How hard is the Diamond?

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LuckyJack

Trad climber
Novato, CA
Topic Author's Original Post - May 16, 2018 - 12:18am PT
So Iím headed out to Colorado in a few weeks, and assuming conditions are good, I would like to climb the Casual Route on The Diamond. From the mountainproject description it looks very moderate. Lots of pitches of 5.7 a few 5.8, a pitch of 5.9 a move of 10a. But itís reputation is much harder than that, ďpitch after pitch of hard 5.9Ē is what I hear. Can anyone compare it to Valley routes? Weíre talking harder than East Buttress of Middle but easier than EB of El Cap? Or MP is misleading and weíre talking more like NEB? Easier than Steck-Salathe though, right? Let me know in the comments! Thanks.
skywalker1

Trad climber
co
May 16, 2018 - 12:39am PT
The Diamond is different from YOS. its more face climbing around cracks and stemming. You use the cracks but you also use a lot of small flakes as crimps and such, gymnastic if you will. Not exactly sustained but it is steep.

The crux of the Diamond is stamina (12 miles hiking? round trip) and altitude and strategy. Bivy spots are good at Chasm Lake. Weather is always an issue, but there is always this window mid June for some reason where its just stable as all get out. Otherwise get off by 1:00. You can pretty much get outta there at any point on fixed "stuff". The standard raps are sorta hard to see, most are hanging (no ledge) but are there. Ask locals about the north face descent AND camels descent because this second descent while challenging will save you quite bit of hiking. Don't forget to grab a sharp rock or two on the way up to the North Chimney in the morning. ;-)

The Casual Route only has really one hard crux pitch above Yellow Wall Bivy. Oh stay a bit high on the 5.7 traverse.

Don't be shy about Pervertical. But bring two #4's.


Good Luck! Go on a weekday!!!!!!

S...
LuckyJack

Trad climber
Novato, CA
Topic Author's Reply - May 16, 2018 - 01:15am PT
Thanks, Iíll definitely be up there on a weekday, and be acclimatized, and be in hiking shape, itís just the hard climbing Iím afraid of, haha, I mean itís the casual route, how hard can it be, right?
Jaybro

Social climber
Wolf City, Wyoming
May 16, 2018 - 03:20am PT
Remember, the routes start at over 13,000í! That alone gives it an aspect not found in Yosemite. I always found that the long ď easyĒ pitches were more work that the ones with short distinct and much technically harder cruxes. You try to go faster and get winded in those rarified heights. Comparing the pitch difficulties to things of the same difficulties in the lowlands is misleading.

Itís like people who avoid routes like the exum ridge on the grand because the pitch rating is too low. Believe me, thatís the least of your worries!

That said all, allrounders should do something on this wall!
NeeBraun

Trad climber
80302
May 16, 2018 - 04:33am PT

hey there say, st00pid Americans... the Diamond has a Mohs hardness rating of 7.
Don Paul

Social climber
Denver CO
May 16, 2018 - 05:10am PT
It took me three tries to climb it. The first time, we bailed on the hike up there, in a white out with lightning raining down all around. That was my first experience with lightning storms in the mountains. The second time, bivied in the talus at chasm lake - there are excellent spots and you don't need a tent. At 6:00 AM it was snowing hard, and once again had to bail. The third time the weather was good, and the route was actually pretty casual, although it started snowing on the last pitch. I'm sure all those attempts were in late summer when the weather is best. Although bivying in the talus was a fun experience, it's a lot more work to carry camping gear up there, and most people these days do the route in a long day.
donini

Trad climber
Ouray, Colorado
May 16, 2018 - 05:48am PT
Diamonds are hard, they can cut glass...this diamond can kick your ass. Remember, the climbing starts off Broadway at 13,000 ft. The ratings are real and havenít been adjusted dowh for altitude. That said, the climbing is fantastic.
I agree with skywalker about Pervertical, itís a wonderful climb.The crux is thin hands but donít underestimate the wide crack on the next pitch.
Start early, it faces east and you get very early sun. Summer means good temperatures but afternoons often have thunderstorms....not a pleasant event at that altitude.
zardoz

Trad climber
Colorado Springs, CO
May 16, 2018 - 06:18am PT
I found the five pitches of the Casual Route we got in before it thundered and rained to be quite nice, albeit exhausting once we were on the 5.8 dihedral. We did it car to car in a day with a rappel from Chasm View at sunrise. I found it interesting that two parties did a pitch or two and then retreated in the good weather period. It was due to some of the climbers involved not being fully ready mentally, from what it looked like. One young guy's eyes were wide as saucers. The party way ahead had obviously done the route many times before, and they sailed on in excellent time.
JLP

Social climber
The internet
May 16, 2018 - 08:30am PT
Most like NEB, of your list, except possibly like doing it with a very heavy pack to simulate the altitude. Most who succeed in a way that their ascent didn't clog up the entire wall for everyone else - these guys are probably able to rather quickly dispatch 5.11- ish routes of similar length and style at lower altitudes with shorter approaches.

It's all moot, though - it's a pretty unusual year that thing opens up in early June. Usually mid-July, maybe a little earlier for those willing to deal with wet cracks. I can see this mountain from my window. Today - it's still winter up there. Kiener's, for example, would probably be 100% snow travel from Chasm Lake to the summit.
Gooney

Trad climber
Boulder, CO
May 16, 2018 - 08:51am PT
There are a couple of squeeze chimney sections that I found engaging, one after the traverse pitch and the other between the crux moves and Table Ledge. Those were pretty aerobic given the altitude.
LuckyJack

Trad climber
Novato, CA
Topic Author's Reply - May 16, 2018 - 08:54am PT
I said a few weeks, but itís actually the last week of June weíll be up there. Being at sea level though, I do forget how long the mountains hang onto winter. We may give it a pass this year for an objective we can tackle with more confidence.
ddriver

Trad climber
SLC, UT
May 16, 2018 - 09:30am PT
Pretty well captured above. The wall is steep and forbidding, and you don't get a good view necessarily of what the weather is doing. Don't overlook the potential north chimney approach difficulties. When I climbed the Casual we got off the traverse just as all hell broke loose, which was probably around noon. Try to hide from lightning and hail near the summit of Longs. Lots of lightning potential in the Front Range.

Coming from sea level to vertical rock at 13K+ is a challenge. I would recommend climbing something like Halletts, topping out at 12K, as a warm up a couple days in advance.
Minerals

Social climber
The Deli
May 16, 2018 - 12:31pm PT
hey there say, st00pid Americans... the Diamond has a Mohs hardness rating of 7.

Pot calling the kettle black? What a conundrum...

Quartz is 7. Diamond is 10, and corundum is 9. Corundum is aluminum oxide, Al2O3, and many times you will see the words ďaluminum oxideĒ on the back of sandpaper/abrasive material Ė it is corundum. Garnet is also used for sandpaper, etc.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mohs_scale_of_mineral_hardness
MGuzzy

Trad climber
Orangevale
May 16, 2018 - 12:58pm PT
Its a beautiful route.. everything on the Diamond is. But I've bailed more times than I got up. Due to weather, acclimation, partners, etc. The biggest difference from Yosemite is the climbing STARTS AT 12K. So acclimate well.
Also the times I was on it the weather systems come in from the West and the cliff faces East.. so you don't see them until they have blown over the top of the mountain, loop back around and are blowing up your pant legs. It was the first time I was ever snowed UP on. So watch the weather and get an early start.
spectreman

Trad climber
May 16, 2018 - 01:30pm PT
The Casual Route is great but can feel burly given the approach, N. Chimney, and the overall altitude of the Diamond.
If you want something a little easier then you should consider "The Barb" on The Spearhead. Shorter, but still long approach, and an absolutely amazing alpine cirque to hang out in. The Barb has one 5.10 pitch that is probably a little harder for one move than the Casual route but is, overall, a much easier day.
healyje

Trad climber
Portland, Oregon
May 16, 2018 - 03:57pm PT
You don't want to underestimate the effects of climbing at altitude when coming from sea level - they are significant. I remember my first month-long trip just up to Eldo from Southern Illinois was an ass-licking that didn't seem to stop for several weeks and I felt like I was just finally fully acclimatizing the day before I had to leave. And that was just Eldo, let alone just getting into town and heading directly up to 12k+ feet at the Diamond.
Don Paul

Social climber
Denver CO
May 16, 2018 - 04:23pm PT
Jack with all this beta you can't lose. I didn't intend to sandbag you, I forget I'm acclimatized from hiking at 10k all the time. Another option if you want to just go up there is "the Loft" - 4th class, but not something I would recommend to a non-climber. Click through the pix for the beta. I got lost after the Longs/Meeker saddle and need to get back up there to try again.
eeyonkee

Trad climber
Golden, CO
May 16, 2018 - 04:33pm PT
A Diamond day is like a triathalon performed starting at 12,000 feet or so. The three parts are roughly:

1. Hike to base from parking lot and scramble up to Broadway ledge: 3.5 to 4 hrs
2. Do climb: typically, 5 to 9 hrs, I suppose. Topping out in lightening storm is fairly typical
3. Hike back to car: 3 to 4 hrs

I mostly remember whining during events 1 and 3 (including the very end of 2).
Jaybro

Social climber
Wolf City, Wyoming
May 16, 2018 - 04:43pm PT
Donít sugar coat it, Grug.....
Oplopanax

Mountain climber
The Deep Woods
May 16, 2018 - 04:48pm PT
How much lightening happens in a lightening storm?
Are we talking a couple pounds or what?
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