Mojo Rising, South Early Winters Spire III 5.11b C1+
Avg time to climb route: 3-6 hours
Approach time: 1.5-3 hours
Descent time: 1.5-3 hours
Number of pitches: 5
Height of route: 800'
OverviewMojo rising on South Early Winters Spire is a newer climb on solid and featured rock. It consists of a steep, bolt-protected face climbing pitch, some short but fun aid, followed by more moderate, traditionally protected climbing. Despite being a relatively new route, Mojo Rising is reasonably clean. On the lower pitches, this is a result of effort on the part of the first ascent team. With more traffic, the upper pitches will hopefully get brushed and cleaned of lichen. As this happens, Mojo Rising is likely to become known as a classic. Mojo Rising is a good route just for the quality of movement or to prepare for longer, mostly free, big wall style routes such as Liberty Crack, the Salathé or the Nose.
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Route HistoryFirst climbed in October 2006 by Mark Allen, Tom Smith, and Joel Kauffman. The idea for the climb occurred earlier that summer during a climb of the northwest corner of NEWS, when Mark Allen and Paul Butler got a closer look at this crackless Pitch 1. They were intrigued by the fun, sporty face as their eyes moved from feature to jug to seam and finally to crack. “Wow, that looks sweet!” Allen exclaimed then and the next three times he stood under the face that summer. He knew it needed bolts. After some internal debate and discussion with local first ascentionists, Allen decided it could be worth it. Finally, during the second week of October, Allen rap-reconned the face to confirm the line’s continuity before a single hole was drilled.
At this point, Allen thought the route looked worthy. The belay stances and the features rocked, but the gear did not. Allen, Smith and Kauffman established bolted anchors at three belays lower on the route. The trio spent some time cleaning and gardening the cracks that needed it the most – Pitch 3 and down, the steepest part of the route. Pitch 1 required seven pre- placed bolts over 90 feet and a short A0 bolt ladder to the belay. After the work cleaning, bolting and reconning the route, they pulled the lines and took a rest day.
The group started off at 8:45 on Oct. 13. Allen recalls, “Alpine starts were not an option during the fall cold temps and the face does not get sun until afternoon.” Kauffman was the first to redpoint Pitch 1 in the cool morning temps. The trio raved about this classic pitch. After Allen aided Pitch 2, Smith launched onto Pitch 3. Unable to trust his feet to place gear from, he resorted to three direct aid placements to gain the stellar dihedral. With darkness approaching, they fixed their lines and rappelled to the ground.
The following day, the three climbers returned and ascended their ropes. Kauffman lowered 15 feet from the anchor and pendulummed over to the ramp. They called this exposed 5.7 ramp, the “Sidewalk in the Sky,” then shortened it to the “Skywalker Pitch.” Next Allen recalls, “Originally, I had planned to work the line up the laser corner crack formed by the dihedral. This did not directly connect with our summit cracks. On the other hand, just to the left was a much simpler 5.9 crack that did connect. The choice was simple. I got into an insecure layback with dirty flaring ring locks.” One more moderate pitch and they gained the Southwest Rib and simul-... [full history for SuperTopo members only!]
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