chouinard-herbert

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nate

Trad climber
virginia
Topic Author's Original Post - May 10, 2005 - 10:25am PT
anyone got a topo for this route or comments on it. I am pretty solid on 11 in the valley. Onsight or a couple hangs-- what would the time estimate be.
Nanook

climber
May 10, 2005 - 04:49pm PT
Much easier outing than the Steck-Salathe....but still plan on all day. Most of the climbing is low 5.10 or easier and there are many fixed angles in the harder parts. Three star route.
Jay

Trad climber
Fort Mill, SC
May 10, 2005 - 05:18pm PT
the crux is the approach and descent.
Jaybro

Social climber
The West
May 10, 2005 - 08:16pm PT
"Much easier outing than the Steck-Salathe"
-except for the three pitches that are two number grades harder than the crux, 5.9 pitches of Steck Salathe.
It does go faster though, ~6 hrs camp tp camp vs ~8.
bobmarley

Trad climber
auburn, california
Aug 18, 2005 - 06:17pm PT
so would anyone mind providing some beta on the approach to the base of chouinard-herbert? i've done steck-salathe twice so i know that approach. you go up and left from the base of steck to get to C-H right? you still go up the 4th class ramp right? thanks in advance.
James

Gym climber
City by the Bay
Aug 18, 2005 - 06:25pm PT
The route starts to the left of the flying buttress. I think there is some easy 5th class up to a ledge where the "actual" climbing starts. There are three hard pitches. The first 11c pitch is a short boulder problem. It's good. The pitch entering the Afro Cuban flakes is really cool. It's probably the best. The Afro Cuban pitch is a little funky but good. Much faster than the Steck. You have to do some scrambling to find the base. Have fun.
Largo

Sport climber
Venice, Ca
Aug 18, 2005 - 07:02pm PT
The Chouniard Herbert has about 60 feet of hard climbing. Ten feet on the 1st hard pitch (11.C slanting lyback), ten feet on the stemming corner below the Afro/Cuban Flake bit (11.A stemming), and the Afro/Cuban pitch. On the later, you climb below the Afro flake on some good flakes and edges till a thin seam leads over a small roof. There's good air here and not the greatest pro (wires) and you gotta go for it off thin locks. Solid .11, then onto easier stuff right off. I don't imagine many folks fire this pitch, but maybe I'm wrong. The small roof and thin locks off a wired is intimidating. A couple three aid moves or hangs on this pitch and it's 5.10.

But all the other climbing is direct and super fast, almost running. A fit climber can lead most of the non .11 pitches in 10 minutes or less. I made the 1st free ascent of the face (not counting the approach and descent) with the late great English climber, Pete Livesy, in about 4 hours.

JL
Karl Baba

Trad climber
Yosemite, Ca
Aug 18, 2005 - 08:08pm PT
God only knows if there is a 4th class approach to the base of this thing. I thought I had a good line on it but wound up climbing 5th class and then having to rappel to the base.

Anybody got real beta on getting from the Steck-Salathe approach ramp to the real start of the climb?
Jay

Trad climber
Fort Mill, SC
Aug 19, 2005 - 12:33am PT
hmm, been a while since I was up there and got lost probably the same manner as Karl. Ended up down scrambling about 150' with a rap line. This is the mental note I made for next time I went up there... the most direct approach would require some easy 5th class slabs, go staight for the right side of the Chessman pillar from where you can first see it, which should be about 50'-100' above the three big trees at the top of the 2nd ramp.
James

Gym climber
City by the Bay
Aug 19, 2005 - 12:33am PT
I think the route has also been freed going the upper way along the Afro Cuban Flakes instead of traversing low. It's probably around 5.12. I think Ollie did it-the french canadian. Is this correct?
nate

Trad climber
virginia
Topic Author's Reply - Aug 19, 2005 - 11:29am PT
great beta -- where were you guys *before* i left for the valley. Well -- there is always next time. Long way from ole virginny though.
bobmarley

Trad climber
auburn, california
Aug 19, 2005 - 11:43am PT
wow thanks for the beta! 10 min per pitch on the non-5.11 sections huh largo? yeah, i'll have to get back with you on how it actually went! seems like part of the crux is the approach. here's a link to a pretty descent pic of sentinel. looks like you simply angle up and left from the base of steck-salathe. hopefully it will be intuitive on how to get there. thanks again!

Sentinel Pic
Largo

Sport climber
Venice, Ca
Aug 19, 2005 - 12:00pm PT
I've done the Chouinard Herbert various times and I still don't know how I actually got to the base of Chessman Pinnacle. First time I tried to free it (with Ron Kauk) we fiddled around on the approach for an hour or so (the upper 11.A corner was pouring water and we couldn't free that bit).

So far as freeing the actual Afro Cuban Flakes, it's sort of ridiculous because while you're pimping around on grainy flutes, about 5 feet below are dead obvious and much easier holds. The crux is turning the thin crack roof at the end.

The Afro Cuban pitch is technically as hard as Astroman but the route is far less strenuous.

JL
Rhodo-Router

Trad climber
Otto, NC
Aug 19, 2005 - 12:04pm PT
Wasn't Caryl Chessman a serial killer in the 1950's? What's up with naming the pillar after him?
Karl Baba

Trad climber
Yosemite, Ca
Aug 19, 2005 - 12:22pm PT
When I was up there (with a girlfriend hauling) some guys came and freed it. They said the Afro-Cuban flake pitch went two ways. One at 5.12 and the other at 5.11

Mei

Trad climber
Bay Area
Aug 19, 2005 - 12:53pm PT
Is it scorching hot on this route this time of the year? Supertopo says Steck Salathe gets a limited amount of sun even though the face gets sun exposure morning to afternoon. Does C/H get lots of shade too? Thanks.
Karl Baba

Trad climber
Yosemite, Ca
Aug 19, 2005 - 01:10pm PT
Sentinel is shady until late afternoon. If you are doing Steck Salathe, you're in chimneys in the late afternoon, on CH, you're in the sun, but it's pretty late

Peace

Karl
bobmarley

Trad climber
auburn, california
Aug 19, 2005 - 01:42pm PT
anybody want to comment on the C-H rack? specifically, would it be worth bringing a BD #4? i'm thinking not. i see that wide 5.7 1st pitch, but if it's similar to steck-salathe, there are plenty of other options. i was thinking 10 cams, 7 stoppers. starting at blue metolius, yellow alien, BD #.5, BD #.75 (2), BD #1 (2), BD #2 (2), BD #3.

John Vawter

Social climber
San Diego
Aug 19, 2005 - 01:59pm PT
I think it was Roper who named the pinnacle after Chessman (a convicted sex offender) because Roper, and many others, believed in Chessman's innocence, and that the death penalty was immoral. It would be interesting to know if there is any physical evidence left that could be subjected to DNA testing. It might answer the obvious question. But as he has been dead for 45 years, and there are thousands in prison now waiting in line for testing, I don't think it'll happen.

From Wikipedia:

"Caryl Chessman (27 May 1921 – May 2, 1960) was a convicted American sex offender. Chessman was given the death penalty in 1948 and executed in 1960, but he claimed his innocence, and argued this convincingly, until the end. His case attracted world-wide attention and as a result he became a cause célèbre of the movement to ban capital punishment. Chessman appealed his conviction on the grounds that the original trial was improperly conducted and that subsequent appeals were seriously hampered by incomplete and incorrect transcripts of the original trial proceedings. The appeals were successful and the Supreme Court ordered the State of California to either conduct of full review of the transcripts or release Chessman. The review concluded that the transcript were substantially accurate and Chessman went to the gas chamber in 1960.

"While on death row Chessman wrote four books: three autobiographical books focusing on his life, trial, the penal system, and death row, and also a novel. In the first book, Cell 2455, Chessman clearly implies having killed a man, though he was never prosecuted or convicted for this."

robmo

Gym climber
San Francisco
Aug 19, 2005 - 02:40pm PT
Rack: You just might want to lug that #4 with you for the 5.8 o/w off the belay before the small double roofs. It's a relatively short section, but wide and awkward.

Approach: Up the 4th class ramp towards S-S. You double back to the left not long after finishing the ramp proper. It's a little funky figuring out the way to go here, but look for the section that looks like you're eventually going to have to tunnel behind a manzanita. Don't go up the 5th class dihedral.

The other funky part is getting from the last slabs to the base of the climb. Don't go too far up and left and try to cut back. Try to make a relatively direct path. We ended up having to do maybe 10 ft of 5th class to gain easier terrain.

If it's your first time up there, plan on wasting some time figuring all this out.
Burns

Trad climber
Arlington, VA
Aug 19, 2005 - 03:48pm PT
Hmm... so if it took Largo 4 hours, and our sweet fast and light tactics got us up the Freeblast in about 3/4 of an eternity, how many haul bags should we bring? The answer? You'd better call Hans or hire a sherpa.
bobmarley

Trad climber
auburn, california
Aug 19, 2005 - 05:24pm PT
"If it's your first time up there, plan on wasting some time figuring all this out."

uh oh. i'm feeling an epic coming on! alright, will let you know how it goes. again, thanks to all for the beta.
Fingerlocks

Trad climber
where the climbin's good
Aug 20, 2005 - 05:16pm PT
Now that my memory of decending from SS is starting to fade, this route is sounding more interesting. So how good is the climbing on this? Anybody want to make the sales pitch?

Or would you steer people to some other climbs of similar effort first?
Largo

Sport climber
Venice, Ca
Aug 20, 2005 - 10:19pm PT
You can do the West Face with about 30 feet of aid at 5.10. With the aid it goes a touch harder overall than the Chouinard Herbert but just as fast.

JL
Mei

Trad climber
Bay Area
Aug 22, 2005 - 03:16pm PT
My partner Erik and I got on the route on Sunday. Here is my report:

Approach: The hike to the base of the rock is very enjoyable on a good trail (except for the swarms of bugs escorting us). The first big ramp is long, but not bad. However, even after having done the approach, I'm still not sure about the best way to get to the base of the climb. After the obvious slabby ramp (going right and up), we continued going right through some brushes and trees following the base of the wall. I think it's almost near the end of it, there is a wide crack (#4 cam) in a right facing corner (not a huge corner). Definitely 5th class (feels like 5.8 offwidth). We roped up for it and Erik reached a ledge after a full 200' rope length where there are bolts and slings (for hauling). I guess that's the base of the climb. If you know which wide crack I'm talking about, have we gone too far on the first ramp or should we keep going before cutting back left?

The climb: All in all good, but definitely old school. Most belays have either old bolts/pins that you can back up with gear or a fairly new bolt. I led the seven easiest pitches on the route (1-4 and 13-15) and found route finding tricky in the first four pitches. As for the Afro Cuban Flakes, Erik did realize that the 5.11 variation should be down low only after he got sucked up to all the fixed pins that followed along the 5.12 variation. I aided that traverse. I have to confess that the "dead obvious and much easier holds" that Largo mentioned definitely were not that obvious to my inexperienced eye (that's why you are Largo and I'm Mei). On the other hand, when I was struggling up there aiding with draws and slings, everything else around me (above or below) that were out of reach all looked much better than what I had at hand. The easier pitches (5.10-5.11a) are quite fun but funky sometimes. We spent about 8 hours on the route (counting the approach pitch) and topped out at 4pm. Although the Afro Cuban roof didn't go fast and I spent a long time doing three of the first four pitches off route, I agree that this climb does go fairly fast considering the number of pitches on it.

Descent: I had prepared for worse. It is long, but most of the footings are solid (more solid than the descent to Third Pillar of Dana). However, it demands quite a bit downclimbing that I would not like to do in dark. I can imagine that with big packs that aid climbers haul, the descent can get much more difficult (I was doing a lot of downstepping facing out).

Be aware of loose rock! When we were sorting gear at the base of the rock, a rock fell within 15 feet of us. It sounded like a big bird diving down and only when it hit the ground stirring up dust, I realized that it was a rock. Nobody was above us that time of the day (early morning).
bobmarley

Trad climber
auburn, california
Aug 22, 2005 - 04:01pm PT
mei, nice writeup. did the route saturday actually. i know the 5.8 OW approach you alluded to. we did not do this, but we started to go up it, then downclimbed thinking it wasn't right. you can go up just a bit higher and cut back left again. did not rope up on the approach to the base, but agreed, it's exposed and probably more easy 5th in spots than 4th.

about the afro-cuban flakes pitch, so the fixed piton aid line is 5.12? i thought THAT was the 11c. yeah i got confused there as well. just reread Largo's beta so it looks like it is indeed the low traverse as the 11c. then go directly up the seam? i did do the undercling traverse on those scary flakes and saw the variation, but was a little worried getting gear in those death flakes. i piddled around with gear in the seam but never got anything i thought i could whip onto. so i ended up back at the pitons way too pumped and just pulled right thru. bummer because i'd like to free that part. would somebody confirm where the free variation is supposed to be? i guess going under the afro cuban to the thin seam? now i understand what Largo meant about not too many folks freeing that part. excellent super fun route overall.

tip: bring alot of quicks and slings. we had 14 qd's and slings, not enough i thought. probably 9 QDs and 9 sling draws for next time? alot of fixed iron to clip on that route.

Largo

Sport climber
Venice, Ca
Aug 22, 2005 - 04:49pm PT
Bobmarley and Mei--

Sorry about that vague beta. Although I've done the route various times, it's been like 25 years so I must have forgotten some of the fine points. Anyhow, I DO remember this much.

After that 5.11A stemming pitch, the route jogs straight right. There were a few bolts and fixed pins in the Afro Cuban flake, and just below a few feet were some grainly rounded traverse holds that also followed a line leading directly right. I remember cranking across the high line till I clipped a few pieces then angling slightly right and down across those lower holds--basically not sticking to either the high (5.12) or the lower (5.11) line exclusively. At the end of the traverse there's the seam running through a small roof. There's no good place to rest here and you have to quickly slot the best wire (small and sketchy) you can get and crank through on fingertip locks to easier climbing a few body lengths above. The pro is bunk right there but I had some good stuff up and left and figured if I ripped, that stuff would hold. But you do have to go for it, no doubt. I think if you stay too low you won't get enough pro to go for it, so as far as leading this pitch, staying high might be a bit harder but far less risky. You can traverse acros, but not really get gear, in those "death flakes," so you gotta clip some stuff in the high line and then go for it down low and hope you don't blow.

JL

Mei

Trad climber
Bay Area
Aug 22, 2005 - 09:11pm PT
Largo, No, your beta was not vague. Thank you (and everyone else on this thread, and on this website while I'm at it) for all the beta you have kindly offered.

Beta is beta -- they are usually offered with good intention and to the best knowledge of the author. But then beta is beta -- they are just some textual or graphical description of the author's personal experience under a certain circumstance. The author might see things you don't see, and vice verse. A hand crack for him might be a fist crack for you. When it comes to the usage of beta, I dearly believe in an unspoken rule -- the use of the beta is solely done at your own discretion and risk. Hmm...I will not even mention how I turned a four mile approach to Mt. Conness to a twelve mile approach with beta from four different sources. Ooops, did I just say it?

We found a topo on C-H right below Belay #4. It is neatly hand drawn and laminated and offers some descriptive beta. For example, for the pitch below the Afro-Cuban Flakes at the double roof, it says "5.11a or A1, chump". For Pitch 15, it says "Ain't nothing!" :-D
robmo

Gym climber
San Francisco
Aug 24, 2005 - 02:18pm PT
Ah, you found one of our new SuperDope-o's. My partner dropped one somewhere on the route, and now I know where.

Another interesting aspect of our day on the C-H was that I forgot a belay device. I poked through all of the fallen stuff around the base until I found an ATC someone had dropped. Worked like a charm.


Mei

Trad climber
Bay Area
Aug 24, 2005 - 03:14pm PT
[robmo] Another interesting aspect of our day on the C-H was that I forgot a belay device. I poked through all of the fallen stuff around the base until I found an ATC someone had dropped. Worked like a charm.

Talk about "Worked like a charm." Before I reached the top of Pitch 4, I found this piece of white plastic on a small ledge. Thought it was trash, so I simply stuffed it into my pocket and continued up. Then when I was bringing my partner up, I saw his topo fall out of his pocket when he was making a high step right above that same ledge. Uh-oh. Anyway, while switching leads, I took the plastic out of my pocket just to check what exactly it was. I was amazed to find out that it was another copy of the topo, better than what he was carrying. :-D
Old5Ten

Trad climber
Berkeley, CA
Sep 20, 2005 - 04:01pm PT
for updated info on sentinel and the chouinard-herbert (9/05)check out:

http://www.summitpost.org/mountains/route_link.pl/route_id/6365/object_id/5606

cheers,

old5ten
Patrick Sawyer

climber
Originally California now Ireland
Sep 21, 2005 - 09:17am PT
John, when did Pete Livesy die? (And how, if it is not in bad taste to ask)
426

Sport climber
Obed
Sep 21, 2005 - 09:35am PT
IIRC, Herbert told me that Chessman was executed on the day of the FA...

/ campfire lore
Largo

Sport climber
Venice, Ca
Sep 21, 2005 - 11:56am PT
Here's a short blurb from a British journal.

PETE LIVESEY

Rock climber, fell-runner, athlete, caver, canoeist and orienteer: Pete Livesey reached great heights in all of these sports. An outdoor pursuits lecturer at Ilkley College, he took up orienteering in his 40's and within two years was topping the M45 rankings in Britain. He also had a remarkable record as a fell runner, including four consecutive top ten placings in the Karrimor Mountain Marathon. He died of cancer on February 26th, 1998.

le_bruce

climber
Oakland, CA
Feb 27, 2014 - 08:34pm PT
Bummmmmmp
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