John Long The Royal Scam 1983

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Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Topic Author's Original Post - Dec 9, 2008 - 11:20pm PT
A fine adventure tale from the master from Mountain 91 May June 1983.



Studly

Trad climber
WA
Dec 10, 2008 - 12:09am PT
Am I the first to think that the first pitch of Central Pillar rated 5.9 is a little bit of a sandbag also? After the passage of thousands of feet and hands, that sucker is polished slicker then snot and greasier then a McDonalds fry, especially on a hot August morning. The upper pitches seem casual by comparison. Never made it as far as the root crux. I don't think many people do due to the wonders of beta.
Jaybro

Social climber
wuz real!
Dec 10, 2008 - 12:25am PT
Before I first read this article I don't think I knew there were upper pitches.
Captain...or Skully

Social climber
Where are YOU from?
Dec 10, 2008 - 01:06am PT
Most folks don't do those..
Kind of Obscure, any more......5 & rap.
weird, huh?
nutjob

Stoked OW climber
San Jose, CA
Dec 10, 2008 - 09:19pm PT
Holy shmoly, last year I bought a couple of yates screamers to try that route and top out... I heard there was some "run-out hard 5.10" in the higher pitches. I'm glad the stars didn't align to make it happen.

So what's the deal now... hook-on-a-cheater-stick?

Has anyone climbed this to U-shaped bowl in the last decade?
Largo

Sport climber
Venice, Ca
Dec 10, 2008 - 11:14pm PT
You gotta climb a pitch or two higher - above the first five on Central Pillar - to get to the shizat face climbing (sorta run out) that zooms straight up. I think it's the 8th pitch that has the tree root shenanagan, at the end of a fantastic 5.10d tip lyback. Then a cool 5.10 one inch crack pitch above that and then into the U-Shaped Bowl. There's also a pretty grim direct start to Central Pillar that avoids the first corner pitch of the Chouinard/Prat (which also goes free up to the ledge atop the 5th on the Pillar). The second pitch of Chouinard/Pratt is a 100 foot fingertip 5.11 lyback that we cleaned out but the greenery has probably grown back since I never hear of folks doing this route. Too bad, because that 2nd pitch, when clean, was perhaps the best crack pitch on Middle.

JL
SteveW

Trad climber
The state of confusion
Dec 10, 2008 - 11:47pm PT
Mr. Grossman. . .
I love the histories. . . but could you, for this old relic,
copy them in with a bit bigger print? Even with my glasses on
I have a hard time reading it. . . sorry, I'm just old and cranky today. . .
Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Topic Author's Reply - Dec 11, 2008 - 12:03am PT
How much higher on the Chouinard- Pratt free did you get, John?

The lay of the land from Roper.



The Central Pillar of Frenzy.


Rich Thompson photo.


Low on the direct start.



Can't really scan to suit on my machine- Sorry
Largo

Sport climber
Venice, Ca
Dec 11, 2008 - 12:14am PT
Pro looks a tad thin on that direct start, Steve . . .

We freed the Chouinard/Pratt up to the ledge on top of pitch 5 on Central Pillar.

JL
Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Topic Author's Reply - Dec 11, 2008 - 12:52am PT
Not much up there but a lot of holds, one nest of wires and a fixed short medium Arrow up high. I took a good whipper off of the crux onto the Arrow and then worked it out at solid 5.11 across to the normal first belay.

Good candidate for a pinbolt as that pin is crucial for the lead and too attractive for bootying.

How many people have even done this as a toprope problem?
scuffy b

climber
On the dock in the dark
Dec 11, 2008 - 11:54am PT
Thanks for the info on the Chouinard-Pratt, John.
I've always wondered about that.
What's there in any guidebook? An arrow pointing up, 5.11,
no indication whether the whole thing goes, no FFA, no date,
etc.
Best crack pitch on Middle, and the is the first I've seen
in print...
Go figure.
Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Topic Author's Reply - Dec 11, 2008 - 12:11pm PT
Unfortunately it sounds like the gardener did it! LOL
Largo

Sport climber
Venice, Ca
Dec 11, 2008 - 12:11pm PT
Short history of Chouinard/Pratt: I went up and cleaned pitch 2 on aid. It's a 1/2 inch crack in a small corner that goes for maybe 80 feet (if I remeber right, since this was like 30 years ago), with glass smooth feet and tip cranking the whole way. I first led it with Eric E. who couldn't follow so we rapped off. I went back with Englishman Pete Minks, and we carried on to the ledge that it shares with Central Pillar (on top of pitch 5).

I think the upper part of Chouinar/Pratt would go free but it looked like some more cleaning up higher and I just never got round to it. It would make a great and doable project for someone, and would probably produce a super good route up to the U-Shaped Bowl. The pitch off the ledge (pitch 6) has a roof/undercling right off that would be the bid-ness, and the upper bits looked like classic hard Middle - thin cracks featuring mixed lybacking/jamming/face climbing.

Go for it. If you had a spare three days (for cleaning and climbing) and a handful of pins, this would be a great project, right up the most prominent part of the face.

JL
Tarbuster

climber
right here, right now
Dec 11, 2008 - 01:22pm PT
Studly wrote:

“Am I the first to think that the first pitch of Central Pillar rated 5.9 is a little bit of a sandbag also?”

Although not 5.10, this pitch does present some fairly technical and continuous 5.9 finger locking. Peter Mayfield liked to guide it and he would tell clients that it was 5.9d.
Tarbuster

climber
right here, right now
Dec 11, 2008 - 01:39pm PT
Dimitri Barton and I, maybe 1985 or '86, climbed Central Pillar of Frenzy all the way to the U Shaped Bowl.

He sometimes had these ideas of doing routes in gimmick mode; like “Hey let’s do Mr. Natural using only quickies [a sliding nut design]”.

For Central Pillar, it was a “Five-Tennie” ascent. And this meant for me, the second generation version of that running shoe/climbing shoe hybrid, the blue ones, which I found rather clunky in comparison to the original gray models. Dimi may have been in Fire Flyers.

I distinctly recall wishing I’d chosen bona fide climbing shoes!

The shoes I had on my feet were brand-new and not the least bit broken in; so I felt completely disconnected from my footwork. (Not a good thing if you know what Middle crack protected face climbing is all about). Once we got above the first five pitches Dimitri did all the leading and he did a darn good job of it as well; dancing around on all manner of creative edging & smearing, quickly unlocking sequences and dispatching the tricky moves, often run out from his thin protection.

The trademark “root” was long gone and the upper 10d and 1 inch crack required cleaning on lead.
Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Topic Author's Reply - Dec 11, 2008 - 09:31pm PT
Roots topo from the green two ring original Meyers guide.



Sounds like 5.11 in hybrids to me!

I always had the feeling that the full Pillar was one of those infamous 5.10+ routes that harbored lots of adventure and root findings!
Largo

Sport climber
Venice, Ca
Dec 12, 2008 - 03:24pm PT
http://www.summitpost.org/images/original/198358.jpg

Here's a shot that shows the long fingertip lyback on the second pitch of Chouinard/Pratt.

JL
Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Topic Author's Reply - Dec 27, 2008 - 01:43pm PT
A little mood shot from across the way from a Pindisports ad in Mountain 33.

Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Topic Author's Reply - Nov 14, 2009 - 10:44pm PT
Middle Rock Bump!
Salamanizer

Trad climber
The land of Fruits & Nuts!
Nov 15, 2009 - 10:31pm PT
So am I hearing this right, the Chouinard-Pratt has only been freed as far as the first 5 pitches?

Would be alot of work to clean that route up and free it, but certainly not impossible. I'm starting to get the sense that Middle, more than most/any other formation in the valley has alot of unfinished business on it.

Now why do you suppose that is???
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