I'm not qualified to comment on routes, I don't think, but since this is my favorite climb i'd love to share my positive experience!
Regardless of whether or not this climb is 5.8, I'd have to say that this is my favorite route ever. I've only followed it, but, I would be willing to lead it as soon as i'm solid on the sharp end. I'm still confused as to why its rated 5.8 and not 5.7, so if someone could spell it out in black and white, i'd be grateful. regardless, this route is super super fun. I highly recommend this route, it gives you a little of everything and has great vistas. I had so much fun sitting in that little cave belaying while enjoying my view from up high. I would love to do some similar climbs!
re." I'm still confused as to why its rated 5.8 and not 5.7, so if someone could spell it out in black and white, i'd be grateful. "
Ratings aren't special badges that are forever stamped on a route by the FA. Ratings are subjective guidelines that are simply used to describe relative difficulty. In this case the guidebook author felt that 5.8 was a more appropriate description of the routes difficulty than 5.7 would be. In other words, 5.8 is simply an educated opinion. If you write you own guidebook to SugarLoaf you can publish whatever grade you like. Makes sense?
A nice route. It didn't really feel physically more difficult than say Corragation at the Leap but the unprotected nature adds some spice. I would recomend the 5.8 stemming finish, a great way to end the climb and the crux in my opion.(tricky sequencing).
The pins under the roof look decent. The Wild Country green monster is really too small to protect this so you pretty much have to deal with the runout. However the climbing is very casual compared to some chimneys at that grade. 5.7 seems about right. (I lead it)
Found a better way to go on this one a few days ago.
Start on the Fang(5.9). This has a weird flare crux to a chimney.
Way more interesting than the bs start of Hardings.
This puts you just below the Harding Chimney crux.
At the top, instead of the tunnel through, continue on the hand traverse on the east side until 2 bolts lead to the very summit.
The traverse is 5.easy, the bolted face isn't on the topo but maybe 5.9. Watch out for drag. IMO this is a much more natural line to take.
Photo: Chris McNamara
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