Like Patrick, this is not really beta, more like "spray". Like so many others, on my first trip to the Valley (1972, note the common theme here), this was my first aid route. I was so young, I didn't even know about "clean" climbing, so I bashed my way up it with all the pins I had (not many, as a noob, poor teenager). I don't remember how far I got, or how we got down. I might have even left a single pin from which we rapped back down on!
I remember grabbing a stick and some tape to clip the bolt below the jugs. Woo. Face moves to awkward jugs and a swing into the crack. The rest was a blast except for my frightened foreign belayer who said he was a 5.11 climber and couldn't due the route without tension. Awesome route.
I nailed the route well before 1972, and I can assure you that the scars were already there.
I prefer not to link the pitches. You not only get by with a smaller rack, the sling belay really isn't all that bad a place to be. In addition, that start (even if it's mostly French-freed) keeps the crowds away, compared with around the corner.
I definitely agree with the tourist comments, though. On Washington's Birthday weekend in 1972, we tried to free the first pitch, failed, and ended up doing several moves (and some of the second pitch) on aid. Before we finished, there were tourists bringing blankets and picnic baskets to watch us!
This route is super fun and it was my first 10a in The Valley. Even the bolt ladder at the start was a blast. The topo shows four bolts and when we climbed it earlier this week it seemed the third bolt was missing. Still, if you can climb 10a face then it shouldn't be a problem.
We broke the climb into two pitches. Since the intermediate belay is above and to the left of the crack, it was exciting moving from the belay back to the crack for the second pitch. I found the sustained 5.9 climbing to be harder than the very short 10a section, which seemed to be just one big move between pin scars, then you can grab a bomber flake and it's pretty much over at that point.
I climbed the start clean 2nd try by brushing the 4 holes and switching to downturned shoes. The Route protects well. Linkup is fantastic if you bring 20+ runners and save small stuff for the top :)
This is the most accessable line in the valley (heavy foot traffic). Expect to be accosted by the curious talkative tourist.
had to french free the first 20' as I max out at 5.10c on lead. the rest of the climb took long runners and cams TCU to #3 Cams. really nice exposure, hand traversing and accessability.
Photo: Chris McNamara
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