Mideast Crisis TR, enter the suckage edition


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Big Wall climber
A cube at my soul sucking job in Oregon
Topic Author's Original Post - May 31, 2009 - 02:00pm PT
Note: More pics coming soon, sorry.

Stupid economy... Forced to take spring break off with almost no notice, vacation ruined for May. Crap. Wall schedule in peril...

One semi-invented crisis, one waiver, wall trip saved. Whew! When in doubt, take advantage of the Peter Principle (bonus, see Putz's Law) and use management's retardedness against them.

Plan: My man Ivan the Black can carve out 7 days, Portland to Portland, no more, over Memorial Day. Schiza that leaves so little margin with two 12 hours drives in there... But we're stoked, my second attempt on Mideast Crisis, his first wall and first time in the valley.

Wednesday: Get to the Choppa!!! (name that movie!) Start the 12 hour drive at 5:30 PM, pull into the bivy for a couple hours nap on Thursday at 5 AM, ugh....

Thursday: Grab the rack and start the hike. Beautiful blue skies, warm sun, cool shade, phenomenal weather.

P1: We let the French (I think?) pass us since we're casual stylin' it, and they're headed up Astroman. Speakers are pumping out Factory Girls by Flogging Molly. F*#k yeah. Ivan full head of steam runs into the wet 5.7 crux onto the ramp, ugh, but there's nothing that a complete lack of style and a pair of aiders can't solve.

P1 rack notes: single set of cams from green alien to #2, half dozen draws, pair of aiders if it's wet (or free solo it if you have any f*#king free climbing skills!). Watch for rope drag if linking over to the anchors for Planck's Constant Roof (spectactular variation)

Planck's Roof: Screw P2/P3, there is a killer roof dude!!!! My lead, clip a fixed pin on the ramp, slot a green alien, back clean a red alien, and rip through the rack up to #5 to get to the mid-way anchor. Rope drag my ass, I'm going for it! Holy shite! Woop Wooop! Wanring Will Robinson, that flake rings like a damn tamborine! Screamer deployed, go back to Yellow Alert boys. Leap frogging big green monsters in space, oh yeah! Awkward aiders kicking cams loose back in a flake at the end? Thank you ma'am! May I have another? Phew... Enough of that, back to the car, there's cold beer waiting!

Planck's rack notes: 1x green alien, 2x red alien to #2, 3x #3-#4, 2x #5, 2x #6 (old school #5 camalots are perfect, #6 friend is almsot too big in several spots). Extra's in #5 C4 size helpful. Zip the big green cams you have to leap frog back to your partner (easy with a single 60m haul line) and have your partner re-aid. Rap down on your gri-gri to watch the show and to give moral "support" ("Yurr gunna DIE!!!!!").

Planck's roof, how can you not want do this pitch?!?!
Then rap down and taunt your bud as he re-aids it?

Damn, still conscious, but not enough light to finish another pitch. Back to the car for a load of water. 50L should be enough, right? Crap, too slow, miss the Pizza Bar by 5 minutes on the final trip down the trail.


Haul... Bags... Heavy... Ugh....

Slow start, and lots of bag packing later, and it's time to start jugging.

Haul goes badly, Louisiana boys below bail us out unsnagging the bags, but they are heeeeeeavy. More snags, gotta rap and kick, crap. Daylight burning.... Note: Hauling from P4 anchors would snag less than hauling fromt he Planck's anchors, so aim for those before blasting.

One more pitch today, this being a link between the Planck's Constant roof anchors to P3 anchors, then linking through to P4 anchors. Ivan takes this one. 30' of offset nuts, aliens, and such get to the ledge for the P3 bolts, with some minor gardening required. From the P3 anchors I con Ivan into aiding up around left instead of pulling the 5.7 moves to free climb the loose pillar. Basically this requires putting a #2 at the base of the pillar and leaning way out left for an alien. The rest of the pitch is pretty straightforward, taking up to a #5 before traversing over to a lower out to a yellow alien sized crack. Once the bags are released it's clear hauling will be our crux (remember that 50L of water?). I get to the belay at dark and we set about our bivy. Team clod hopper is moving slow, but at least we're off the ground.

P3/4 (link from Planck's to P4):


Slow packing procedure, as will be the theme of team Clod Hopper. My lead, P5, where in 2004 I fell while solo and while overly back cleaning, past the anchor, losing a fingernail, and soon bailing. Payback time!

This pitch leads out a roof and around a corner to a nice vertical dihedral. The start is a bunch of decent alien placement, and then near the end you get to a weird pin scar. I believe this is where Mike probably placed an angle, and where my purple TCU had popped in 2004. After giving up on aliens, and not wanting to pound a pin for some reason, I rummage around and place a #3 ballnut, which is mostly OK. A bit higher as I enter the dihedral it's two peckers in thin slots. I don't know how these would go clean, maybe #1 RP's? Anyway, I give in to the hammer and tap in a couple peckers to get to the alien promise land of the corner. Beta note: go up the left side of the dihedral, not the right, I wasted a couple minutes scratching my head on this. Near the end of the pitch you want to stay left and pull some weeds to get access to #1 and #2 placements to get to the left most bolt of the 3 bolt anchor, don't waste time trying to mantle onto the slopey stance, the bolts will still be out of reach (sheesh).

P5 start:

Ivan took the very steep next pitch, P6. Lots of #1-#3 cams, some aliens, and a lead bolt go up through an overhanging dihedral to a hanging belay. Steep!

P7, Enter the Suckage! OK, Mike's annotated topo makes a note of "Terrible Aid". What a f*#king sandbag. Terrible doesn't come close to capturing the suckage of this pitch. You start by continuing up the corner crack from P6 on about 4-5 #1 placements, C1 with minimal back cleaning to avoid screwing the second, but make sure to sat a couple #1's for the end of the pitch. The topo sends you right into the flare, a ~30 degree angled slot of sufferage. I started with a #3 ballnut, moving on to nuts, small aliens and a LA. Aiders clog the bottom, trip your feet, and you feel like your are wrestling a damn octopuss. Suckage. When the worst is over things get more vertical and the LA's and beaks come out. At the very end you reach a ledge with no obvious way up. I went from a small nut and was stuck for about 10 minutes desperately clawing around while waiting for the nut to pop. Eventually a large pecker I'd back cleaned bailed me out (long reach and a hammer tap).

Awoooga!! I highly recommend someone try staying in the dihedral crack, it connects to the same ledge, and looks to be all #1-#3 pieces and be very casual. I could see both ends of the crack, but cannot vouch for the middle. If you make it work, do the community a favor and chisel a f*#king arrow in the rock to save humanity from the unnecessary suffering of the flare.

Pitch 7 from below, the flare is just visible up and right, but the straight up crack appears to be a worthy bypass option:

From the ledge halfway up P7 (taking me probably 2 hours to sumo wrestle in a closet) go up the dirty loose looking dihedral, even though it looks a bit improbable. I slung the largest loose block and clipped it into a red alien to keep it from trundling if I kicked it going up, suckage. Higher up you burn a large piece (you know, the one that kept ass raping you while swimming in aiders back in the suckage), then a couple C1 moves take you out the roof and on up to the ledge (save a #2 or #3 to put under a block to help pull onto the ledge). Rope drag will suck, but you still have to scramble up and over onto a ledgelet to clip the bolts (again, out of reach from the ledge proper). I hauled through the V-slot to the climber's right with no troubles.

Distant shot of all of P7 showing the hateful flare:

Ivan just done with jugging:

The ledge is indeed large, and not very flat. The 2 bolts over by the bivy ledge are also not great, one Rawl 3/8" spike and one 5/16" button head as I recall. Consider popping in a third good bolt before hauling up large loads.

Deja Vu Ledge (not very good picts of the real size):

Full disclosure: I convinced myself something was just wrong, mainly due to the metal stress of the flare, and lowered out of the upper dihedral for the night, fully convinced I'd ended up off route. I went back up Sunday and finished it off once mostly refreshed. Poor Ivan was stuck at the P6 belay for about 18 hours total... Sorry dude!


After finishing P7, Ivan took the P8slab pitch. He reported modest gardening, and several french style freeing sections. Hauling was rough, as the ledges snagged, then the bags snagged, etc. The low angle nature of the anchors makes hauling heavy bags very awkward.

Ivan also took P9/10, finishing up near darkness (damn hauling nightmares...). The start is rotten and takes some easy free moves to get to the start. The gear near the base is in semi-rotten rock, so beware!. Lots of #1, 2, 3 cams get burned, so be careful to conserve yet not screw the second. The P9 anchor location has a fixed pin to lower off of, so #3's leading out of the roof can be leap frogged a ways. Ivan reported much hassle due to the crack being just right to let biners wedge sideways. The pitch ends with upside down dangling while going from an inward facing dihedral to and outward facing dihedral. Wild!


Steepest pitch by far... P11 is killer! Basically you start by aiding out a roof on red aliens up to #2'still you hit a corner. From there dangle as far out as you can and slam in a #5 (make sure you take 2, you'll need the second one soon enough). From the #5 you have another really long reach to get a #1 into a funky pocket on the other side of a rotten 5" flare, the crux of this pitch. A decent reach attains a bolt leading up to an only modestly overhung dihedral. A could cams gains height to a pair of bolts (alternate anchor to P11 anchors?). A rivet and two bolts aid past the thinnest bottom edge of an overhanging block and soon you pull up to the bolts, with the last move being a pretty long reach from your second #5 (watch out for the sharp edge right there).

P11 is practically slab, if you do a head stand:

Looking back on P11:

From the P11 anchors looking back at the last bit:

Ivan got the last real pitch, pitch 12 which soars over the belay. It's not clear how wildly overhung it is till you realize your partner is dangling away from wall, toes barely touching the dihedral. The pitch takes lots of aliens, nuts, and such. At one point a black alien or a #3 ballnut is needed, but you'd have to ask Ivan exactly where. Once the dihedral peters out you traverse up and left on some fixed pins, a couple bolts, small cams, and finally some #2 and #3 cams out to the anchor, on an OK stance, finally with sky overhead and not towering rock.

Cleaning P12, nope, not steep at all...

After reading about the neglect of the final pitch, and the relative freakiness of the Astroman finish, I had to give a go at it. The old Reid guide doesn't help things much, simply showing and arcing crack to a vertical crack to a tree with 100' of 4th class to the top. As expected there was modest gardening as I went out right and hooked up with the straight section of crack. The angle is low, and the rock is actually pretty solid with only a crust of loose crystals. About 2/3 of the way up I was stopped by a spot where the crack runnels out and has a vertical'ish bulge. I didn't spend much time messing with it, as it looks like a free move (and my left shoe was half duck tape by this point). Instead I looked left to a flake system that looked like easy climbing. A black alien to a yellow TCU got me into it, then biggish cams (#2-4) took me around the far side of the flake and to easy scrambling all the way to the tree.

Distant shot of the last pitch as I did it:

Then came the crux...

The slab creating bad hauling, requiring some bag tending by Ivan to get the bags to the tree. From there the 100' of 4th class is mostly a walk up with just a few actual moves in a chimney thing, and those were easy even with a duck taped foot. The final haul to the top went very poorly, getting us to the top at about 2:30 in the morning.


Trad climber
the range of light
May 31, 2009 - 02:18pm PT
nice work man!

i remember pitch 7 feeling really hard too. bt it was my first wall solo and i was pretty terrified throughout...

awesome shots of the higher pitches too!

Trad climber
the jeep
May 31, 2009 - 04:02pm PT
Very Cool!!!11111111

nice work and thanks for posting up!

that wide roof looks amazing, has anyone tried to free it?



Social climber
WA, NC, Idaho Falls
May 31, 2009 - 04:06pm PT
Sweet pics, great TR!

Big Wall climber
A cube at my soul sucking job in Oregon
Topic Author's Reply - May 31, 2009 - 04:12pm PT

The topo lists is as C2, or 5.13a. There are no faceholds below on the face that I recall, and it has several places that would be too small for knees, yet be rattly fists. Looked truly hateful to free. Go for it!

Trad climber
the jeep
May 31, 2009 - 04:40pm PT
Yeah, it looks pretty stout for sure!

I've got skinny knees, maybe they'd fit! Cool feature regardless!



Trad climber
May 31, 2009 - 10:00pm PT
That's some good suckage!
Thanks for the TR

My twin brother's laundry room
May 31, 2009 - 10:20pm PT
A lot of Quantum Mechanic follows MidEast Crisis. It was cool to see some up close pictures of the route, espescailly the Planck's Constant Pitch. Thing looks Sick!

Ice climber
Ashland, Or
May 31, 2009 - 11:27pm PT
rad TR Moof!
Captain...or Skully

Social climber
North of the Owyhees
May 31, 2009 - 11:35pm PT
I missed the suckage part!
Looked glorious, in my eyes.
The Column is a good Rock.
Lynne Leichtfuss

Social climber
valley center, ca
May 31, 2009 - 11:50pm PT
Gezzz, great and honest out there Thread....bombers, bashes, bivouac's, and looks like two good bud's getting it done and enjoying the process and results. Right On, Dudes. Enjoyed your exploits. lrl

Edit: Super pics and photo descriptions. :)

Trad climber
Jun 2, 2009 - 01:27am PT
SweeeeeeeeeT! TR. Thanks for posting up.

Gym climber
a greasy pinscar near you
Jun 2, 2009 - 01:41pm PT
Please tell me you did not haul 17 liters of water to the summit

(and then complain about the hauling).
Clint Cummins

Trad climber
SF Bay area, CA
Jun 2, 2009 - 01:55pm PT
Fun TR and good photos - thanks for sharing!

Social climber
A prison of my own creation
Jun 2, 2009 - 01:56pm PT
Nice TR Moof.

East Coast US
Jun 2, 2009 - 04:01pm PT
Excellent! Very enjoyable.

Big Wall climber
A cube at my soul sucking job in Oregon
Topic Author's Reply - Jun 2, 2009 - 11:56pm PT
Yep, 17 liters left over. We did steal a couple when we went back up for the last of our crap (yep, two trips down North Dome Gully, ugh). We were expecting warmer temps, instead we had to break out the fleece a few times. Water was also pretty buried, making accounting just about impossible. Besides, I complain about hauling my arse out of bed each morning too (weight about as much as 17 liters of water).

Crap I should have left at the base:
-second set of offset aliens
-4 gallons of water

-4 of the 6 beers, as I only felt drinking them at the summit, and shamed Ivan into helping me dispose of them.

-set of hooks (including a heavy Fish hook, and spare cliffhanger/grappling hooks just in case).

-heading kit

-spare set of offset nuts (one set was nice, but not overly critical if I'd dropped them)

We also had two single ledges, which was really nice, but also heavy.

Winners for the trip:

-Fresh fruit! Sucking down an orange or an apple is pretty easy when tired and thrashed, and goes down much easier than canned stuff. Even after 5 days the last orange was in very good shape despite minimal pampering.

-Trader Joes yellow curry tuna pouch with brown rice, phenominal!


-Slipping daisies

-Duck taped strikers

Boulder climber
the greasewood ghetto
Jun 3, 2009 - 04:43am PT
i L L

Jun 3, 2009 - 11:39am PT
This is what a Trip report should be! Thanks Moof! Wild sh#t for sure! Nice on you guys for getting on it. BTW, when that loose looking thing pulls off of Planck's Roof, it's going to be ugly! I see stuff like that on Basalt every weekend and I'd guess it's not really attached by more than dried mud I'll bet. Scary.
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