It is possible to rappel from the tope of Phobos/Deimos cliff. You'll need to find the top of Jeff Schoen's bolted route, which starts just left of the start of Phobos, and veers slightly left, whereas Phobos veers right.
There's a 2-bolt anchor, somewhat hidden, and for which access requires some minor (but exposed) scrambling. In B&W photo above, it's below the trees, left of Phobos. Note: you'll need two FULL LENGTH 60m ropes; regular 10-mm-ish ropes will stretch to allow the ends to hit dirt.
Awesome climb. The crux of P1 requires a bit of thinking (stem & chimney technique) rather than brute hand force. P2 can be started on the face of the left crack. You get into solid hand jam a few feet higher. The jugs/horns in the second half of P2 provide solid pro using slings if you ran out of cams.
DESCENT. Is it possible to rap from the top of Phobos to the base? We had a bit of epic experience ourselves. We tried to avoid the hike down and planned to use the bolt anchor on the top of Blues Riff P2. We checked the traverse to the anchor from the top of P2 on Phobos – it looked doable. When we topped out we found a bolt rap anchor to the right of P3, roughly above the bolted anchor on BR P2. I rapped on a 60m double rope. However, during the rap it was difficult to see the exact location of the anchor until I was too low and approx. 30ft too far to the right. I climbed up on the rope 15ft or so and tried to pendulum to the left to reach the anchor – no way without risking severe rope abrasion… The rope did not reach the ledge at the start of BR P2; so, the next obvious option was the upper ledge of the large block approx. 15-20 ft to the right. After a couple of swings I was able to get onto the ledge. When my partner arrived we set-up a natural anchor and rapped to the base. We made it OK but I would not recommend this descent option.
First pitch: so cool that you won't believe it. I thought for a second that I was screwed, then I looked down and the perfect little foot hold is hanging out in space for you. You'll know it when you see it. Second pitch IMHO is on par with Reed's Direct as far as steepness and it's sustained nature. The cool part is that it goes from one crack to a double
crack and then back to one, which means varied climbing moves (one jam in each crack) and ample protection. I think I can say that this is the best hand crack I've lead to date.)
Third pitch has one little sneaky crux right at the end to keep you on your toes.
6 pitches between the 2 routes (p & d), and barely a stinker in the bunch. I strongly suggest these routes, with a guarantee* (see warranty details) that you'll have a great time, plus the approach will serve as a good warm up.
You can TR Blues Riff by doing a long 5.6 traverse pitch from the top of pitch 2, not from the top of the cliff. Two 60m ropes needed.
I think most people find Deimos to be the harder of the two, not Phobos - I certainly find Phobos easier and less sustained. Both are awesome. Linking the first two of Deimos is the way to go, but you have to go light on gear and use long slings.
That bolted thing just left of Phobos is the Schoen project, a pic was in a magazine lately, it's called Mocha Choca-Late Ya-ya. Listed as "5.12+ project" (kinda funny, I'd think that you'd redpoint it first then rate it, especially with little knobs breaking off).
I thought Phobos was as good as Reid's Direct. Maybe better. Definately 5.9+ at the start! It's a bit harder than Deimos, but the better of the two, IMO, if you only have time for one of them. Supposedly you can TR Blues Riff from the top w/ two ropes. Some guys were having a total blast getting spanked doing this as we left.
Did Phobos along with Deimos on July 28.
1. Approach time 40 min. Park across Pywiak Dome ( at it east end). Phobos route should be seen directly in front of you from the road. From parking lot move up and left try to find a relatively good trail marked sometimes with the ducks.Heavy bushwhacking mean that you off trail.
2. Phobos line is obvious. We did it in 3 pitches. Climbing took 2 hours. First pitch 70-80ft, Second pitch -150 ft and third about 80-100ft.
3.Pro: 1set of nuts,
1 ea 0.5'-1.5'
1ea 4" is optional for first belay settings.
4. First pitch is short. There is triple crack with bulge at start of the route.Start with left crack, and after you clipped in two fixed pro ( one wide piton and other is stacked nut) try to traverse to middle crack and than to the right using good face and foot holds. This traverse move I think marked in Reid book as 5.9+.
5. Second pitch is amazing double crack. At the beginning while distance between two cracks is wide start with the left one. As those cracks merge hardest part of pitch is done.
6. Third pitch is simple. Just one 5.9 move in the middle of it and fun exit of body size crack ( don't let you butt stuck in it)
7. Decent to base of the climb took 20min. From the tope go right (if you face toward the road).Follow the trail marked with ducks. If you get terrain harder than class 3 - you off thr trail.
Photo: Chris Falkenstein
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