I don't agree with Karl about the start of this one. Jamming will be more technical than liebacking, but I found it to be much easier since the lip is quite round at a few spots. If you are thinking of leading this one, jamming will give you some good pro well before you could get any from the lieback start.
Even though I do liebacks only as a last resort, there are a few spots up higher that I lieback.
Overall, this one felt demanding for the grade.
(He also meant that the climb is wet in the spring. This is, sadly, quite true.)
As aid route, this one can be an awkward lead (I would recommend P.O. wall pitch 1 as a first aid lead over this route). If you weigh 200+ lbs, the sloping angle of the crack can make some of the smaller placements dicey (my BIG partner pulled two well placed aliens after rocking over to place the next piece).
I would say this is a fair 11b, no harder and certainly not stiff for the grade. I think it just looks intimidating. We looked at it for years at teenagers and I guess because it had that 5.11 rating we always found a reason to bypass it. When my partner and I finally did it, we found it straight forward.
Despite what the Yose Valley Free Climbs ST says, the second pitch is closer to 60 feet (not 100 as stated in the topo). A 60 m rope won't reach the ground from the top of the 2nd pitch but I think a 70m might come close.
From the top of the 2nd pitch there is a more moderate looking hand/fist crack going up and slightly right, but my partner wanted to rap after the 2nd pitch so I didn't get to check it out.
The base routes are scattered to the left of the SE Buttress.
Photo: Chris McNamara
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