The Grand Wazoo, Middle Cathedral

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Messages 1 - 43 of total 43 in this topic
Chief

climber
Topic Author's Original Post - Jun 25, 2009 - 12:03am PT
Steve Sutton and I climbed a five pitch route between the Bircheff Williams and Central Pillar of Frenzy back in 95? Bolt protected (hand drilled on lead), 12a. Wondering if anyone has done this route or if it's relegated to obscurity?

PB
dickcilley

Social climber
A cova Dos Nenos
Jun 25, 2009 - 12:27am PT
Give us some details.
Greg Barnes

climber
Jun 25, 2009 - 12:43am PT
I was there the day they were finishing it up (early '95?), goes up Bircheff-Williams for a couple pitches then up the arete and face to the right.

The Reid guide last edition was 1994...
Clint Cummins

Trad climber
SF Bay area, CA
Jun 25, 2009 - 12:49am PT
It gets a fair amount of rappel traffic - people descending from Central Pillar of Frenzy.

It's listed in the 1996 AAJ, so the FA info is known.

It's listed in my "guidebook update":

2312. The Grand Wazoo FA: Perry Beckham, Steve Sutton, 1995

http://www.stanford.edu/~clint/yos/update.htm
Chief

climber
Topic Author's Reply - Jun 25, 2009 - 01:53am PT
Wow, that was a quick reply!
Dick Cilley, good to hear from you, it's been a long time.
The Grand Wazoo started over beers, pipeloads and binoculars in the Meadows. It took a few sessions and some investigating both by asking around and climbing the Central Pillar to the dike traverse to the Bircheff Williams to confirm the line. Steve and I recced and set up the rap route from the top of the fifth pitch of the CP down to the top of the first pitch of the Wazoo and through to the top of the second pitch of the BW. It's a good way to avoid traffic on the way back down off the Central Pillar. Scott Cosgrove solved the initial arete on the first pitch off the BW, some of the harder moves on the route. After placing an anchor we bailed and Cozzy had to leave.
Steve and I finished the first and climbed four more pitches to a small ledge not far below the base of the U Shaped Bowl. Each pitch was a little harder and longer, the last on a good fifty meters and quite sustained. It was October and we worked for about a week, fixing our way and hand drilling 3/8 bolts (mostly stainless) off hooks. After reaching the high point, we pulled our ropes and climbed the whole thing via the first two pitches of the Bircheff Williams. It was a lot of work, but seemed well worth the effort. Once you get to the start, all you need are quickdraws to go a long way up Middle!

PB
bob

climber
Jun 25, 2009 - 06:56am PT
Chief, my buddy and I were headed up the CPF and after some of the tree stuff and mud wrangling we started to head down with one rope. Thanks for the bolts so we could get down without too much effort. THAT LINE LOOKS RAD!!! We guessed the grade right. We mostly climb friction/ edging stuff up in the high country and thought that route to be right up our alley. I sat in El Cap Meadow one day and proceeded to watch an enormous rock fall shower all of those routes. I'm done climbing there because that isn't the only one I've seen in that area of M. Cathedral. I'll only climb Kor/Beck and left or N. Buttress and right on Middle now. Does it make sense? I don't know. That CPF/ Stoner's section is dangerous in my mind. Like rock climbing. Dangerous! Hee hee.
Always wondered about that route. Cool info.
Bob J.
Peter Haan

Trad climber
San Francisco, CA
Jun 25, 2009 - 07:24am PT
Chief,

send Chris McNamara (ST) a topo of your route. He can put it in his Obscurities pages for others to use.
Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Jun 25, 2009 - 07:37am PT
I have seen the anchors a couple of pitches up and would love more info if you have a topo and a tale! Looks like great climbing out there!


Where does it go through the bottom section?

Yet another fine FA Perry! Congrats.
T2

climber
Cardiff by the sea
Jun 25, 2009 - 08:00am PT
Perry

I remember selling you some random 3/8" bolting gear after getting down from a captain route (drill bits, 5 piece rawls and hangers) in the meadow around that time.

Is this where they went?
Chief

climber
Topic Author's Reply - Jun 25, 2009 - 01:06pm PT
Thanks for the feedback.

Bob J. I agree about the rockfall concerns and have seen some big stuff come down, in particular during the big quake in spring of 80? (We were near the top of the Hockey Dawn). Spring is probably the worst time and there probably is no guaranteed safe time.

Peter and Steve, I'd draw a topo but it's been so long I'd be short on details. Someone's going to have to climb the route to provide something accurate. The following description may be helpful for now.

Start with the first two pitches of the Bircheff Williams (11b, 10b) to a nice ledge on the arete. The BW 10d Choss pitch starts from here.
Pitch three, 35 meters, follow three bolts past 11d crux on arete to no hands on easier ground above. Several more bolts on 10b face to rap anchors.
Pitch four, forty meters, follow bolts past balancy 11b crux near arete to easier arete and face to cool rap anchor belay under a tiny roof at the top of the left facing corner.
Pitch five, forty five meters, pull the roof and follow bolts past a fixed pin and an 11c crux to a small ledge with rap anchors.
Pitch six, fifty meters, follow bolts to 11d crux, carry on right through the dike connector from CPF to BW and on to a great belay ledge with rap anchors.
Pitch seven, fifty five meters, follow bolts (12-15?) up this incredible "Flat Iron" feature past a 12a crux to a cool ledge at the bottom of more broken terrain leading into the U Shaped Bowl.

Rap the route.

I think there's a great independent two pitch start up the arete of BW. It might be tough to bolt, but I think it's all there at something medium twelvish.

T2, thanks for the bolts, yes some of them went into the route.

This climb is well protected and highly recommended.

PB
Clint Cummins

Trad climber
SF Bay area, CA
Jun 25, 2009 - 01:52pm PT
Cool - I drew it into my book. I have also heard others speculate that the arete on the BW below it might go. (Maybe already did go? I think there is an anchor on it?)

dickcilley

Social climber
A cova Dos Nenos
Jun 25, 2009 - 02:34pm PT
Hi Perry,Wondered who the Chief was.Wish people would use their names .That 10.d on the BW. isn't choss.There's a beautifull pitch under all that grass.Climbing that thing while gardening will get you pumped out of your gourd.
Clint Cummins

Trad climber
SF Bay area, CA
Jun 25, 2009 - 02:46pm PT
Chief = Perry, but this was his first thread.

The Chief = Rick Poedke
klk

Trad climber
cali
Jun 25, 2009 - 02:56pm PT
Another Canadian!

This place is goin to hell.

hehe

Tarbuster

climber
right here, right now
Jun 25, 2009 - 04:00pm PT
Welcome Perry !
-Roy
Karl Baba

Trad climber
Yosemite, Ca
Jun 25, 2009 - 04:42pm PT
Tr'ed a few of the pitches on the way down from Central PIllar a time or two and enjoyed them. Agree that a topo would help the route see more traffic

No way that second pitch of BW is 5.9. Above that, I got confused whether BW stayed in the corner or climbed the spitter crack to the left. I climbed on the right side and it seemed to dead end and I wound up cheating somehow to get left.

Peace and thanks

Karl
Chief

climber
Topic Author's Reply - Jun 25, 2009 - 05:37pm PT
Dick,
I've climbed that pitch several times over the years and it's choss, period! I agree there's a great crack under that choss if it was cleaned up. Clint, you're topo's close enough. Just a reminder that once you're on the Wazoo proper all you need are quickdraws.

Perry Beckham, aka Chief, The Chief, Tomahawk etc.
Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Jul 5, 2009 - 02:42pm PT
Stop and drill on the next ...bump.


Middle on a soggy day.
coz

Trad climber
California
Jul 5, 2009 - 03:17pm PT
Great photo truly one of my favorite crags in the world. The Wazoo must be a great line as I climb it to the high point with the Chief. I do remember drilling the crux bolt and doing what turn out to be the crux of the climb. Beautiful scoops palming an arete.

The climbs a bit like space Babble but slightly steeper or seemly steeper. Where Space Babble is hard for only the first pitch the Wazoo, is hard the whole way. I would have to say it is one of the best. Having climb most routes on the face with the exception of Mother Earth.

Hats of to Perry and Steve, and a coveted second if it hasn't been done, is a prize for certain.


Mark Hudon

Trad climber
Hood River, OR
Jul 5, 2009 - 03:30pm PT
Hmmm... looks good, might have to pencil that one in for October...
mazamarick

Trad climber
WA
Jul 5, 2009 - 03:38pm PT
Beer, pipeloads and binoculars in the meadows.....sounds like the conception of Hockey Night in Canada circa 1978.
Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Jul 5, 2009 - 03:42pm PT
Same wet day...



Chief

climber
Topic Author's Reply - Jul 10, 2009 - 10:28am PT
Thanks for the bump. One of the cool things about that part of Middle (provided you're not being killed by rockfall) is that when you're looking up the rock is dark grey and not super interesting but when you look back down it's almost bright orange, like you're wondering who slipped you the blotter. We thought about calling it Orange Sunshine but the Zappa theme carried the day.

PB
Salamanizer

Trad climber
Vacaville Ca,
Jul 10, 2009 - 05:57pm PT
So that's what that route is, I was wondering how long it had been there.

I've climbed the last couple pitches. I climbed the Bircheff/Williams to the third pitch and somehow missed the traverse left and ended up climbing a sparsely protected thin corner which dead ends under a small roof. Ended up peaking around the corner and spotted the bolts. There looked to be plenty of them so we traversed right and followed the line up a couple pitches where it seemed to dead end.

It was freakin hard.
Salamanizer

Trad climber
Vacaville Ca,
Jul 29, 2009 - 07:09pm PT
Hey Clint,

I went back to get the beta on this route for you but seeing as how we started up Bircheff/Williams at the crack of 3:30, we didn't quite make it. Besides, it was way past beer 30 so we tucked tail and ran after the second pitch.

Anyway, the first pitch has 9 bolts. The first two jog slightly right and the third makes an abrupt traverse left (crux) past some thin sheit to the arete then strait up moderate .8/9 W/ the occasional .10 move thrown in. Crux felt .12a and the pitch was about 130ft

Second pitch has 10 bolts, first two go up and slightly right while again the third is a short traverse left (crux), some thin moves to the arete then more or less strait up until you reach the anchors. The anchors are to the left around the arete under a small roof. Would be easy to miss if you weren't paying attention. Crux felt .11c/d but slightly more technical. The pitch was about 175ft.

I can't remember any bolt counts or where exactly the cruxes were on the upper pitches as I did them a while ago and was not counting. I remember it being more of the same though. Guess I'll have to go up there and climb it again.

All the cruxes are tightly bolted while the rest of the bolts had 12 to 15ft runs (some more some less) space between them. The route felt safe and well bolted and sits on some immaculate red and white polished granite scoops. A safe and enjoyable 5 star route for sure.

All that being said, in my opinion the real technical crux of the route is the first pitch of the Bircheff/Williams, .11b My Ass!
Clint Cummins

Trad climber
SF Bay area, CA
Jul 29, 2009 - 09:51pm PT
Thanks for the beta!
Here's a corresponding updated topo of the first 2 pitches:

Salamanizer

Trad climber
Vacaville Ca,
Jul 29, 2009 - 11:00pm PT
That looks about right accept move the anchors on the second pitch (pitch 4) left under the roof shown in the origional topo.
Clint Cummins

Trad climber
SF Bay area, CA
Jul 29, 2009 - 11:37pm PT
Thanks - I think I got it right now!
Chief

climber
Topic Author's Reply - Feb 27, 2010 - 09:04pm PT
Hey Salamanizer, Clint,

Just checked up on this old thread.
Did anyone brave the rockfall and climb the whole thing last year?

PB
Salamanizer

Trad climber
The land of Fruits & Nuts!
Mar 6, 2010 - 09:19pm PT
Hey Chief, I never made it back up there.

But knowing me, I can never leave a project unfinished. Gotta do the whole thing in one run or it doesn't count ya know.
Chief

climber
The NW edge of The Hudson Bay
Topic Author's Reply - Oct 6, 2012 - 02:36am PT
Thought I'd bump this old thread again.
Does this thing see any traffic?
Hard to believe it's been seventeen years almost to the day.
gf

climber
Oct 6, 2012 - 02:48am PT
Nice one Chief-almost makes a fellow want to put down the mtn bike and pick up the shoes.
-thanks for the bump -the info, not crystal, for all you fellow breaking bad fans who might be wondering.
Clint Cummins

Trad climber
SF Bay area, CA
Oct 9, 2012 - 04:48pm PT
Perry,

Here's an overlay guess on the belay locations, using the best photo I have at present.
If you have any corrections from memory of 17 years back, please describe or mark up.
I actually need to take a better photo which shows the Bircheff-Williams corner instead of hiding it.
Grand Wazoo, upper pitches - overlay guess
Grand Wazoo, upper pitches - overlay guess
Credit: Clint Cummins
Click on these to enlarge!
Grand Wazoo, lower pitches - overlay guess
Grand Wazoo, lower pitches - overlay guess
Credit: Clint Cummins
cultureshock

Trad climber
Mountain View
Oct 22, 2012 - 09:41am PT
Checked out the first pitch (3rd from the ground) this past weekend on the way down from central pillar. Very cool climbing with a tricky crux (baffled me). Do you stay on the right side of the arete and slap up it with the left hand or do you move around the left side of the arete and lay back up the edge? The rest of the climbing on that pitch was doable and slighly run out but safe. Such cool stone with nice crimps and scoops just where you need them.

Didn't have time to look at any of the other pitches.

Chad lemme know if you ever want a partner to go back up that thing. Way hard but inspiring climbing.

 Luke
Chief

climber
The NW edge of The Hudson Bay
Topic Author's Reply - Jun 9, 2013 - 11:24pm PT
Clint,

It's been a while since I checked this thread.
I can't really tell if the overlays are accurate as the belays were on small stances hard to see in the photos.

Luke,

Re pitch one (off the top of BW pitch two), stay on the right side of the arete and bear down.
Probably the hardest individual moves on the whole route.

PB
The Warbler

climber
the edge of America
Jun 10, 2013 - 07:25am PT
That has to be some great climbing on fantastic rock. And it sounds well protected. I thought routes on Middle weren't done much because of the runout myths.

Hard to understand...

Right there smack dab in the Middle of one of the best climbing areas on Earth, a 10 minute nearly level approach, aid monkees lined up and crawling all over El Cap right across the Valley, and nobody's getting on The Wazoo?

I thought lots of climbers these days could climb that hard.

This route should be getting done daily, sounds like.

And the direct start would go for sure.
cultureshock

Trad climber
Mountain View
Jun 10, 2013 - 10:25am PT
Yeah I went up a week or two later (from my last posting) to check out more of the climbing.

Good to know that the right side goes. Those holds are super thin!

The rock is incredible and the climbing is reasonably protected. Sure there are run-outs but it felt safe enough once I figured out where to go.

Knowing where to go was often as difficult as the climbing. Sometimes the line of holds you are following blanks out. The bolts only give you a vague idea of how best to proceed. It is a nice advenutre. Looks pretty cool rapping back down with chalk dotting all of the holds.

I only tried the first two pitches and would love to go back again to work on it more. Doubt very many people try it. Vertical and semi-runout face climbing is not that popular these days among the masses, especially at the 5.12 level.

I would say these the pitches feel pretty hard compared to most modern sport climbing areas, but that is to be expected.

-Luke
Chief

climber
The NW edge of The Hudson Bay
Topic Author's Reply - Jun 10, 2013 - 01:22pm PT
Luke,

The first couple pitches had some of the longest run outs albeit on 5.9/5.10a climbing.
One thing you can count on is that the pitches get progressively longer, the climbing more difficult and sustained, but, the bolts closer together.
The last pitch (we dubbed it The Flatiron) stretched out our 55meter rope, involved what we thought was 12a face and had something like seventeen bolts for protection.

PB
The Warbler

climber
the edge of America
Jun 10, 2013 - 01:35pm PT
Is that flatiron pitch really as flat and ultraclean as it looks?

Without ever being up on it, I know it's sustained and perfect rock - that's a sweet section of MCR and way up there to boot.

Nice!!!
survival

Big Wall climber
Terrapin Station
Jun 10, 2013 - 01:41pm PT
So, this is like, harder than After Six then?

WOOOO HOOOO BISHES!!! GET SOME!!
(Channeling Jeremy)
The Warbler

climber
the edge of America
Jun 10, 2013 - 02:10pm PT
Steve, your rainy day close up picture is backwards, reversed, whatever.

Either that or I've become dyslexic.


Chief

climber
The NW edge of The Hudson Bay
Topic Author's Reply - Jun 10, 2013 - 02:14pm PT
Kevin,

As part of the overall recce we climbed the seven pitches of Central Pillar to the dyke traverse left to the Kor Beck to determine if there was a reasonable line. (This traverse crosses right under the "Flatiron" pitch.)
We replaced the single old 1/4" bolt and placed the belay for the top of the 4th (or 6th from the ground) 15 or 20 meters higher.

Yes, the Flatiron is as clean and cool as it looks, you're just way the hell up there on Mother Middle on some of the cleanest, smoothest rock on the formation. No corners, flakes or cracks, just perfect off vertical face climbing.

I couldn't believe that somebody hadn't checked it out and word around the campfire was that you and Ron had been up there. Ron told me nothing of the sort had happened and to get up there.
I expected the usual Middle fare using bolts to link flake features offering thin gear and pin placements. It turned out the rock was so featured we pretty much climbed it straight on, straight up and placed only one pin, and no other gear the whole way.
We'd climb to a stance, wobble in a 1/4 bat hook placement, then toil in a 3/8 stainless.
There were around 70 bolts including belays and it took the better part of a week of to get it all ready for a continuous ascent.
The Warbler

climber
the edge of America
Jun 10, 2013 - 02:24pm PT
That's funny, Perry - Ron and I talked forever about venturing out to the right of The Chouinard Pratt, but we never did, although he might have.

I've only been on the CPF traverse twice, once on the SA with Vern Clevenger, and I led it in a rainstorm, totally running with water. We had gotten that far, and I refused to rap until we did the traverse, and finished the route. Crazy thing is I led it again years later, dry, with George Lowe, and George Meyers and it seemed harder the second time!

Neither time did I consider climbing straight up. Your last pitch must more or less follow the brown streak, eh? Looks great!
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