Lost Arrow Chimney (TR)

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Salamanizer

Trad climber
Vacaville Ca,
Topic Author's Original Post - May 13, 2008 - 01:09am PT


So, last weekend my partner and I decided we should do the LA chimney to get it out of the way while some friends of ours walked up the falls trail to set up the tyrolean.

We set out early at 7:30 up the approach with harnesses on, 24oz of water, rope on our back and a rack that consisted of 11 cams (one each, black-red alien... purple - #3 C4 and one #5 for the LA tip) a set of nuts and 10 slings.

The approach was a pain in the ass, at least more so than I expected. We soloed up the Sunny Side Bench regular route and quckly found ourselves traversing right across a wet slab. We ended up having to rope up to pass a short section of steep rotten rock to easier ground above, wasting at least 20min. Eventually we were back on a trail which was more of a bush wack that lead us through a very steep loose sandy forrest of oaks. I don't know if we were ever on the right trail or even if one exists. I'd like to think there's a better way as I have more routes up there on the list, but I'm sure as sh#t we didn't find it.

Finally we found the base which is pretty obvious. It appeared you could start the route several different ways all of which are 3rd to easy 4th class. After climbing up a rope length of this, we decided it would be better to simul climb until the climbing got harder. We ended up linking the first two pitches and belaying just below the first 5.9 roof which was more like 5.7+ (looked harder from below). We switched leaders and linked the next two pitches which was the short roof pitch (pitch 3 in the falcon guide) and the safety valve pitch. Two pretty easy pitches IMO and we began to think this route was going to be a cake walk.


Mike leading the roof pitch before heading into the safety valve pitch above.


Gurunting up through the Safety Valve.


View of the falls from my belay perch above the safety valve.


Next it was onto our 3rd pitch (falcon guides 5th pitch) which was supposed to be a chimney. It was more of a ramp, so I kept going into the next pitch which was a fun finger lieback on the side of the chimney with a little stem across and onto the face where you're supposed to pass a couple bolts and back into the chimney. There were no bolts, but there was a piton. After making the most awkward move in climbing history to gain access back into the chimney, (picture your right foot in a small corner, your right hand on a knob and leaning over a chimney trying to reach the other side of the wall more than 4ft away. Then just letting go of the knob and falling into the wall bridging the large gap with your body. Now turn and lunge for that suspect chockstone [which rolls a bit] and pulling yourself back into the main part of the chimney) then up a nice easy chockstone chimney to a comfortable belay. The Faclon guide is way off on the topo here, so don't even bother trying to follow it. You don't traverse much out on the face at all. As soon as you start to climb away from the chimney, look for that pin and get back in there.

Falcon Guide pitch 7... our pitch 4.


Trash found along the way...tisk, tisk.


Typical gear found along the way, way bomber.






Next up was the .10 rotten scary chimney. This pitch starts up some decent rock with good pro and ends up in a gravel filled chimney with no pro. Luckly you have these square (almost good) moss covered pin scars to help you along the way. Eventually you come across the pro for the pitch in the form of two close by 1/4in leepers which you happily clip as you pass by and onto another 20 or so feet of rotten chimneying until you come across a lovely flake that brings you to the anchors which is a bolt, pin and plenty of good pro to go around.

Mike following the .10 rotten chimney pitch. Nice looking flake up top huh?



Now I have to explain. Somehow, my partner Mike always gets the good pitches and I get the run out loose scary crap. After leading the choss chimney, I look up and realize this route is no exception. Above me is one of the longest most striking chimneys I've seen. 180+ ft of tight, steep, clean squeeze chimney. Realizeing we only have pro to 3" and one #5 C4 which is all but useless, I snicker a bit but underneath I'm really jealous. He sets off and spends the next ten minutes struggleing up ten feet where he places the tipped out #5. After about 20ft (and 1/2 hour) he seems to be on easier ground and leaves the #5 behind gunning it for a fixed pin about 15ft ahead. Turns out the pin is mank, oh well. Onward he pushes hoping to find some pro of any kind along the way. No such luck. After about 25ft of despirate groveling, some pro finally appears as does another long section of tight chimney. In another show of bravery he runs it out struggleing for every inch and finally makes it to some good cracks with good pro and quickly climbs to the anchor.

Finally it's my turn to climb and I find the chimney to be a good size for me. I can get a decent heal toe and arm bar. None the less, I thought the pitch is without a doubt the crux and would compare it to climbing the first half of Ahab followed by the left side of the Slack. Physical.

Mike heading into the run out section above the mank pin in a proud onsight of LA Chimney.



Next up I chose to climb the finger crack to the right rather than suffer the harding hole. Turned out to be a fun little crack with a cool roof move and up thin fingers to the notch. After I belayed Mike up we gorged on gummy worms while we waited for contact from are friends who walked up the trail.

The plan was for our friends to drop us fixed ropes so we could climb the spire and set up the tyrolean. However a large guided group of about 25 had two lines already fixed and was ferrying people back and forth with about 15 people on the spire. F*#k that, we jugged the fixed ropes drank our selebratory beers and were out of there by 2:00. Total time on the route 4.5 hours give or take and 7 pitches. No record, but faster than I thought it would take. All in all, I thought the route was good and not as scary as all the hype. More physical than I thought though.

I highly reccomend it.


scooter

climber
fist clamp
May 13, 2008 - 01:41am PT
Nice job, on a good route. My pard and I took about 12 hrs car to car. I took a fall on the weird pitch I don't really know why though. I was just in the air for a second then on a green alien. I didn't even feel myself slip. We also climbed out of the notch which added some more climbing.

P-Dub
Clint Cummins

Trad climber
SF Bay area, CA
May 13, 2008 - 01:44am PT
Really nice report - thanks for sharing!
Ed Hartouni

Trad climber
Livermore, CA
May 13, 2008 - 04:51am PT
thanks for a great report... one on the list for a long time!
Walleye

climber
Under the dwarf maples near The Same Mansion
May 13, 2008 - 05:48am PT
Nice report on the gnarly gruntfest. Great photo of the Upper Falls too!
Prod

Social climber
Charlevoix, MI
May 13, 2008 - 06:18am PT
Great report.

And you were not on the trail. As with most trails it is easiest to find on the way down. I know this because last year me and my girlfriend bailed on LA Direct. We suffered on the way up and found a great trail on the way down. From the top of Sunny Bank Direct head left almost all the way to the falls then work your way up toward the spire and work back toward the falls. We ended up roping up on the way up, and found that it was totally not necessary on the way down.

Cheers,

Prod.
Zander

Trad climber
Berkeley
May 13, 2008 - 06:59am PT
Thanks for the report,
I'd say your time was pretty fast.
That route looks so cool.
Zander
Raydog

Trad climber
Boulder Colorado
May 13, 2008 - 07:07am PT
wow - great report, thanks!
Cool as hell seeing those pics.
Two thumbs up.
TKingsbury

Trad climber
MT
May 13, 2008 - 07:53am PT
Looks really cool...Thanks for posting up!
Willoughby

Social climber
Truckee, CA
May 13, 2008 - 08:42am PT
Nice!!!

Say, what do you do with your camera in a squeeze chimney?
nutjob

Stoked OW climber
San Jose, CA
May 13, 2008 - 08:47am PT
Wonderful report, and one I'll refer back to when I become studly enough for my own attempt.
Jeremy

Social climber
Hanging with your mom...
May 13, 2008 - 08:54am PT
Sweet!

Thanks for posting up!

J
scuffy b

climber
watching the flytrap
May 13, 2008 - 09:12am PT
Cool. Good adventure, nice report. Photographs of that climb
seem to be very scarce.
Thanks.
Salamanizer

Trad climber
Vacaville Ca,
Topic Author's Reply - May 13, 2008 - 05:42pm PT
Say, what do you do with your camera in a squeeze chimney?

Buy a really small camera, pre wrap it in napkins from the lodge and stow it in your hip pocket and pray for the best.

Judging by the two or three broken cameras (and radios) I passed on the route, a little luck may be involved as well.
caughtinside

Social climber
Davis, CA
May 13, 2008 - 07:00pm PT
Kick ass Chad!!
le_bruce

climber
Oakland: what's not to love?
May 13, 2008 - 08:29pm PT
10/10 TR, thanks.

For reference, what was your time on NEB HCR, if you've done that? How about Steck-Salathe?

How would you compare these climbs to LA Direct?

Love the pic of the flake atop the rotten chimney.
Mr_T

Trad climber
Somewhere, CA
May 13, 2008 - 11:18pm PT
I tried this route about 7 years ago - we got confused on what the Reed's Guide calls pitch 6 - then bailed. Hoping to go back sooner or later on a day when it's not 95 degrees out.

On P6 (your 4th) I think you describe climbing up from the belay, laybacking on the left wall side of the chim, eventually stemming across to the right side, then making the weirdest move in climbing history to cut back towards the center of the chim. Is that right?

On our attempt on P6 I lead up a crack on the left wall, up to a big chock stone, then faced climbed on the right side (I vaguely recall a pin here), but I went way too high up the right side. The main chimney was a good 30 feet to my left when I tried to cut back. I went higher, walked out onto the Second Error ledge, down climbed, I saw what looked like a pin further up (looked like a pin), but the climbing and pro looked insane. Does any of this ring a bell?

Thanks, great photos you got there.
Jaybro

Social climber
The West
May 14, 2008 - 05:31am PT
Very Nice.
Salamanizer

Trad climber
Vacaville Ca,
Topic Author's Reply - May 14, 2008 - 08:13am PT
On our attempt on P6 I lead up a crack on the left wall, up to a big chock stone, then faced climbed on the right side (I vaguely recall a pin here), but I went way too high up the right side. The main chimney was a good 30 feet to my left when I tried to cut back. I went higher, walked out onto the Second Error ledge, down climbed, I saw what looked like a pin further up (looked like a pin), but the climbing and pro looked insane. Does any of this ring a bell?

Yeah, that's right. When you start climbing up on the right away from the chimney, the route naturally pulls you farther and farther away from the chimney. I started to do this too. There's even an off route pin up there about 15ft which tricked me into going for it. After realizeing the traverse up higher in improbable, I downclimbed to the closest spot it looked like you could cross (where the chimney pinches tight then opens back up)the pin was hidden from view tucked behind a flake. Didn't see it until you start to step across. Don't know why the book shows two bolts. No sigh of chopped bolts and they're not needed anyway.
F10 Climber F11 Drinker

Trad climber
medicated and flat on my back
May 14, 2008 - 08:19am PT

Thanks for the TR with some nice pic's

I am sure eeyonkee will enjoy the photo's also,
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