Here is the story on why we called this the Fly or Die pitch. It has nothing to do with a fall, by the way.
before we started the route we were driving around Yosemmite in Randy Leavitt's car, a big old American boat of a car (I think he was a painter at the time, as it had rollers and brushes crammed in the trunk). Anyway we were listening to a story on a talk radio show about homing pigeons being a popular sport in the southern US. Most people spoke lovingly of their birds, and how they train them for these long flights. But this one guy described how he has a winning flock because he wrings the necks of birds who are weak fliers - and his specific quote was in full southern, toothless Deliverance drawl: "When I open that cage door I say to them birdies, 'get movin' little fellas, 'cause its fly or die.' We cracked up, and carried that quote up the wall. Any place the aiding got dodgy one of us would call down "Its fly or die up here." But when Randy got into the insane bulge of the eponymous pitch, he looked down at me, grinned and we both agreed right there that his lead would be named The Fly or Die pitch.
We climbed LIA June 09 and it is kick ass. Since there was no recent beta here is my recommended pin rack and condition of route beta post:
9 Beaks 3 each #1,2,3
8 KB's 2 each #2-5
3 LA's 1 each #1-3 (we had this, ST says 10 total)
4 Angles 2 each 1/2",5/8"
4 SA's? 2 each 3/4",1" (we didn't place any)
We tried to tread light with the hammer and had all the normal, essential clean gear: HB's (aluminum and brass), C3's, Hybrid Aliens (2 sets), 2 other sets of aliens, ast. cam hooks. We didn't place any heads and thought the route goes at an honest A3+.
Zak Mills, Hayden Robinson and I climbed the route October 2018.
We really enjoyed the climb, very steep and exposed! Zak was our free climbing rope gun and he found the 5.10r pitch to be no big deal, with the crux being right off the belay anchor. He found the big cams we brought useful on the 5.9r pitch above.
We brought the suggested pin rack but placed no sawed angles on the route and only 3 or 4 Lost Arrows, mostly on the last few ZM pitches. Big beaks were the ticket.
Many fixed heads on this route and we only had to place one after a whip ripped 3 out, most seemed pretty solid to me. Thank you Mark Hudon and Cheyne for cleaning out old fixed junk!
If I were to do this route again I’d bring patching material and patch many of the stupid useless bathook holes that have been drilled along the route.
I would compare this route with Aurora and Shortest Straw as far as character and difficulty. I thought the A4 section felt like C2 hooking across a bomber flake and was protectable with cams and beaks.
Max Jones and I climbed this dang good route over five days (with one pitch fixed) in October of 2012.
We thought every single pitch on the route was good and had at least some interesting climbing on it.
We removed 12-18 heads we were able to climb past via other means, mostly cleanly and removed 8-12 deadheads. Additionally we remove all the tat from the route, a condition climbers coming after Max and I climb a route better get used to since we have developed an easy and safe method of cleaning it from fixed gear using a 25 foot length of 5 mil cord.
We felt the ratings were usual a full number grade exaggerated. I base this against the "Coral Sea" on Native Son and the A4 on LIA simply can not stand up to the comparison.
On the "Fly or Die" pitch someone drilled a 3/8" bolt between two rivets as well as two bat hooks. These most surely should be removed.
All anchors are at least 3- 3/8" bolts and the ST rack is, as is usual, heavy on the iron side.
The "runout 5.10" is really no big deal and is less runout and easier than the runout 5.9 on Iron Hawk.
Lost in America is route number 26.
Photo: Galen Rowell
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