Rampage, Paisano Pinnacle III 5.10d
Avg time to climb route: 2-4 hours
Approach time: 2.5-5 hours
Descent time: 2.5-5 hours
Number of pitches: N/A
Height of route: 500'
OverviewRampage is an awesome climb on steep and clean continuous corners with good protection and clean falls. Itís stacked with quality climbing that is consistently challenging. This makes it an excellent choice for climbers looking to push themselves at the upper 5.10 grade. Maybe the only thing going against Rampage is the hike in; itís a long trek for a four-pitch route no matter how good it is. Many climbers combine a route on Paisano with the North Face of Burgundy, making it a grade IV day and bagging two peaks for one approach.
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Route HistoryBryan Burdo and Greg White made the first ascent in the summer of 1984. This was Burdoís first big first ascent. Burdo became well known as the stateís second most prolific first ascent climber with hundreds and hundreds of first ascents of both sport and alpine climbs. But in the early 1980s, it seemed Fred Beckey had already cherry picked all the good lines in the Cascades. As a result, almost no big new lines were climbed in the late 1970s and early 80s.
By 1981 and í82, recently invented cams arrived in the northwest, which allowed Cascade climbers to push themselves on harder climbs. With these new devices, Burdo soon realized that if he was gripped, he could just throw in a ridged stem friend and go for it. He felt this attitude made him climb better on alpine climbs.
In 1984, Burdo started climbing with Greg White, another strong Washington climber who shared Burdoís motivation and energy. The two challenged and supported each other. Ethics regarding first ascents were very strict at the time, and Burdo and White were inspired by many of the proud, onsite, boltless, ground-up, first ascents that were happening in Yosemite by climbers like John Bachar, John Long and Ron Kauk. The pair was a little nervous, but their route unfolded fantastically. Burdo and White found a very continuous line that offered fun and challenging climbing on good rock with abundant solid protection. The route went off with out a hitch. When the pair topped out, they almost couldnít believe their luck in finding such an incredible and classic line.
From this experience, Burdo started to realize that there could be other quality routes that had been overlooked by the great one. The same year, on a return to Rampage to add an extension to his line on Burgundy Spire, Burdo saw the steep splitter Pitch 1 of what would become Clean Break.
StrategyWhile this is a spectacular route, due to the grade and the hike, it is unlikely that you will run into other parties, even on a busy weekend. If you were to run into another party, passing would be difficult. The cruxes are all well-protected and the falls are all clean, making Rampage a great option for the aspiring 5.10 climbers to push themselves to the next level.
The route follows the big, obvious corner that is easily seen from the approach. However, you first need to negotiate either a 2nd and 3rd class ledge traverse coming from the left to right (this is the better option), or 60 feet of 3rd and 4th class to get to the actual start of the route. Either way, there is a little mandatory brush battling.
Pitch 1 is an easy, clean broken corner with a double chimney a short distance before the belay. Pitch 2 is one of the money pitches. Itís mostly 5.10 fingers in an open corner with the crux passing the triangular roof on the left. While the climbing is sustained, there are many stemming rests and the difficulty comes more from the technical climbing than the pump factor. This crux consists of thin, reachy finger locks with poor feet that eases off right before the belay. The good protection, clean fall and many stemming rests make this pitch a great option for climbers looking to push themselves at the grade.
The third and most difficult pitch is slightly awkward as you stem around a steep bulge and into flaring hand jams and off finger sizes. The rock is a little grainier here than on the rest of the route but not bad enough to be a factor. This pitch also protects well and sports a clean fall, making it a good option for climbers challenged by the grade.
The final pitch looks hard and nasty, but itís not. There are many hidden holds, and both the rock and the climbing are excellent. Stemming your way up a corner with interesting cracks, the climbing is a little spicey but nowhere near as difficult as much of the terrain youíve already come through. There is an obvious offwidth in a small roof that looks hard, but there are many hidden holds, and the wide section of the crack actually protects fairly well with small cams. As you pull the corner and think it is going to get bad, there are many large holds on your left. This section is a little runout, but you can get a few small cams behind a chockstone and in other small features. Only a little ways higher, the crack shrinks back down in size and takes 2-4Ē pieces of protection on fantastic rock. Finish the pitch on the left side; it is far easier and less strenuous than the 5.5 squeeze chimney.
Some climbers carry their approach shoes up and over, while others leave them at the base. From the top of Paisano, a bit of 2nd and 3rd class down climbing and two rappels gets you to a point about 30 feet below Burgundy Col. It takes most climbers about 25-40 minutes to get back to their shoes and the base of the route. You make the call on how comfortable your shoes are.
If you get to the top of Paisano earlier in the day, consider climbing the North Face of Burgundy. By climbing Paisano, you have skipped the worst pitches on the North Face and linking up the two peaks gives you an awesome grade IV, 11-pitch adventure.
Rampage is steep, relatively clean and gets full afternoon sun, so it tends to dry quickly after a storm. One exception is the crux on Pitch 2 next to the triangular roof. This crack can be a little slimy, even a few days after a storm, but you can easily pull through this section on gear.
About half the climbers ascending Rampage will camp in the basin and the other half do it in a long day from the car.
Retreat StormThere are no fixed anchors on the route and there arenít many trees to rappel off. Retreating would involve leaving gear; having two ropes would mean leaving less gear. Traditionally, there has been an old anchor underneath the triangular roof, but the age or condition of this anchor is unknown.
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