I have previously TRed the second pitch of this route, but this beta is concerning the first pitch:
The first 100 feet of the first pitch was good ol' 5.7 fun. There's a wide crack with feature in the crack at the start, then some good jamming and face moves to a ledge. From the ledge, the guide book says to stay on the same crack system, but the crack fades away into a bushy corner and there isn't very much (if any) protection. Face holds on this section were small and the climb seemed like it got a bit dangerous. Too sketchy for my blood...
I ended up traversing right to Haystack and finishing up on the more traveled route to the big ledge. Met another climber at the ledge who was on his way up Haystack. He said he had a similar experience on East Corner. It was late in the day so we decided to walk off toward Pop Bottle and head back to the car...
The first two pitches of this are really good, the last 5.0/4th just is. The first pitch starts out steep and has good jams/dike/cills and protection, I imagine that it would also be a good alternative start to Haystack. The second pitch is awesome fingers and seams/slab/rand smearing and has a boulder problem crux that feels like V4 to me and involves smearing on a vertical wall and pressing onto the right wall in order to get a foot up and grab a decent gaston with your left hand. I fell a few times at the crux (jacking up my ankle the second time). I lowered down to give it another go on TR and again I fell. Usually I don't struggle this hard on .11b but I got humbled on this route for sure. Be sure to bring stoppers and triples of blue through yellow alien and a black or two, I had my indian creek rack so 4sets of the small stuff (used every green alien). The crux took a Black Blue alien hybrid and a #4 stopper a few feet higher, you could place gear of a different size if you like, but it will be micro. The crack is a bit grassy in spots and needs a bit of cleaning, but where there are locks they are usually pretty good, where there aren't you have to rand smear and move quickly to the next lock. It's worth doing even if you can't pull the crux as the climbing is fuuuuunnn.
Followed 5/31/08 (I'm about a 5.8 trad leader, 5.10 follower). Sweet fingerlocks in the corner, mostly sustained 10a, more finesse than strength required. Pulled through crux on gear without much trouble. Very fun!
Photo: Chris McNamara
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