Third Pillar of Dana - Am I going to die?


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Mountain climber
Topic Author's Original Post - Aug 7, 2009 - 04:01pm PT
Finally found a willing partner - but now suddenly he is talking down his lead ability. Looks like I'm going to be on the sharp end for all 5 pitches. And I'm only a 5.9 leader. ha
Am I going to die?

Reading the T/Rs, some say the 10b face move(by the pin) thingy is only 5.7.?? "Its a cruse". But others say the pitch 2 10a flared finger crack is stiff. Will I be able to fall back on my well developed french technique, or do I actually have to climb the thing?

The photos are wonderful. Got to go up there just to touch that beautiful rock.

thanks for all the advice in advance

Trad climber
sorry, just posting out loud.
Aug 7, 2009 - 04:03pm PT
yer gunna...

Trad climber
Aug 7, 2009 - 04:31pm PT
This is a great climb, at least the first 3 1/2 pitches are. We got hailed off and retreated, hunkering down for two hours under a rock at the base while our approach shoes filled up with hail at the top.
I'm a 5.9 kind of guy too. I pulled through on gear leading P2, the 10a or 10b pitch depending on what topo you read. It went fine. We didn't get to higher crux. Give us a TR when you get back.
Fat Dad

Trad climber
Los Angeles, CA
Aug 7, 2009 - 04:37pm PT
I don't have a topo in front of me but the only .10b I know of are some face moves past a fixed pin up high. I don't know if you can yard past it. The thin crack leading up to the chimney flake isn't too steep (more delicate stuff) and can probably yard on gear. The last pitch isn't too bad either and the pro's decent. I say go for it. It's worth it just for the hike across the Dana Plateau.

Trad climber
Truckee, CA
Aug 7, 2009 - 04:43pm PT
Ditto Munge - only you really will if there's lightning when you're topping out. Go early, climb fast. The little teeny bit of 10b isn't 5.7 at all, certainly 10a or b but extremely short. To French it, you might need an extra one or two very small TCUs or C3s. Seems to me I remember a purple and/or blue Metolius TCU for pro, but in between where the one or two moves are, you might need smaller if you're going to yard. It's a bit flared and bottomed so C3s or tiny aliens only 2 cams in would be better than U-cabled TCUs. Better still, get a couple good pieces and just fire the two lieback moves, totally doable by a solid 5.9 leader. The upper part of the last pitch is easier than it looks from either below or the side. But no matter, once you get there you have no choice but to fire through to the top.

Trad climber
Aug 7, 2009 - 04:46pm PT
The sharp end is what it's all about
Karl Baba

Trad climber
Yosemite, Ca
Aug 7, 2009 - 04:51pm PT
You're mostly likely to die on the descent to the base than anywhere else.

A 5.9 leader better be solid up there if you ask me but you won't die. A scary fall flopping around and banging something hard is, however, a fair possibility. Do as I say and not as I do....wear a helmet.

Don't think it's easy to A0 everywhere you want but if you start early and its a period of no thunderstorms, you'll probably have a safe enough adventure if you bail before pushing way over your head (if it comes to that) so bring some nuts and slings and a headlamp. It's not do or die unless you set it up that way



Aug 7, 2009 - 04:59pm PT
We did it a week ago and watched 2 parties below us bail: 1 party started at ~noon(not to good of a choice, we joked that it must be Hans & Yuji and they'll be at our belay in the next 5 minutes), the other party moved slowly and opted to bail due to the thickening clouds. I would hate the hike out from the bottom!

Start the hike EARLY! It might be a little spicy in spots for the 5.9 leader, just give yourself plenty of time.

Have a blast and take it all in. Let us know how it goes!

Sniff, sniff...I sure miss the smell of the Sierra's:)

Aug 7, 2009 - 05:14pm PT
When I free soloed it, I was cruising along real nice until the crux pitch. Damn ... it woke me right up on a couple of sporty moves there.

I probably had the same look Walleye did.

That's the only part of the route I remember ......
Captain...or Skully

Social climber
Aug 7, 2009 - 05:49pm PT
You thought you were a GONER!
Cheers.......Wait for it......Yer Gonna Die. Fer sure. Sometime.
pip the dog

Mountain climber
planet dogboy
Aug 7, 2009 - 06:20pm PT
i've been following this thread bouncing between the poles of "ah sure, do it" and "errr, wait a bit and work up to it".

that and i have a personal rule of never saying "go for it!" (or the opposite) to people i haven't actually climbed with.

so i won't answer your question. feel free to hit [PgDn] now.

what i will do is give you more questions:

 the only way to get from being a solid .9 leader to being a solid .10 leader is going out and taking on some .10 (ideally starting at the softer end of the grade). but is an alpine route -- albeit a short one with exquisite rock -- really the place to push your current comfort zone? perhaps a well protected roadside one or two pitch crag would be a better place to do the work to be confident that you can cruise most any .10 (except perhaps Jello's infamous "thought provoking" alpine "F10"s)

 have you done a bunch of long alpine routes before? are you comfortable reading the weather and finding the route (up and down) 'out there'? do you know how to bail quicky and safely when you hear the rock buzz and the air tastes like biting down on tin foil while wearing braces [think lightning]?

 me, when i push my limits, either at the local roadside belay off the bumper crag or something alpine, i (like anyone) much prefer to do it with one of my (many) betters, who i know for sure can float the route at will, close behind me. alas, this is not always available. but i myself wouldn't push my limits without at least a partner i knew for certain (because i've climbed a lot with them) was at least as with-it and committed to the next step as i am (not an especially elite group).

all that said, it is an exquisite route with outstanding rock -- even for sierra alpine (which ties with chamonix' best as the absolute gold standard for alpine). but it's not pywiack dome. there is the occasional loose rock, and ledges big enough that falling onto one is effectively a groundfall. i found the cruxes brief and at the softer end of .10 -- i also found the route a legitimate workout as we raced the weather.

you _definately_ should do it. it's a winner. whether just now is the time, and whether the partner currently available to you is the person to share it with, is entirely up to you.

when you do do it, do start _really_ early (especially in august), and do wear a quality helmet.

that's a lot of do do, isn't it?

be well, have fun.


[PS: you are surely going to die; but probably not on Dana)

Aug 7, 2009 - 06:55pm PT
"i (like anyone) much prefer to do it with one of my (many) betters who i know for sure can float the route at will. alas, this is not always available. but i myself wouldn't push my limits without at least a partner i knew for certain"

short term memory self check: qouteing pip or the OP's (rockermike's) partner? can rocker for sure float the pillar? if so, why bother? i joke.

reminds me of our self mockery as lethargists at the end of an undeserved rest day..."clearly we could climb that stuff so why should we?"

Trad climber
The 7th Pin Scar on Serentiy Crack
Aug 7, 2009 - 08:05pm PT
If you can cruise Crescent Arch and Lucky streaks, you'll be fine.
Mighty Hiker

Social climber
Vancouver, B.C.
Aug 7, 2009 - 08:06pm PT
Twice upthread posters have said "...the descent to the base..."

Is there somewhere else one would descend to?
Lynne Leichtfuss

Social climber
valley center, ca
Aug 7, 2009 - 08:47pm PT
Super nice pics Walleye. Rock and Route seems to be pure 10k gold....beautiful.

Uhhh, don't even think the D word Dude.....don't is still to raw for too many of us. Think send and peace. lynnie

Trad climber
Kennewick wa
Aug 7, 2009 - 08:52pm PT
Hey Walleye,

Is that Eric Gompper on lead?

That guy was fun to climb with.

Mountain climber
Topic Author's Reply - Aug 7, 2009 - 09:08pm PT
damn; partner just bailed. Sudden work commitments. (ha)
Anyone else want to take a shot at it, Sun or Mon (or even Tues)?
Wunderground says the weather will be stable.

Or maybe I should just tie 3 ropes together, throw them off the top, rap down and top rope the thing. Is that unethical? ha I can see the ST thread now; "Who the hell has fixed ropes on the third pillar...?!" Hey dude, I'm just working the moves for my red point.
Lynne Leichtfuss

Social climber
valley center, ca
Aug 7, 2009 - 09:14pm PT
Good luck rocker......I'm pretty new but this rock/route looks like something really xtra special. I would treat it as such. Find the right karma and make it the memory of a lifetime. Jess Sayin. Lynnie

Ps, only rock that has put a hand on my heart. May have to get zerious......

Tucson, AZ
Aug 7, 2009 - 09:15pm PT
No... but do remember one thing.

YER GONNA DIE!!!!!1116666

great route!
Karl Baba

Trad climber
Yosemite, Ca
Aug 7, 2009 - 09:23pm PT

When you look over the edge and see what you are descending to commit to, if gives you a sick feeling or thrill or both. But It's all there. Once you are at the base, it doesn't look so bad


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