Good to know. We had a couple guys running laps on Sacher - so I didn't clear out the base and try to yard on it. I just hadn't heard it was loose and didn't pull on it to the point where it started resisting. Great route!
Did the route today, didn't know about the "loose" block. It's been a really warm summer and was still about 80-85 degrees when we were on it. As I was midway up the block it flexed big time, dirt came out and scared the sh#t out of me in part because I was completely surprised. Flexed again as I removed my hand jam, and cam that I had place behind it about 3 feet lower (as it flexed more there was no added resistance- and it moved about 1"). Very spooky.
Amazing, Amazing 200' route of the very best of Yosemite, but I wouldn't do it again. It's pretty easy near the block, but it's not obvious at the bottom that you've changed from a bomber flake to a block and you could easily (like I did) lay back 5-6 vertical feet before realizing it and place a cam behind it near its bottom. The thing is 2 feet thick, 2-3 feet wide and 8-10 tall. Would kill the climber and anyone at the base.
Crowbar? or put an new anchor below the block? Anyway heads up.
Supertopo's gear recommendation is a bit lean on the bigger stuff-bring two #2 and one or two #3 Camalots for the portion shared with Sacherer Cracker. Without a #3 you're a good 20 feet out from your last piece when you are getting established in the lieback section.
Tough climb! Felt a number grade harder than Five and Dime.
I thought it was hard, laybacked all the way from the Sacherer junction and had to reverse climb from half way to get a rest. I was disappointed when my partner bridged (stemmed) all the way up to and beyond the runner that I downclimbed from. It made me feel a bit silly, but I'm sure he must have longer legs.
CF reported today (4/6/07) that after the mild winter 2006/2007, the loose block is now a Big Deal:
"Did Mark Of Art today at the base of El Cap and be very careful of the loose flake 2/3's of the way up. The flake is in the Reid book. The flake groaned and moved as I climbed up onto it and the 2nd could move it with her feet.
One of the very best cracks in Yosemite, Mark Of Art feels harder than Catchy Corner(.11A). I've done it in the hot sun(not recommended) & in cool conditions, and it always feels stout. I like to take extra cams in the 1" to 1-1/2" size for the business but you need a large rack to do it in one 190'pitch with the Sacherer Cracker start. Bring extra 1" to 3" gear for this part. The "loose" block is No Big Deal. It isn't going anywhere soon. If you set a toprope for others, beware that there's over 370' of rope between climber & belayer at the start. With 6% elongation on most ropes at body weight, that means a fall from 20 feet up can still result in a groundfall.
This is one of my favorite 10dís. It can be liebacked the whole way which is burly, but it can also be entirely jammed which is what I prefer to do. Try it both ways for a good workout.
For both this climb and Sacherer Cracker, it is tempting to clip the bolted anchor at the top of Short but Thin. However, this will hold your rope over to the right and keep it in the crack as you climb. To avoid this annoyance, instead put a #1.5 Friend in the lowest bit of the finger crack before you step up onto the flake. This way the rope will hang to the left of the crack and stay out of your way as you climb. (A #0.5 Camalot might also fit, but you might want this size up on the Mark of Art part.)
Hard for 5.10d. There is a lose block near the top that is about the size of a refrigerator.
Photo: Chris McNamara
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