Trip Report
A-Line variation on the Incredible Hulk
Saturday July 31, 2010 7:59pm
Beta disclaimer: in the process of trying to sort out the difference between the Beeline, the A-Line variation, and where we went, I decided to just put some of our photos online in lieu of calling up the A-Line guys whom I don't know and having one of those conversations that don't really matter because, after all, it all boils down do finding one's way up a beautiful chunk of High Sierra granite. This TR could spoil that experience for you, with all the photos and what not, so if you want to have that experience, I'll give the bottom line and you can skip all the blather below.

THE BOTTOM LINE:

Keep going up near the arete after the hard part of the big corner and you will find your way to the top on a bit of 'grungy' and a lot of 'stellar' at a grade that is no worse than what you did to get there.

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OK, on with the spraydown.


My buddy Rich drove out from Colorado to see what climbing under sunny blue alpine skies was like this week. Neither of us had been in to the Hulk but all reports were that it was one of those places. The new TR for the Beeline sweetened the deal a bit, since we were unsure of our ability to fire anything harder than the Red Dihedral and I would be climbing in Rich's size 15s (I'm a 10 1/2) until my resole came through. Further research on the Beeline revealed that it was, in fact, not quite the intended path of the FA party and there was an A-line that straightened out the top pitches. This bore further investigation:

Blocky, wide and grainy versus, um, blocky, wide and grainy on P1.  It...
Blocky, wide and grainy versus, um, blocky, wide and grainy on P1. It gets better fast.


Credit: Rhodo-Router

The grungy first pitch is best forgotten, but the climbing above makes it pretty easy:

P4 stembox of Beeline.
P4 stembox of Beeline.
Credit: Rhodo-Router

The big corner of pitch 5 is the route's most distinctive feature, easily visible from the descent gully. It tapers down to intermittent tips that take excellent tiny gear, pushing things well into the 5.10 realm for a couple of moves. Above this crux things open up again for another 40 feet or so and a major ledge is reached. Rich gave 'er a go but decided that the thin stemming exercise at the top was better suited to someone with fingers that fit in the blue Alien slot:

The pinched-off corner.  Beeline (and the A-line, apparently)s...
The pinched-off corner. Beeline (and the A-line, apparently)slabs up into the right-hand groove. We stayed in the corner until its end, rather than escaping onto the big ledge in the vicinity of that block on the skyline.
Credit: Rhodo-Router

Here's where our line perhaps began to diverge from the A-Line photos. Atop this obvious feature, a big ledge system extends out right beneath a lower-angel, furrowed red face. Left of this is a huge RF corner system defining the right margin of the central face beneath the summit blocks and register. The red furrowed stuff looked grainy and weird, as did exiting onto the ledge, so I remained in the tips corner (let's call it 'A-plus') until it deposited me on a ledge out by the main arete.

Here's Rich following in the big corner...

Rich palming his way out of the P5 business. [edit: This I'll call the...
Rich palming his way out of the P5 business. [edit: This I'll call the A-Plus corner, unless Dave Nettle already has a name for it. Apparently the A-line guys cut right as well to avoid this feature, as for Beeline]
Credit: Rhodo-Router

...and heading upward above:
Out of the big corner and trying to stay near the arete.  Big main cor...
Out of the big corner and trying to stay near the arete. Big main corner visible to R. Dihedral in between is grungy.
Credit: Rhodo-Router

Big main corner is just visible on the right. We didn't see the nice stemming corner described by the A-Line team, so I assume it's in there above the ledge system. Rich reached a junk-strewn ledge in 120 feet or so, after some grainy corners. This pitch was nothing special, but did grant us access to the exposed, clean aretes and dihedrals above. A shiny, coffee-table sized block marks the spot in the bottom left in this photo (taken from the shoulder on the descent):

P.6 coffee-table belay @ lower left.  P7 tunnel-through is obvious abo...
P.6 coffee-table belay @ lower left. P7 tunnel-through is obvious above.
Credit: Rhodo-Router

Above the coffee-table things looked a bit junky, but a 1' deep fingers corner to the right of the belay got me up to a point of decision about 40' up: either continue in the current system on stout-looking, thin changing corners, or peek around left under a chockstone and see what happened. 11+ wasn't in the game plan that day, so under the block I went. As it happens, you can step out onto a pillar here and really suss things out.

Hey! step out here!
Hey! step out here!
Credit: Rhodo-Router

And things are pretty good:

Credit: Rhodo-Router

I'm kind of a lead-hog, but figured I should save a bit for Rich to enjoy. He fired this bit right off the ledge and cruised up the final arete to the summit block in yet another clean, exposed handcrack (yawn).

That's the summit block up top.
That's the summit block up top.
Credit: Rhodo-Router

Credit: Rhodo-Router

Does this look familiar? "Straight-A Student?" "A-Plus Line"? ... it was pretty good....


Thanks Hulkster!

Gotta get that sensor cleaned...sorry.
Gotta get that sensor cleaned...sorry.
Credit: Rhodo-Router












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Rhodo-Router
About the Author
Rhodo-Router is deep in the throes of a dry-processed Ethiopian coffee bender.

Comments
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rhyang

climber
SJC
  Jul 24, 2010 - 09:48am PT
Great pics !
triggerhappy

Trad climber
Portland, OR
  Jul 31, 2010 - 03:39pm PT
Nice job guys. I was one of the guys who put up A-line. Following Nettle's topo, we skipped the pinched dihedral on pitch 5 and climbed the wide cracks out right instead. From the top of these, the beautiful finger crack is visible in the back of the large corner system up and left from the belay. Looks like you stayed farther left, then merged back up again higher for the last pitch or two to the summit. I was actually thinking in retrospect it might have been better to try that corner, glad someone did. Maybe best is to do your corner then step right to do ours.
Rhodo-Router

Gym climber
sawatch choss
Author's Reply  Jul 31, 2010 - 08:05pm PT
Interesting. Some of those intermittent fingerlocks seemed awfully licheny to have been climbed a month ago. The top of the pinched-off corner was certainly a low-traffic area at best. Aliens and brass.

Traversing right off our belay ledge would put one at the base of your fingercrack. That topout was really cool! Plus we had the ol' spirit of adventure going....should we take all this down and let folks discover it for themselves? I'm always of two minds about this stuff....

teletina

Trad climber
Bridgeport
  Aug 2, 2010 - 10:43am PT
Thanks Dave and Glen for the beeline is an excellent moderate route to add to the hulk lineup. The first pitch was grungy but should clean up soon. I don't know where the a line goes but staying in the corner variation on pitch five is awesome, great teeny gear, 10+, then a natural step back to the right to rejoin beeline? Nice way to spice up what I felt was an otherwise super 10a or 10- route. I'm glad we saw your report, Rhodo Router, and did that corner! Did not continue in that corner, looks like a great finish! Lots of ways to go! Kind of lost the route after pitch six, loved those stemming slots, and bailed to downclimb. Yah, Thanks hulk for another wonderful weekend!
survival

Big Wall climber
Terrapin Station
  Aug 2, 2010 - 11:24am PT
Beautiful!

Bump for A list climbing content!
le_bruce

climber
Oakland, CA
  Aug 2, 2010 - 11:36am PT
Looks so good. One vote not to take it down, Rhodo - golden inspiration for us city dwellers here. Your warning at the top will give all purists enough heads up.
Captain...or Skully

climber
  Aug 2, 2010 - 11:46am PT
Right on, Rob. Capt. America still shines.
Kick ass TR.
Zander

climber
  Aug 2, 2010 - 04:54pm PT
Wow, does that look like a good time.
Thanks for posting.
Zandert
Crimpergirl

Sport climber
Boulder, Colorado!
  Aug 2, 2010 - 06:21pm PT
Really nice! Thanks for the photos and the TR!
mike m

Trad climber
black hills
  Oct 16, 2011 - 10:09pm PT
Quality
Spike Flavis

Trad climber
Truckee California
  Oct 17, 2011 - 07:42am PT
Scroll down to B-line T.R. and rant on my blog. Photo James Colborn on B-line.
photo Mike Davis
photo Mike Davis
Credit: Spike Flavis
Stewart Johnson

climber
lake forest
  Oct 17, 2011 - 07:00am PT
looks like the line jay smith and myself climbed in 1985!
Vitaliy M.

Mountain climber
San Francisco
  Nov 11, 2011 - 12:34pm PT
Did anyone try the dihedral var to pitch 2? As you do the wide/hand double cracks you top out on 4th class terrain and go left into prominent corner instead of right to the original 5.8 crack.
corner on P2
P2 dihedral var
P2 dihedral var
Credit: Vitaliy M.

This corner could be seen on the approach (PROMINENT feature on the Right side)
Hulk.
Hulk.
Credit: Vitaliy M.

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