off, the ever present moss, moving to big knobs which eventually get large enough to double for pro too... but I didn't weight the rope... nice moving without falling... and a hell of a lot more difficult than looking at it from the ground!

I lower Gary, he climbs, then I lower him over the top of M CF. After a mixup he is on the climb, classic offwidth, fists, stacks, knees, heel-toe... a great 100' of climbing. Protection would be interesting, as cams will work low, even perhaps through the crux, but the second half of the climb would have to use creative BigBro placements... or run it out (as it is easier).

My turn, I go down and have a good time, but not as good as Gary.

By now the sun is going down, so we decide to pack it in... I'll descend to the road next to the Merced River to see if walking in from 140 is better, Gary goes up to get the car. I come out just 100' west of Generator Crack having negotiated a dry stream bed all the way down. Probably about as far as going up.

The ancient slings we found indicate that the Goldrush Area doesn't see many visits... anyone have any recollections?

Dec 31, 2006 - 12:26am PT
Good god?

You guys went there? The good climbing right now is down in the lower Merced canyon. Gold Rush sees ascents every now and then. Where are you posting from right now? At the Lodge?
Ed Hartouni

Trad climber
Livermore, CA
Topic Author's Reply - Dec 31, 2006 - 12:30am PT
Werner, we are already back home... days end early this time of year!

Yes, one thought was to go down to the Cookie and do some stuff... but it seemed that there might be a bigger crowd. And we didn't really want to thrash around on something with a lot of people around.

Since we'd never been to Goldrush we thought we'd see what it was all about...

Dec 31, 2006 - 12:42am PT
Yeah, you're probably right. The cookie probably would have been crowded today. It was beginning to get that way yesterday. I've been climbing there and Arch rock all week now.

But today I went to Fresno to buy a new hard drive.

Gold Rush is hard and burly .......
Mighty Hiker

Social climber
Vancouver, B.C.
Dec 31, 2006 - 12:44am PT
Thanks, Ed! Pictures?
Ed Hartouni

Trad climber
Livermore, CA
Topic Author's Reply - Dec 31, 2006 - 12:53am PT
pictures later...

Social climber
The West
Dec 31, 2006 - 02:02am PT

Never climbed mongolian, liked siberian, Goldrush is absolutely horrendous.

nice report, all this wide climbing could be good training for something...

I almost got a v-3 today slapped the top but fell, hardly coughed, though. i'm jealous.

Dec 31, 2006 - 12:51pm PT
Ed, sounds like a 'good' day out. Hey, I sent you some 'resolutions' via e-mail. 'Some good grovelling stuff for your thoughts!

Trad climber
SF, aka: Dirkastan
Dec 31, 2006 - 05:32pm PT
Sweet TR Ed, it's been far to long. Let's do something when the snow is gone. Photos?

Trad climber
Golden, CO
Jan 2, 2007 - 01:15pm PT
I was wondering about how often Gold Rush gets done these days. And it hasn't been mentioned in the other offwidth threads about the Valley. I remember doing it back in the day with George Manson and vaguely recall that it was pretty hard.

Social climber
Land of Green Stretchy People
Jan 2, 2007 - 01:34pm PT
Nice TR Ed. I made it up to Sugarloaf on Saturday and had some fun. Beautiful day, dry rock, not too crowded. I'm about ready for another thrash thursday!

Ed Hartouni

Trad climber
Livermore, CA
Topic Author's Reply - Jan 9, 2007 - 02:49am PT
OK, so last weekend we went out, Gary Carpenter, me and Jaybro... you saw Jaybro's picture of the bus chain operation... on the multi-dimensional thread...

Here is Gary going up Gang Bang 5.10a, powerful left hand to a wide, loose corner, step left and go to the tree:

At the top of William's Climb 5.10c, this route was allegedly put up in 1989 by the "Anderson family and Rob Kroeckel" but the bolts look like they are in the mank zone... here are the two at the top of the route, with a nice American triangle rigged sling, bleached white. How long does that take?

Has anyone done 5.8 Chimney FA Matt Donohoe, 1970, which looks like the first climb in the Goldrush Area?! Is this it? Looks killer!

Here is Gary leading the first part of Hand Job 5.10a, great heel-toe action going on. There is a great exit to a short thin hands/fingers crack, to a ledge with a walkoff. Another powerful climb, you can't see them, but Gary's wearing his knee pads under his pants because the pads cost more than the pants did!

Here is Jaybro firing the first moves of Mongolian Clusterf*#k 5.10a, and he's loaded for bear! Even with that rack, there is a 40' runout from just above the crux to just underneath the final ledge. While it's all straight forward heel-toe action, if you decide you're going to fall you'll eat mulch.

Jaybro working into the alcove:

and getting through the crux:

And Gary moving above the crux:

It was bloody cold, Jay was coughing like a demon, I was still sick from my cold... whine, whine, whine,

still, it is always a good day if you are climbing, and even better in the Valley.

Social climber
The West
Jan 9, 2007 - 06:36am PT
The bus chain incident, redux;

Gary on Handjob shortly before launching his left foothold

onto Ed's foot

Good thing those units don't bite!

Ed high on handjob in the grueling California winter conditions.

"Jay was coughing like a demon,"
I thought I was over the mysterious coughing disease / Climbing pneumonia, wrong again. The worst part was the hike out; those guys waited for me at the car longer than it took them to get there, as I wheezed my way back up the hill. It pays to have patient partners.
scuffy b

The town that Nature forgot to hate
Jan 9, 2007 - 06:07pm PT
A great tag-team report. Sounds like a couple fun weekends.
Makes me drool.
The reference to The Gardener Did It in the initial post, though,
requires clarification. I never recommended this climb. I don't
even know where it is. How anyone could associate me with
runouts is a mystery to me.

Uncategorizable climber
New York
Jan 9, 2007 - 06:22pm PT
Are those RI plates on the van?
Ed Hartouni

Trad climber
Livermore, CA
Topic Author's Reply - Jan 9, 2007 - 07:07pm PT
don't worry scuffy b I think you just alerted me to looking more carefully at the area... we didn't take it as a recommendation, but we did scope it out much more carefully.

Aya - those are CA state plates, the Yosemite Valley plates... Rhode Island, do people actually live there? it doesn't seem big enough.

Uncategorizable climber
New York
Jan 9, 2007 - 08:02pm PT
That makes far more sense. I lived in Rhode Island for four years!
Russ Walling

Social climber
Out on the sand.... man.....
Jul 14, 2007 - 05:15pm PT
A bump for Phat-ness™™™™ on the front page.
Captain...or Skully

Social climber
Where are YOU from?
Dec 8, 2008 - 09:25pm PT
Back to the front page with you!

I've climbed that 5.8, Ed....Great fun!
The others there are less fun, unless you're an afficiando of 'The Wide'.....Then it's Hog Heaven!
Lynne Leichtfuss

Social climber
valley center, ca
Dec 8, 2008 - 11:33pm PT
Great Thread as per Usual ! Made notes to post but the only note I see now is Sake...know it's not for this thread. Smiles, jokin' and lol, Lynne
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