Did this yesterday and it was really fun. We had shade all morning, topping out around noon, so we were cold at the belays and OK in long-sleeves when moving.
First, the top crack leaves from the RIGHT of the lower crack, not from the left, as shown in the SuperTopo. The perspective from the bottom is maybe confusing since if you view the route from the left, and the top crack can appear to the left, but it is clearly actually to the right. We took a while to commit to the climb because of this significant inconsistency, but it is certainly the only crack system all the way to the top anywhere between NorthWest Books and the edge of the morning shadow.
As others have said, the 5.10 cruxes are short and well protected, even probably aid-able if you had to. The SuperTopo seems to show nearly half of Pitch 3 as a 5.10 lie-back, but I found straight-in jams went at more like 5.8 until the very top 5 feet of this section, just pulling onto the third belay ledge.
The most demanding part is definitely the 5.9 slab at the top. It's right above a ledge so falling could mean a broken ankle. We had our belay as indicated in the SuperTopo. I'm not sure I would have liked the belay just below this move since it would have put me at risk of falling onto or past my belayer. A cam certainly fits in the pin scar, maybe #0.5, but I chose not to place it since I needed the hold to do the move with any security. If you know how to climb slab, it's 5.9, but if you don't have slab experience, it could be dangerous.
The rest of the route was a blast! Super fun 5.10 moves interspersed among a lot of easier climbing.
Fun route with some powerful moves between good holds.
Very well protected except the aforementioned 5.9 slab at the top which was basically just 1 move. We stopped and belayed at the great ledge right below this section. This meant we had a 40' pitch to the top, which was a hassle, but it also means the belayer has a much better chance of keeping you off the ledge if you blow the (insecure for me) friction move. A red/orange offset Master cam was okay in the pin scar and there's a bomber cam at your feet.
a #2 tricam protects the start of that last pitch really well.
I love this climb. First climbed it before the guidebook and it was called 5.9, then it was 10a in the first reid/falk, then 10b in a later version then 10c! All I did was get older, weaker and fatter but I was getting better.
I did this route with Miguel Carmona in 86. I was just below the finger crack crux chalking and pondering, pondering, chalking, then chalking and pondering some more,when J. Bacher suddenly appeared from below, ropeless, and politely asked if he could climb through!
Since Supertopo is now indicating where difficult moves can be aided, I'll tell my story about this climb. I did it in 2002, with my friend Ryan leading it. The sun was going down as we got to the 10.c crux, and I was tired, getting cold, and getting nervous about finishing the route. Anyway, after flailing on the pin scars for some time, I stuck in a little Alien as high as I could reach (I'm 6'), yarded on it, and was past the crux no problem. Because of this, I would definitely say that leaders could take up a follower who climbs below 10.c, just make sure you leave them a little cam or two for that pitch.
Just got back having done this route today (8/22/04) with Steve and Gary. Great route. Except for the very top where one 5.9 slab move gets you up to pro, the route protects great with nuts and cams.
The SuperTopo was accurate. The fixed angle above the 10c section is broken and should be removed (no need for it anyway). We found hybrid-Aliens nice in some of the pin scars. Depending on how high you go, running together the first two pitches may be less then 200'.
We did the route in two pitches. The first pitch is a bit weird for the grade. Its crux is protected by two old pitons tied off with ancient, bleached webbing.
The second pitch has awesome, secure, super-well-protected fingercrack cruxes. However it finishes with some 5.9 slab climbing that I found to be a bit terrifying. You're climbing directly off a ledge, with the last real pro placed while standing on the ledge. It is possible to get a couple of sketchy alien placements in this section (where the topo says "pin scar--not pro"), but it's 10-15 feet until you can get real pro once again.
THe splitter crack system up Lembert Dome creates the Direct Northwest Face.
Photo: Chris McNamara
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