Did this route Jan 28, 09. Great time. My first multi-pitch that I led the whole thing. Took my roommate up it. His first multi-pitch and second time outdoors. He had a blast. No falls. Solid the whole way through. I did the last pitch in the dark with no headlamp. Pretty awesome.
The descent was a little hard to find in the dark but real straight forward once we found it.
I thought the 5.8 crux was very well protected, with an orange Metolius cam a few feet left of my knees. Some apparently climb a few feet higher than I did before traversing right, but there was a good foothold where I stepped right, then up. The move didn't seem any harder than a few awkward portions of the crack below. The two pitches protected very well. We finished on After Six.
I heard some climbers on the shuttle saying this route was just as good as Nutcracker, and they were right. The first pitch is well protected and shouldn't be any trouble for the seasoned 5.8 leader. There are a few polished moves but nothing scary. I had a ball with the mixture of crack and face!
The intermediate pitches were cruisers with a few fun crux moves here and there. The wide 5.5 crack made me stop and think, but it wasn't much trouble once I got on it... what a cool feature! There are some runouts here and there but they're always in easy territory. Even if there were opportunities for pro, I probably wouldn't have placed gear.
We found a variation at the finish that had me howling with joy... we followed a 5.7 slabby crack (part of the zig-zag variation) to a leftward-arching roof. The roof offered but a few reachy fingerlocks (that eat up ~.75" cams) and side-pulls while the feet were smears on the slab. Looks hard, climbs easy, goes at 5.8. Do it! Wow!
If you stretch out a 60m rope, you can do this climb in 5 pitches with ledges at every belay.
I underestimated this very good climb. After not climbing off the ground for a while, I walked up to this climb expecting to cruise it. Instead, I found myself plugging as much pro as possible and hesitantly moving through the crux. Be confident on 5.8 before heading up on this one.
After Seven is the starting variation on the right.
Photo: Todd Snyder
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