Climbed this just after it was put up. Probably one of the first ten parties on it. Even got Greg to hand draw in the topo in my guidebook. This route is AWESOME! A lot of times you can convince a party or two in front of you to let you jump ahead in the queue for West Crack when you explain that you will be jumping off two pitches up. Also, skip the traditional second belay and stretch the rope to belay right next to the start of the traverse. Lessens rope drag considerably. DO THIS ROUTE and then go do SHAGADELIC on Medlicott!
I've done this route with several people and we all loved it, seasoned and noob trad climbers alike. The wide open face looks intimidating, but it's all there. And the roof at the end... so cool! I find it much easier, actually, than the start of p2.
This is a fun climb. You get most of the good parts of west crack, a great bolted/knobby pitch, and a wild overhanging arrete. Easy approach and easy descent, just watch out for crowds on west crack.
Definitely lead from the top of the first pitch of west crack up to the bolted belay for blown away. It is not a rope stretcher, but longer than I thought. Because of facing right on the ow part, I was afraid I had climbed too far. However, you don't leave west crack until the end of the ow section.
Instead of a #8 hex, a #1 camalot works as a passive placement in the hole (the hole opens up in back) after the first bolt.
The ST description says the second should also be a confident 5.9 leader. This is overly cautious even by ST's conservative standards. There is a swing potential after cleaning the first bolt (if the leader got a solid piece in the #8 hex/hole), but literaly one or two 5.6/5.7 moves down and to the left and the second is only facing a mild swing. The second does not face any other serious sections. The leader, however, does substantial 5.6/5.7 climbing 10+ feet above bolts. But the runnout sections are secure/grippy knobs and the less secure terrain is well bolted. So saying the leader should be a confident 5.9 leader is reasonable. If the second was a competent 5.7 leader, that should suffice.
The other possible tricky section for the second is the exit. ST shows the leader clipping the last bolt and climbing down and left to the main belay. An obvious alternative is to climb up and right to the alternative anchor. From this anchor, the second could then safely lower/downclimb to the main anchor. Another alternative (that my partner took) is to traverse left to the main anchor from the second to last bolt. Contrary to the topo, this bolt is at the same height as the main belay. There is a tricky move or two (if traversing) immediately after clipping/cleaning this bolt. However, the leader, after reaching the main ledge, can scramble up and to the right and get a small cam in that would provide a toprope for the second to reach the main ledge.
The overhanging arrete on the final pitch is short, but wild (for only 5.9) and fun.
I agree with August West in that supertopo is overly cautious on the 3rd crux pitch. It felt like sport climbing. Closest bolts I've seen in a while. Having a confident 5.9 follower is also overly cautious. I brought a friend up this route this past weekend and it was his second time climbing outdoors ever. He'd only been sport climbing once and has been to the gym maybe 3 times in his life. He did really well following and lead belaying and was never overly sketched out, even on the 5.9 slabs or roofs. So if he can do it, then anyone with any experience can do it as well. You can always reverse your moves and head up the rest of West Crack if you feel unstable. I thought the roof on 2nd pitch of West Crack was a bit burlier than the exit for Blown Away, but that may be because I'm 5'1". Also:'Mind-numbing exposure' is pretty accurate and awesome!
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