Pop Bottle, Lover's Leap, East Wall 5.7
Avg time to climb route: 2 hours
Approach time: 15 minutes
Descent time: 15 minutes
Number of pitches: 2
Height of route: 200'
OverviewWith just a few moves of 5.7, Pop Bottle is a great introduction to the East Wall. While the route ascends lower-angle rock, a few steep bulges add some spice. This route was originally rated 5.6 but has become more difficult due to rock fall.
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StrategyThe crux comes 50 feet off the ground and requires an awkward reach over a roof to a hidden hold. Belay at the golden rock scar if you want to see and hear your partner. After the gold scar comes the second crux. Climb on face holds (5.6) to the right of the difficulties, head straight up on steep 5.7 jams, or reach left in the corner to keep it 5.6. The big ledge lacks solid cracks and only a few decent belay options exist (save some medium cams). Another option is to belay 20 feet before the ledge on small gear. You can escape left on 3rd class and a few 5.1 moves.
The second pitch starts with a boulder problem followed by a few slightly runout face moves. The climbing then eases to 4th class at which point either walk off left or continue up and right on low-angle terrain to the two-bolt second pitch anchor. Climb the third pitch if you must stand on the top of the wall. This pitch does not challenge or inspire.
ApproachThe approach is mostly flat and takes 10-15 minutes from the campground or 5 minutes from the east parking lot. From 50 feet east of the campground bathrooms, take the Old Pony Express Trail (the main trail) east. After 5-10 minutes and once even with Haystack at the left side of the East Wall, turn right onto a climbers’ trail. Another few hundred feet of trail and talus puts you at the base.
DescentThe descent takes 10-15 minutes. From the top of any route, walk away from the edge for 10-50 feet and pick up a climbers’ trail that switchbacks down to the northeast. Reach the Old Pony Express Trail and turn left. A hike of 100 yards puts you back in front of the East Wall.
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