climbed Red Dihedral on sunday (6/10). small amount of mostly avoidable snow on the approach, bivy sites are in perfect condition with nice spring running nearby. The route up to the top of the ridge was dry, but the 3rd class traverse leading to the summit pitches (shared with PV I believe) was the crux of the route - icy, snowy, loose, and the summit pitches had quite a bit of snow and some icy cracks. the descent is pretty clear. don't think you need an axe or crampons, just be prepared for a dicey few pitches to the summit, or rappel PV. A party climbed PV the same day as us, rapped the route, said it was in great shape.
Rufus Lusk and I climbed the route in Aug 2010
Overall Supertopo describes the route very well and in great detail - thank you, Chris!
The route is incredibly good: sustained, variable, beautiful, well protected.
Few small comments.
Approach: river crossing is very easy - two huge logs cross the river next to each other. A nice trail goes up the sandy switchbacks.
Gear: One #3 BD is more than enough.
Pitch 2. It's 100', not 180' as Supertopo says.
Pitch 6. Ahhhh. Ohhhhh. Uhhhh. Ehhh. Verbal description impossible due to being emotionally overwhelmed.
Pitch 7. The beginning fell more like 5.9 steep hands but a long underprotected step right across the slab afterwards felt very tricky - like a 5.10c spooky move. It helps if you step down once you grab the crack to the right - the holds below are better.
Pitch 8. The topo maybe somewhat misleading. Ignore the useless bolt to the left. As the right facing corner finishes, just keep going up along two parallel finger cracks and then up the hand crack. It's a straight line. Every move is a 5.9 for 200 feet.
Traverse: Maybe there is a grade 4 scrambling path but we couldn't find it. What we did felt more like 5.7 traverse below the left side of the gendarme.
This is one of the best routes on the continent. The only other route I've done this good is Sunshine Crack in the Bugaboos.
Given the long, sustained pitches, I think a better rack recommendation would be a full set of nuts plus a double set of cams from tiny to 3", with triples in the fingers (yellow metolius) to hands (#2 camalot) sizes. There is no need for anything bigger than a #3 camalot.
This route is twice as hard and three times a good as the Red Dihedral, which IMHO doesn't deserve 5 stars.
Undeniably one of the best routes at the grade in the Sierra's. WOW! No pitch disappointed, and several are the best I've ever climbed anywhere. I second the recommendation from mission about the 8th pitch. You can rappel down Venturi Effect after the eighth pitch with two 60s, or an 80, (possibly a 70 but it would involve some zig-zagging). Definitely better than the ridge traverse, summit, then descent, that is if your ropes don't get stuck which is highly probable. Burl-tastic!
On the eighth pitch Chris McNamara's topo shows a short traverse to the left at a bolt to a possible belay. Instead, we followed the Croft topo at that point, climbing straight up for another 20 or 30 feet,then traversing right on sloping holds to gain a finger and hand splitter which leads to the top- highly recommended. The pitch is about 201 feet long!
Just got this from a SuperTopo user who just did the route:
Wanted to let you know that the Supertopo for Positive
Vibes has pitch two at 180'. I think it's about 80'.
Looks like you have the distance for the sunspot pitch
2 in place of the positive vibes pitch 2. I wound up
belaying around pitch 2 for the sunspot, which worked
out great because I didn't have any drag for the 5.11
traverse. Also, not sure that the finger crack leading
up to the 11a crux section is 10d. I think it's more
like 10a/b. Good work on the topo.
i talked to peter croft about the rating of this route. we both agree that the crux pitch, if led in one really long pitch, as is shown in the supertopo book, feels more like 5.11b. or you can break the pitch in two and the route is 5.11a.
The route as seen from the bivy spot.
Photo: Chris McNamara
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