Trip Report
Adventure on an unclimbed Sierra tower
Tuesday September 11, 2012 3:15am
I don't know exactly when I first saw this rock, but I draw lines on my Sequoia/Kings Canyon map everywhere I walk so I know I've seen it from several angles.
Credit: limpingcrab

The first time I really looked at it and wondered about the climbing potential was two years ago while hiking around Panther Peak. I thought it looked like a giant stone fort, and wondered if it had been climbed by the people who explored Castle Rocks. I asked around and was excited to hear that nobody knew of any lines on it! EC Joe and friends had hiked out and looked at it in the late 80s or early 90s, but decided not to climb because they needed a "more specialized rack" than what they brought.

Now all I needed was a lot more skill, a lot more knowledge, and a climbing parter who would be willing to deal with a lot of unknowns.
Credit: limpingcrab

I called up Tom last Spring, a climbing parter from the central coast. He was the only person I knew of who had the ability and experience to make up for my lack thereof. During the Summer he helped me with strategy and climbing technique over a few weekends at the Needles and Sequoia. Patience is not one of my virtues, but I am gifted at getting in over my head. I decided I couldn't wait any longer, but Tom had some of his own plans and projects so he wasn't up for the trip.

Hmmm...where to find a partner....the internet! I remembered seeing Vitaliy post something like, "if anyone knows of any unclimbed towers with a rough approach, and preferably far from the John Muir Trail, let me know." So I did. He was instantly onboard and excited. My wife was less excited. She assumed that if I met him online then he probably didn't know how to climb and was probably a rapist. I told her it was SuperTopo, so she was probably right.

We picked a date and were good to go. I texted Tom to ask some last minute questions, and a few messages later he was now back in on the climb. Vitaliy and I were happy he changed his mind, as it's always nice to have a crazy strong climber along when you don't know what to expect.

Credit: limpingcrab
It was September 7th and finally time to carry the extra heavy packs. I hiked out to the base of the rock a couple of months ago and it looked like we were gonna need wiiiiide gear, so we had doubles from small to a #4 camalot, one #5 and one #6. We also had some aid gear and a bolt kit just to make sure the packs weren't all sissy and lightweight.

Credit: Vitaliy M.
Toms dog Sunny carried his fair share too.

Credit: limpingcrab
Credit: limpingcrab
The hike from the Paradise Ridge trailhead was going quick. We climbed 2,000ft over the first three miles to Paradise Ridge where we left the trail. I was smiling to myself and thinking about how I was finally going to climb this thing, and with two great partners, when a woman's scream made me jump! Just as I was preparing to rescue some poor girl from a mountain lion I noticed Vitaliy thrashing through the forest flinging poles and hitting himself. The scream was from Vitaliy, and the cause was a swarm of yellow-jackets. When all was said and done we uncovered four nests, I was bit once, Tom twice, and Vitaliy about a dozen times.

Credit: limpingcrab
On and on and on we went, down through the brush and bugs...

Credit: limpingcrab
Credit: Vitaliy M
Our first view of the rock boosted morale, and made me nervous. I had been nervous and excited all week. A text from Vitaliy a few days earlier summed it up pretty well: "Awful drive, hard approach, heavy packs, unknown partners, unclimbed spire. If I told my friends that I am excited about this they would think I am a retard!"

Credit: limpingcrab
Credit: limpingcrab
Six hours and six miles from the car we were at the base, and Sonny was excited.

Credit: limpingcrab
We found perfect bivy spots and started a fire. By "found perfect bivy spots" I mean "dug out the dirt and rock to try to make something reasonable to sleep on."

Credit: limpingcrab
The views were great as we hung out around the fire trying our best to guess at what we were in for the next day. Listening to Tom try to convince us that Astroman isn't super hard and Vitaliy talk about climbing on basically every rock I had heard of, I knew that I was the weak link in this group. The comfort of knowing I was with a strong team was matched by the worry of letting it down.

Needless to say nobody got much sleep, no thanks to the super-sized nocturnal ants.

Credit: limpingcrab
Morning! Time to put my money where my mouth is after thinking about this for two years! Yikes. You can basically see the line we took up above Tom.

Credit: Vitaliy M
After scrambling as high as we could I took pitch one, trying to get us to the main corner system. It went at about 5.8 or 5.9 and the pro was OK, but the hardest moves were the least protected.

Credit: limpingcrab
This is fun!

Credit: limpingcrab
The view from the first belay isn't bad either.

Credit: limpingcrab
Credit: limpingcrab
Vitaliy fires up pitch two and encounteres the first of what becomes a common sight; death block! It may not be stable, but it makes a really cool noise when we knock on it. Glass half full right?

Credit: Vitaliy M
Pitch two (5.8) stops short at a decent belay ledge and Tom soon heads up pitch three in his usual confident style.

Vitaly: "How was that gear"
Tom: "Sh$%ty"
Me: "Get anything good in yet?"
Tom: "No"

Vitaliy and I look and each other and I'm grateful that I'm not on the sharp end.

Credit: Vitaliy M
Tom belays us on separate ropes as we follow pitch three, with myself coming to the belay last. The gear on that pitch isn't great right off the belay, but gets much better once it hits to the main corner. It's long and goes at about 5.10a with some fun liebacking.

Credit: Vitaliy M
I lead pitch four off of the hanging belay and into an awkward chimney thing, which is the cause of the scabs on my back. It might not have been as awkward if I had any idea how to climb a squeeze. This pitch took me a looooong time (sorry Tom and Vitaliy). Part of the reason was that I could not see if there was good gear ahead, and every time I had to make a committing move I would hesitate first.

Credit: Vitaliy M
Another reason was that I was never sure if the blocks and flakes ahead were just waiting to come out onto my lap. You can see me above doing my best to avoid a block, but the rock on that pitch turned out to be solid. The main reason for the TWO HOUR lead was that I had to drill a bolt. It was the first time I drilled a bolt on lead as well as the first time I drilled a bolt by hand, and hopefully my last.

Tapping away with the hammer on a stance with a couple bad cams helping to ease the strain, I used up my energy. The climbing ahead looked unprotected, dirty and hard. I used the bolt to pendulum over to an easy ramp that lead to the base of the big chimney. Vitaliy swung over as well, but Tom climbed up the munge and said it was a solid 5.scary (aka 5.11, dirty, and crumbly). I no longer felt bad about the pendulum.

Credit: limpingcrab
Vitaliy gets back on lead and can be seen above headed into the chimney. Super bold lead getting over that block, bravo!

Credit: limpingcrab
Up he goes, as Tom and I huddle away from the shower of chimney debris and watch to see if any of the rock missiles head for Sunny. One baseball sized chunk kills Toms backpack, but the dog survives.

As the chimney opens up into what smells like a bird crapper, Vitaliy traverses left to the base of a wide dihedral. The pitch is probably 5.8 and is mostly up a chimney, but there are a couple loose spots.

Credit: Vitaliy M
Credit: Vitaliy M
Credit: limpingcrab
Tom and I traverse left to the awesome exposed fifth belay. Vitaliy tells us to look down at the exposure, and then quickly lets us know that the flake we are traversing is completely detached. My stomach is now in my throat.

Credit: Vitaliy M
There he is, enjoying our adventure, the belay location, and my fear.

Credit: Vitaliy M
Have you ever climbed a really hard off-width? Have you ever climbed on so much lichen that it fills your eyes, nose and mouth? Combine those and you have yourself a mental image of pitch 6.

Credit: limpingcrab
As Tom climbs the squeeze start there is so much lichen that Vitaliy and I feel like were in a brown blizzard. Tom feels like he stuck his head out of the car in the same blizzard, and none of the words he's saying sound very happy.

Credit: Vitaliy M
But he has Tom power, so he's able to pull it off and we follow suit. Vitaliy frees all of the moves, while I'm happy to get some successful hand stacks and knee jams in between weighting to rope. 5.10c off-width isn't even in my vocabulary, so I had no shame in cheating.

Credit: limpingcrab
We're dirty, we're tired, but we're at the notch and almost there!

Credit: limpingcrab
Daylight is running out so Vitaliy racks and starts to head off on the seventh and final pitch as I get off belay.

Credit: Vitaliy M
Two years of dreaming, one year of planning and training, almost 11 hours of climbing, and I feel like I'm on top of the world! Well, I actually feel like I need water and am gonna barf, but that's not as poetic.

Credit: limpingcrab
Credit: Vitaliy M
Credit: limpingcrab
Credit: limpingcrab
Light is fading so we get going and place a register. It's not obvious which summit block is the highest, so we put it on the westernmost one.

Credit: limpingcrab
One rap off the back into a saddle and a rope snag follow before we start to walk back to camp.

Credit: limpingcrab
It got scary and dark...

Credit: limpingcrab
And tired and dirty...

Credit: Vitaliy M
But Sunny had a fire going for us when we got back.
A little whiskey, a lot of water, and a night of bad sleep were our reward, but we were happy campers.

Credit: Vitaliy M
Credit: Vitaliy M
Credit: Vitaliy M
5.5 hour hike out the next morning and we were ready for some rest.

We named the rock "The Fortress" because it looked like a fort and fit with the nearby castle rocks theme.

Route info:
The Siege
7 pitches, grade IV
5.10c A0
gear up to #6 (2 #5 would have been nice)
During the climb the rock was compared to everything from middle cathedral to a giant pile of choss flakes, and in reality probably somewhere in between or a bit closer to cathedral. Overall it was fun and a bit scary, but not as bad as I made it sound, I'm just a sissy.

Thanks to Tom and Vitaliy for being awesome climbing partners and being up for something out of the ordinary. Sorry if I made mistakes in this report or implied that you screamed like a girl when in fact you didn't :)

Thanks for reading. I'm no writer and this is my first trip report, but I hope everyone enjoyed it!

If anyone has already climbed The Fortress, too bad, we put it on the internet first and left a register at the top. Just kidding, please share as I'd love to hear about it. Either way we enjoyed the adventure.

  Trip Report Views: 8,181
About the Author
limpingcrab is a trad climber from the middle of CA.

mountain dog

Trad climber
over the hills and far away
  Sep 11, 2012 - 03:36am PT

Trad climber
Las Vegas, NV.
  Sep 11, 2012 - 03:40am PT
Awesome TR. Way to get after it! Ground up and one bolt in 7 pitches? Well done.
Clint Cummins

Trad climber
SF Bay area, CA
  Sep 11, 2012 - 04:47am PT
Grand adventure! Thanks for sharing.

  Sep 11, 2012 - 07:17am PT
I saw that formation from the Middle Fork trail a few months ago and had wondered if anyone one had climbed it. Too obscure I had thought...

Nice achievement and nice write up!
Dos XX

Trad climber
Los Angeles, CA
  Sep 11, 2012 - 08:04am PT
Adventure climbing at its best. Fantastic send & TR!
Captain...or Skully

Boise, ID
  Sep 11, 2012 - 08:34am PT
I can dig it.....TFPU, man, er Crab. ;-)

Trad climber
Nor Cal
  Sep 11, 2012 - 08:50am PT
Thanks, Nice Adventure!

Big Wall climber
Newbury Park
  Sep 11, 2012 - 08:54am PT
Great work! Way to get after it!

Social climber
Mill Valley, CA
  Sep 11, 2012 - 09:23am PT
Nice one...and you didn't even have to wait in line!

Trad climber
Hustle City
  Sep 11, 2012 - 09:26am PT
First rate!

Random Nobody
  Sep 11, 2012 - 09:42am PT

Really great Trip Report.

Felt like I had done it all.

Proud, and super-glad I didn't have to do it all.

Thanks for posting,


Trad climber
Ouray, Colorado
  Sep 11, 2012 - 10:40am PT
Very nice lads!!! Glad to see new routes still being pioneered ground up in good ole blue collar fashion.
Tony Bird

Northridge, CA
  Sep 11, 2012 - 10:52am PT
cheers for this, in the best tradition.
Vitaliy M.

Mountain climber
San Francisco
  Sep 11, 2012 - 11:25am PT
Thank you for the invite to climb. Middle Cathedral-alike wall in the middle of no where was only in my wildest dreams, and not for this year. Getting stung by yellow jackets was for sure worth it. Even if we didn't climb anything it would be worth it.

PS: Hope your wife is ok with us climbing again since we actually met. Just don't meet any other dudes for unclimbed spires! ; )

Boulder climber
Andy Cairns
  Sep 11, 2012 - 11:39am PT
Amazing all around.

Ants are not nocturnal!

Social climber
Lida Junction
  Sep 11, 2012 - 11:41am PT
Looks like an adventure

  Sep 11, 2012 - 11:45am PT
Nice line. However the Mayans may not of had it wrong after all.

Social climber
Moorpark, CA.
  Sep 11, 2012 - 11:52am PT
Very Nice...
dirt claud

Social climber
san diego,ca
  Sep 11, 2012 - 11:55am PT
Awesome adventure guys, great FA.
Not sure if you new about this, but tooth paste works really well on bee/wasp stings. I thought it was BS until I I used it last year, takes the pain\itch away.

  Sep 11, 2012 - 12:01pm PT
So, you did it, eh?

You lied in your trip report that nobody knew of lines on that crag.

Remember the BETA I gave you?

Credit, where credit is due, crabbie patty!


Gym climber
Minkler, CA
Author's Reply  Sep 11, 2012 - 12:08pm PT
Thanks everyone!

Credit, where credit is due, crabbie patty!

Oh ya, sorry, I remember you said you looked at it also. I just meant nobody knew of anything that had been climbed. TR update added :)

  Sep 11, 2012 - 12:09pm PT

  Sep 11, 2012 - 12:35pm PT
Good job!

East Bay, CA
  Sep 11, 2012 - 12:37pm PT
Wow, awesome!
Lichen chimney? Well done gents.

Gym climber
Minkler, CA
Author's Reply  Sep 11, 2012 - 12:51pm PT
EC & RL had to have been on it one time or another

He told me in a short email that they looked but did not climb. Must have got distracted by Tehipite Dome or any one of the dozens of other lines he was putting up

Trad climber
Fresno, Ca
  Sep 11, 2012 - 12:59pm PT
Stellar climb and trip report! I love hearing the tales of pure, unadulterated adventure.

  Sep 11, 2012 - 01:11pm PT
We went out there with no BIG cams. Attempted another line, no other takers in the crowd to assist me in that; hiked out. Limpingcrab recently hit me up about the stone, so I gladly gave him info...Ya think they would haul big pro way out there in a land of mosly 'normal' sized cracks and face climbing?

Brings to mind, "If I tell you, I'd have to kill you!"

Anyway, I knew he was headed out there, and I was not.

Not quite 'unadulterated' Micronut.


Gym climber
Minkler, CA
Author's Reply  Sep 11, 2012 - 01:17pm PT
I hiked to the rock once before I talked to you and once after, with binoculars and taking dozens of pictures each time. All you said was that you didn't have the right gear, with no details. And that was 25 years ago!

Can't we all just get along!?

  Sep 11, 2012 - 01:23pm PT
Looks pretty damned "unadulterated" to me. Sweet report, TFPU!

Trad climber
Fresno CA
  Sep 11, 2012 - 01:30pm PT
Part of the reason was that I could not see if there was good gear ahead, and every time I had to make a committing move I would hesitate first.

As soon as I read those words, I knew this was a TR with which I could relate. The comments about faces full of lichen also resonated.

Great TR. I liked everything about it -- even though I wish I was there first.

Thanks much.


  Sep 11, 2012 - 01:31pm PT
Hey! I'm glad that you bagged it!

Didn't appear that you 'walked' the base when you had asked for info.

Just wanted to set your story straight...

Thx - ec

The Granite State.
  Sep 11, 2012 - 01:34pm PT
Looks like a great adventure, thanks for sharing this!

I wonder if Beckeys been there...

Gym climber
Minkler, CA
Author's Reply  Sep 11, 2012 - 01:37pm PT
Thanks ec, that means a lot! Your reports on vertical20 are what inspired me to try stuff like this.
Vitaliy M.

Mountain climber
San Francisco
  Sep 11, 2012 - 02:21pm PT
Just want to mention that we had to knock off a few big stones in key stances. And get a few other flakes off in order to get through sections. In our opinion if anyone had been there those things would be for sure gone. If anyone climbed it please post your photos though.

Brutus went to formations in a different canyon. From those places this formation is hidden. Although of course possible that he did visit this place as well, he did a lot of exploring in addition to hard climbing. His write ups on SP are inspiring. It looks good only from a particular angle on a particular ridge. Chances of anyone going down that heinous ridge are slim to none at best. Especially with all the unclimbed rock that is out there in Kings Canyon right out of the car.

Thank you guys for positive responses. It was a true adventure. Hope there is much more of stuff like this out there for all of us to be happy.
Vitaliy M.

Mountain climber
San Francisco
  Sep 11, 2012 - 02:37pm PT
Do you know this for a Fact?

Yes, I remember reading about his trip to Castle Rock Spire. As I said in my last post, I do not know if he ever visited this particular rock. From reading his posts seemed like he was really into exploring. Anything is possible.
And No I did not know him. Sorry this climb offends you Rick.

Trad climber
The pitch of Bagalaar above you
  Sep 11, 2012 - 02:48pm PT
Cheif- Take your Hate train elsewhere, EC told em it's all good.

Jesus you need to get laid!

Nice work Gentlemen! Great location.

Trad climber
  Sep 11, 2012 - 03:02pm PT
Nice TR and way to go!

That there Dog lit the fire for ya'll? Good Doggy!
Now fetch me a Beer!

Trad climber
Erik O. Auburn, CA
  Sep 11, 2012 - 03:06pm PT
Thanks for the trip report!

Not sure why The Chief has to argue and be belligerent most of the time....

30 mins. from suicide USA
  Sep 11, 2012 - 03:23pm PT
Very it the FA or the 50th.

Trad climber
It ain't El Cap, Oregon
  Sep 11, 2012 - 03:27pm PT
Regardless of who did what when and how... this is still a cool TR. There is PLENTY of untouched rock in the Sierra for those willing to beat a path to its door!

Gym climber
Marathon, FL
  Sep 11, 2012 - 03:41pm PT
Credit where Credit is do is Damn Right!

Good Job Daniel and Vitaliy, I had a great time with you guys even though you may not have thought that at times.

It was scary as sh#t, and a climb Ill never forget.

What an Adventure. Thanks guys

Daniel forwarded an email to me about this rock from EC. The only thing we new was that you need a specialized rack?
I told Daniel about 5 times, I dont know what that means?
I think maybe it was suppose to be a specialized sack?


Mountain climber
The Other Monrovia- CA
  Sep 11, 2012 - 03:47pm PT
No Poison Oak and you're bitching about the approach? LIGHT!

OK, jess kidding - well done! But you lose points for not anticipating
bombarding poor Shepp - he shoulda been safely outta the way. Especially
seeing what a woodsman he is - did he use matches or a flint?

  Sep 11, 2012 - 07:18pm PT
There is a lot that was missed by the "long time hardmen" this route is one of them.
Just saying, no need for 'internet infancy'™ here.
I can show you many examples of missed areas / routes.

Just let these guys enjoy what the did without being bogged down in bow down to the "long time hardmen"

[Click to View YouTube Video]

Trad climber
SeKi, California
  Sep 11, 2012 - 03:50pm PT
Great adventure in a BIG wilderness! Great Job! After EC had gone out there, I went out soon after with Dave Hickey just to take a look and do a hike. We went to the Paradise trail saddle and then off trail down through knee deep bushes and sticks to the point in one of your pics where you can see the big rock formation.This way is actualy the old castle rocks trail. We found an old sign down from the saddle that said Hospital Rock and Castle Rocks pointing that way. We got close to the rock, but not all the way to it. It was a big plum waiting to be picked and Good Job to you all for going for it!
The Alpine

The Sea
  Sep 11, 2012 - 04:32pm PT
We climbed that back in '82!

or wait...

Maybe it was '86?

But I'm not sure it was that rock.

Its funny how mention of FA 'round these parts gets so many up in arms.

Nice job putting the work in and getting up there!
We should change FA to mean "fun ascent" or "fukking awesome!" or maybe even "found another" or "found again."

Social climber
Wolf City, Wyoming
  Sep 11, 2012 - 04:33pm PT
Good going, guys, true adventure!

  Sep 11, 2012 - 04:38pm PT
Gotta love all these ST lost and found threads.

Job well done to everyone who explores. Great adventure.


Trad climber
  Sep 11, 2012 - 04:56pm PT
First,... second,.. tenth, BFD. Nice TR and photos.

But what did Sonny do while you were on route?

  Sep 11, 2012 - 04:57pm PT
Fantastic -- great climb, adventure, and a tale well told!

Social climber
  Sep 11, 2012 - 05:15pm PT
Two thumbs up for the adventure climbing you guys. I'm jealous!

Except for the part about the angry bees.

Trad climber
Montuckyian Via Canada Eh!
  Sep 11, 2012 - 05:18pm PT
Nice job boys....Thanx for sharing..

Ezra Ellis

Trad climber
North wet, and Da souf
  Sep 11, 2012 - 05:28pm PT
loved the dog pics.
especially enjoyed the story of vitality screaming like a girl.

I've done the same, ran over a nest of hornets mowing my lawn one time. 7 stings in the crotch, yelling obsenities, the neighbors came home and didn't blink twice at the scene....:)
the Fet

  Sep 11, 2012 - 05:29pm PT
Great climb, TR, and pics!

What is it about climbing? Let's hike in 6 miles, way away from any hospitals or help, then climb up a 1000'+ face, farther away from any help, then climb past death blocks and nasty fall potentials. I guess it must be somewhat from the hunter instinct of going out and killing Mammoths and being so satisfied when you survive and come home with that awesome prize.

Gym climber
Minkler, CA
Author's Reply  Sep 11, 2012 - 06:38pm PT
Lots of dog lovers here! We just let him roam free while climbing. Not the best idea with falling rocks, but we're pretty sure he was out of the way sleeping in the bushes most of the day.

He may not have started the fire, but he helped with it. For some reason every time I whispered "fetch" he would bring me firewood. Good dog.
Nate D

San Francisco
  Sep 11, 2012 - 06:44pm PT
Now now cragnshag, don't be too jealous when you've got some big backcountry FAs under your belt as well.

Well done lads. It takes a lot to put those long time dreams into action.

Trad climber
going big air to fakie
  Sep 11, 2012 - 06:46pm PT
Hey guys, this trip report is awesome and inspiring. F.A's are fun, but scary time consuming endeavors. This sounds especially rigorous. Good job, really happy for you & the accomplishment! So cool to hear that if you're willing to hike far enough, and think on it long enough, a new line can be done out there. SWEET, and thanks for sharing the adventure.
Mighty Hiker

Outside the Asylum
  Sep 11, 2012 - 07:04pm PT
Woo hoo! Which pitches did cheburashka lead?

Clearly a stout ascent, regardless of the details.
Bryan B

Trad climber
Sacramento, CA
  Sep 11, 2012 - 07:59pm PT
Great trip report and good writing, made me feel like I was there.

Trad climber
Fresno/Clovis, ca
  Sep 11, 2012 - 08:46pm PT
Atta boys!!! Looks like a dream team. Way to get out there and suffer a bit for some glory!

While you guys were sweating and gettin stung and humpin your carcassas up some nasty, scary, dirty wide stuff, we were up on Matthes Crest, under cool blue skies with solid holds and no route finding problems whatsoever!

We're just pansys I guess.

Well done guys.
this just in

Justin Ross from North Fork
  Sep 11, 2012 - 08:52pm PT
Great tr and even better trip. Classic

Trad climber
Bay Area
  Sep 11, 2012 - 08:55pm PT
Very well written. and bloody funny as well.
Good job on finding and tagging that one (with a little help from ec)
So much for the oft repeated nonsense: "there are no new big lines in the Sierra"
Just takes ambition, curiosity, research, guts, persistence and a very smart doggie.
Too bad about the bolt but hey, this is just what they're for. Hope you had a D5 hammer.
lars johansen

Trad climber
West Marin, CA
  Sep 11, 2012 - 10:07pm PT
Way to go!


Trad climber
Punter, Little Rock
  Sep 11, 2012 - 10:12pm PT
TFPU. Nice report, nice adventure, nice pics. Friking hate those wasp nests; been there.

Trad climber
San Diego, CA
  Sep 11, 2012 - 10:18pm PT
Thanks for posting! Great write up. Ground nesting wasps and hornets really have an attitude ;-)

Trad climber
Sydney, Australia
  Sep 11, 2012 - 10:19pm PT
I like the idea of FA being first ascent, or found again, or whatever you like. Nice TR, and a great adventure - well done guys!

Trad climber
moab UT
  Sep 11, 2012 - 10:50pm PT
Nice job guys! Great writing. Good picts.
Btw the chief aka Patchouli Rick is a moron.

Trad climber
Livermore, CA
  Sep 11, 2012 - 11:01pm PT
Looked super-fun. I'm jealous and want to do stuff like that!
Doug Robinson

Trad climber
Santa Cruz
  Sep 12, 2012 - 04:01pm PT
Way to get after it!

Looks like you had more than your share of loose flakes, lichen, stingy thingies, OW and lack of pro. You should try some of the more alpine unclimbed walls littering that end of the Sierra...

Excellent job!

Social climber
  Sep 20, 2012 - 02:46pm PT
No good deed goes unpunished. Awesome job, gents.

Gym climber
Marathon, FL
  Sep 25, 2012 - 01:09am PT
Punishment in the form of Giardia. Daniel got it and I may have it too.
Giardia bump.

Trad climber
Nothing creative to say
  Sep 20, 2012 - 08:36pm PT

hydrate hydrate hydrate

I had to go back to the hospital when I nabbed a bug after appendicitis surgery right after a back country trip with a bad filter.


Gym climber
Minkler, CA
Author's Reply  Sep 21, 2012 - 02:21am PT
Punishment in the form of Giardia. Daniel got it and I may have it too.

Ha! You might have it too Tom? Found out today that you can take one 2000mg dose of tinidazole instead of 5-10 days of stupid flagyl.

Costs $39 instead of like $10-$15 but it's only one dose and flagyl sucks so I think it's worth it.

sharts are less of a problem already, 4 hours later...

  Sep 21, 2012 - 04:10am PT
Combo up on Tinidazole and Cipro and you'll be making perfect hockey pucks that don't need any TP afterwards. Or so I hear. Kickass TR, great send. Way to get after it.
Vitaliy M.

Mountain climber
San Francisco
  Sep 21, 2012 - 11:11am PT
After last weekend I had a temperature for 2 days. I wonder if my body was fighting with something I got on our trip or on this last addition there was a big inflamed puss filled spot on my finger. I used a needle to open it up and a piece of wood with a bunch of puss came out. It was gross. Can't wait for someone to do the second ascent. lol.

Trad climber
SeKi, California
  Sep 21, 2012 - 01:12pm PT
I read some recent article saying that Gardia isn't really that prevalent in the Sierra streams and alot of the hype was from filter companies. It went on to say that what people think is Gardia they got from drinking bad water was actually from their fingers not being washed and having feces on them.....

Gym climber
Minkler, CA
Author's Reply  Sep 21, 2012 - 01:56pm PT

Ya I agree, and I didn't get a test so I can't be sure. But it wasn't in the "high" Sierra and that's what this paper is mostly about. Might have been licking my poop fingers.

Oh, and the water wasn't really moving and had skeeters on the top and was kinda warm. Oops

Trad climber
Upland, CA
  Sep 21, 2012 - 07:06pm PT
What an Excellent adventure!

Trad climber
SeKi, California
  Sep 21, 2012 - 07:21pm PT
Thanks for adding that link. One expedition out to the castles we drank the water coming right out of the rock at the source. It tasted soooo good! But week or two later two of my buddies had the Giardia they thought. I know I was feeling like heading to the bathroom more than usual too..........

Boulder, CO
  Sep 21, 2012 - 07:22pm PT
good doggie!

great TR!
Vitaliy M.

Mountain climber
San Francisco
  Sep 21, 2012 - 10:07pm PT
Why this place was so fun...


Trad climber
Truckee, CA
  Sep 22, 2012 - 12:55am PT
Gentlemen; nice climb. But take it from an old bastard who has been around the block a few hundred times; domestic dogs left at the base of climbs in the sierra make a FINE coyote snack. Leave the dog at home, dude; your wife will never forgive you when she sees the pics of what was left of fido.

Gym climber
Marathon, FL
  Sep 24, 2012 - 12:24am PT
Rosamond you sound like the lady that we encountered right when we got back to the car. She told us there was a bear coming up the road and to watch out the bear might eat the dog. We got a good laugh out of it, then I said we are definitely back to reality. Funny thing is there was a bear at camp when we got back after the climb and Sunny was all good. I would like to hear your story about domestic dogs getting eaten though if you have one.
crazy horse

Trad climber
fresno, ca
  Oct 4, 2012 - 02:34am PT
cool TR guys. looks awesome out there!!!

Gym climber
Marathon, FL
  Oct 4, 2012 - 03:04am PT

Trad climber
Central Sierra
  Oct 4, 2012 - 09:34am PT
nice looking adventure.

sounds like Sonny would of been better off at the doggie hotel though.

bear, coyote, lion, snakes, ticks, PO, and trundling death blocks !!!


  Oct 4, 2012 - 09:52am PT
Oh Yah!

Very nice!

  Oct 4, 2012 - 09:25pm PT
Wow, great read, great photos, great adventure. Very inspiring, thanks!

Sport climber
Almost to Hollywood, Baby!
  Oct 4, 2012 - 10:45pm PT
Looks like nothing but good stuff! Learning to hand-bolt on lead sounds exciting. And you didn't die in the pendulum, so you did something right :)

Thanks for sharing a fun adventure.
Vitaliy M.

Mountain climber
San Francisco
  Nov 15, 2012 - 05:30pm PT
Damn. I miss this climb and adventure. Have to make sure to attempt A LOT of unclimbed stuff next year.
Larry Nelson

Social climber
  Jun 29, 2016 - 04:56pm PT
Bump for another gem. TFPU!
dee ee

Mountain climber
Of THIS World (Planet Earth)
  Jun 29, 2016 - 06:44pm PT

Glad Sonny was there to start the fire.

Trad climber
Nothing creative to say
  Nov 26, 2018 - 11:20pm PT
bump to keep Crab busy. Maybe there are more pics?

First TR evar?

Gym climber
Minkler, CA
Author's Reply  Nov 30, 2018 - 11:00am PT
Ha! Just noticed this bump. Funny to read this 6 years later.

Vitaliy’s first FA, it’s too bad he pretty much gave up on exploring and climbing after this.

Gym climber
Minkler, CA
Author's Reply  Nov 30, 2018 - 12:51pm PT
When you get to the ridge on the trail, instead of going left towards castle rocks, you go kinda straight off into the forest (maybe a little left). There's a red arrow on it on the map in the first picture. In the second picture the rock way off to the right is the bottom of the fin/gully.

Brandon Thau put up another route on this formation in the last couple years.