hmm...did this and didn't like it as much as I thought I would. It's definitely harder than Haystack, some parts seemed manky, gear placements weren't always obvious, but when things felt tricky, gear was there. I struggled in some sections, and Haystack felt like a piece of cake afterward.
Oh yeah, definitely the recommended start to Haystack. I'd suggest that the leader be comfortable at this grade. The second pitch of Haystack will feel soft after this one.
I had to solo up about 12 or 15 easy feet to my first small gear placement and gear higher on the climb didn't always come right when I wanted it. After the start, it was sustained 5.7 and 5.8 moves up to the reachy crux bulge, which I would rate 5.8+, but maybe I was just having a bad day. Anyways, that bomber jug was just out of reach right when the dikes and finger pockets disappeared. Unless your super tall, think liebacking. The hand crack traverse at the end is a very fun way to end the pitch, but I don't think its 5.6, felt more like 5.5 or maybe even 5.4.
I've been wanting to do this pitch all year. Glad I finally jumped on it.
Photo: Chris McNamara
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