Trip Report
Bouted on Hourglass, Right Side – TR
Wednesday June 1, 2011 2:56am
Credit: le_bruce

A few weeks ago, Nutjob wrote up his experience of taking a grizzly fall on a jingus alternate start to Chockstone Chimney. Here he is about four moves before the fall that day:



After that 50-60 ft waltz with gravity, he was dinged up (though amazingly not all that bad) and needed to reverse the 2 hr, thread-the-needle-through-the-forest approach sooner rather than later. I pulled the ropes and left a bunch of gear behind, about 8 or 9 cams.

Yesterday Nutjob and I left Oakland at 6:30am and parked on the western edge of El Cap meadow around 10. At 11:30 we were back at the base of the jingus alternate pitch to get our gear back.

On the approach, the forest floor was in rare form, even for Yosemite. Everything was under a fresh mantle of dew and the light was vivid and crisp.

Sounds (birds, Ribbon Creek) and smells (earth under boot, damp bark and pine) were super clear. Everything looked kind of amazing, like this:



When the water is this high, Ribbon Creek can’t be crossed up near the amphitheater so you have to approach on the east side. No real trail over there, but the walking is really great. I lived in Maine for four years, and have to say that forests of the western states are so much friendlier to walkers. They let in light and air, and give you all kinds of space to breathe.



I tied in and collected the gear Nutjob had placed, digging out places for my hands and feet from the sludge. I rapped before the spot where he launched off into unprotectable face climbing.



From there, we walked five minutes to the base of Hourglass, Right and racked up. Walking by Hourglass, Left you can’t help but look up there and picture P. Haan, all-in and turning the lip of the undercling while unlocking the FFA.





Hourglass, Right looks more reasonable when you see it. It even looks inviting, if you focus on the first two pitches up to the tree. Let your eyes wander above that tree, though, and it seems less inviting…



Surroundings are different and great up there:







The views are fine too:











I linked the first two pitches, which are absolutely killer. About 130 feet of perfect hands lead to a 30 ft section of solid fists and a final armbar bit before the hanging belay at the tree. You have to campus the tree to get up into it, then you have to entangle your body with the tree to not fall out.

Passing the p1 belay:



One section of perfect hands in the long corner. This linked pitch climbs like a lighter, less continuous version of Outer Limits:



Scott seconding up:







I prefer fists, he gets fancier:



The belay from this tree was a f#cking soul stomper. The reasons why will be clear if you’ve been there, or go there.



Nutjob here is trying to get his mind together for the lead up the final pitch. It looms over you and feels menacing as you suffer at the belay:



A closer shot of the bolt, just 10 ft up from the tree:



The rack that Nutjob had hung from his harness, Narrows style:



In the end, we bailed without leaving the safety of the tree. Casting off into this crack takes a sharpened mental blade and we were both feeling dull that yesterday.

Scott on rappel:



We sorted our gear late last night back in Oakland:



We’ll go back another day:




----------



As a coda, just want to offer some thoughts on the tree belay on top of p2.

This is not a large tree, with a diameter at the base of its trunk of about a foot, I’d guess. It is about 15% dead, and seems to be in decline.

Its largest limb is rotten and completely severed from the main trunk, which holds the tree into the crack at a 45 degree angle. This entire rotten limb is still there only because it’s tangled with other dying branches, and will trundle without much pull. You can see it in this picture, the lowest limb:



There is still a lot of healthy green in the tree, but its roots seem to be hollowing out and rotting underneath. There is a fresh break on another of the tree’s largest limbs, I’d guess from climbers. This limb will also die, but it hasn’t separated yet the way the other one has. Many of the tree’s smaller/younger limbs have been snapped, I’d guess from parties of two (like ours) trying to first entangle and then detangle themselves from whatever belay position they can contrive.

It seems clear that climbers are having an adverse effect on this tree’s health, though visits are probably few and far between. Because it juts out of an overhanging wide crack, you have to campus and yard your way up its limbs to reach a position that you can belay from. With two people perched in it, it takes a beating. One person at a time climbing through to gain the wide final pitch would still wear on it, but not nearly as much.

I’m going into such detail because I think that setting an anchor below the tree, at the top of the low-angle fist crack just before the edge of the Hourglass flake steepens and the crack widens, would be a good way to protect this tree. In the picture above, you can kind of discern where an anchor might make sense, just where the ramp with a fist sized crack leads into darkness at the very bottom of the frame.

Just three last things I want to make clear about this anchor idea:

 A gear anchor could be set. It would take probably #4 and #5 BD's in the vertical crack.

 No one has to worry that I’m going to go up and place a new bolted anchor on this historic route. I’m only trying to start a discussion about it.

 I’ve never placed a bolt, but if there is consensus that a bolted anchor should go in to protect the tree, I’m happy to hike up carrying loads, lead, belay, etc. in support of anyone who has the know-how and tools to do it.



  Trip Report Views: 6,001
le_bruce
About the Author
le_bruce is a climber from Oakland: what's not to love?.

Comments
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Comment on this Trip Report
QITNL

climber
  Jun 1, 2011 - 03:05am PT
Great story and shots! Very thoughtful. My vote: save a tree, drill a bolt.
nutjob

Sport climber
Almost to Hollywood, Baby!
  Jun 1, 2011 - 04:49am PT
Nice! Now I need to get a few of my pics uploaded to paste in here.
Peter Haan

Trad climber
Santa Cruz, CA
  Jun 1, 2011 - 09:03pm PT
Thanks tons for your story! I particularly love the photo of you (?) in the balaclava looking both mystical and fearful simultaneously! What a gorgeous gorgeous climb.

The right side, during a light snow storm in March, 2000.


The wonderful second pitch taken from big ledge at top of first (le_Bruce ran first and second together to the tree as his first pitch):


Les Wilson trying to aid the crux pitch on the second ascent


A teenage me aiding the crux for 20 feet in 1965 with CrackJacks:


A view from the Valley floor of the Hourglass:


Go back up there and get that crux done; you will feel quite a bit more confident about it a second time. It’s true though: the tree belay not only is unique and can be awfully messy, it is also a bit intimidating. And you MUST NOT let your ropes slide into the second pitch crack as they probably will get stuck, Pilgrims.

The way I always approached that tree situation was not to even let the second enter the tree but hang out underneath the tree in the nice fat crack there and then take the lead (or switch belay) from that position, more or less, and if switching, then assuming the tree belay of course for that final pitch. The tree just is too crazy and small. But it is your anchor to some extent, though now with big stuff you can greatly improve on that state of affairs.

I am a bit saddened the Bay tree isn’t doing well. Back in the day, it was all alive and fresh, as you can partly see from my photos. But this is the situation: You are supposed to lead off on an overhanging offwidth with only the 50 year-old 1/4” weirdo bolt between you and the belayer and for a ways you can’t get a chicken wing, depending on your size. (The bolt is one of those rare self-drill units with a cap screw in it...) The crack edge is great though and you can also see where soon you will get that chicken wing and you do have oblique heel-and-toe and a knee in too. But you are being belayed by someone who is hanging in a small tree with basically no real anchors....Obviously it is a test of confidence and it DID repel Sacherer on the first ascent which used aid here briefly. Although only 5.10b, that grade in offwidths is always serious enough even with a great belay. And by the way, the crux pitch is quite long and in sum pretty cardio with its never-ending and ever-widening revue of all possible chimney sizes up to four feet.

The existing bolt has to be replaced. It is completely ridiculous and was so, 46 years ago when I was up there as a teenager with Les Wilson. It was a spinner even. And I have climbed the right side I think four times now, the last three as free ascents. To just be belaying in the tree with the old bolt as protection is not acceptable but was the style of our early ascents. The tree belay isn’t good enough and if it is dying slowly from the death of a thousand cuts, then yeah, we should be trying to belay underneath it I guess. But as far as our actions are concerned, the original bolt has to be replaced. I am not sure it can be pulled and the hole reused since it actually may be a very large shallow hole. I just don’t remember. It is not a 1/4” compression bolt like on the left side route--- the bolt placed by Kamps on aid.

If people want to establish a hanging belay under the tree, I think it can be done with regular pro, can't it? I don't have a problem at all with that approach. Drilling there though should be really avoided on this account. However, since the normal way of descent is to rappel from the summit to the tree, then to the ground, maybe we need anchors at the tree because rappelling from it is now probably crazy and we don't know if you can rappel from the summit to the ledge on the right side. If we can than the anchors for a rappel should be there. And yes, in the final analysis, a hanging belay with fixed anchors just below the tree is okay too in my book.
Roxy

Trad climber
CA Central Coast
  Jun 1, 2011 - 10:50am PT
wooT!!! great day in the valley. nice to read about a self-rescue when it comes to one's own gear. the way to do it.


Hopefully there is a Lorax with a hand drill who can help!


Russ Walling

Social climber
from Poofters Froth, Wyoming
  Jun 1, 2011 - 10:59am PT
Great report and extras!
Ed Hartouni

Trad climber
Livermore, CA
  Jun 1, 2011 - 11:17am PT
If natural pro is available without using the tree that should be done, unfortunately when the local flora is present and seems stout, it is used, for an anchor, for holds, and for upward progress without a thought. This does not bode well for those foliar individuals.

On the other hand, I'd be surprised if The Hourglass - Right Side sees many ascents in a year. It is possible that given its position that that bay tree is getting close to the end of its life. Healthy and thriving 40 years ago, who knows how long it's been there... and tree lifetimes are often reduced in the cliff ecosystems due to the challenges of living there even without climbers clambering.

Replacing the bolt is a major goal of mine... (actually replacing all those bolts on the formation). If a bolt station were put in on that pitch, it would greatly reduce the use of the tree, especially if that station were put lower than the tree.

I'd be surprised if the FA and the FAA didn't use the tree, it would have been in keeping with the logic of old school route creation. That logic, now that our ranks have swollen to such a legion scale, doesn't make sense. The debate on putting in a belay station to preserve the tree is one we should have... I am of the opinion that such a thing would be a justifiable alteration to that historic route.
seth kovar

climber
Reno, NV
  Jun 1, 2011 - 11:27am PT
Awesome tr!!!!!!

Even though the pictures are blue question marks, anyone know why I can't see them?

Thanks for the extras Peter
caughtinside

Social climber
Oakland, CA
  Jun 1, 2011 - 11:27am PT
Nice photos and story guys, thanks!
survival

Big Wall climber
Terrapin Station
  Jun 1, 2011 - 11:38am PT
Awesome TR you guys, love it!!

Too bad you chickened out...BWUAAAK BWUAAAKKK!!!

(Just kidding of course. I've done my share of backing off stuff that was larger than my sac.)

You'll get 'er done.
scuffy b

climber
heading slowly NNW
  Jun 1, 2011 - 11:54am PT
Wow, really fine.
In most of the photos I've seen, I can't
really get a sense of the steepness, which
is really quite imposing from beneath the
climb.
Melissa

Gym climber
berkeley, ca
  Jun 1, 2011 - 12:36pm PT
The dead tree spook factor coupled w/ the old bolt "protecting" the crux probably is doing its bit to protect what life the tree has left in it. Belaying below the tree (on big hands gear) is better for the tree than putting bolts by it. Rap the outside face to descend.
nutjob

Sport climber
Almost to Hollywood, Baby!
  Jun 1, 2011 - 01:07pm PT
Melissa, thanks for beta on rapping outside!

I suspect you might be able to sneak into it as a squeeze just above the tree. I'm about the same size as Jay... do you know how far up he has to go past the bolt before squeezing inside? Just below the bolt level, I could get in most of a man-boob, ok lock-off on knee-torque (too wide for thigh jam), but overhang makes it a power-consuming armbar. From the comfort of the carseat I later thought about both feet deep in and horizontal shuffle up... probably too scary to try it in real life. I can do the armbar for maybe 10 feet in ideal conditions, but not looking at a fall into that tree and with no clarity of when I can fully stuff inside.
Melissa

Gym climber
berkeley, ca
  Jun 1, 2011 - 01:09pm PT
Neither one of us got inside until above the bolt, IIRC. It's a hard set of moves before you clip it w/ nothing nicely under your feet for pushing upwards as I recall. Then you can get fully inside, and there are chock stones (again, IIRC) when you get way up high, but there's no where to fall by then. J's caboose is probably smaller than mine. It's been a long time, and I was likely just learning the moves at the time, so my memories might be a bit off. I remember the state of the tree and bolt well though.
bergbryce

climber
East Bay, CA
  Jun 1, 2011 - 01:26pm PT
Great TR, nice additions Peter.
eKat

Trad climber
  Jun 1, 2011 - 01:28pm PT
YAY!

TFPU!
Mungeclimber

Trad climber
Nothing creative to say
  Jun 1, 2011 - 01:38pm PT
cool
Ron Anderson

Trad climber
Relic MilkEye and grandpoobah of HBRKRNH
  Jun 1, 2011 - 01:52pm PT
excellent TR and follow ups! Makes me wish i would have been more of a valley-ite!

"soul sucking belay" looks to be fairly accurate !
JEleazarian

Trad climber
Fresno CA
  Jun 1, 2011 - 01:47pm PT
Thanks for the TR -- and for all the great shots of the view. I was wondering how the Chockstone Chimney climb went. I must have missed the story, so now I'll search for that, too.

Thanks again.

John
mucci

Trad climber
The pitch of Bagalaar above you
  Jun 1, 2011 - 01:49pm PT
Good show, you could see it in Nutjobs eyes...
bluering

Trad climber
Santa Clara, CA
  Jun 1, 2011 - 02:21pm PT
Nice effort, boyz!
nutjob

Sport climber
Almost to Hollywood, Baby!
  Jun 2, 2011 - 01:33am PT
Peter, thanks for the pics looking up the business pitch... gives me a better idea of how far to go before squeezing inside.

I'm not sure who was more startled: me or the bird that rushed off this nest in the hollow of a tree at ground level...


Fun, peaceful, exciting, beautiful approach:












Our hero of the day (don't let the tape fool you, he didn't need it):


Exciting traverse to get started:


Goin' for it:


This solid 2nd piece inspired back-cleaning the first cam:


It's steeper than it looks... I was free-hanging right there during the rap:


And linking on through...






Starting to widen up a bit before the belay tree:


The tree looks fairly normal from above, but I wasn't in a position to take a pic while swinging on the hollow bark underneath it:




And the real business (new #6 Camalot at skinniest spot):


Self portrait. If my chest could only squeeze down 2 more inches...
(FYI, I fit in the narrows on Steck Salathe pretty easily)



And the walk of shame is so pretty I didn't really feel ashamed:


guido

Trad climber
Santa Cruz/New Zealand/South Pacific
  Jun 1, 2011 - 08:33pm PT
Dam Nutjob, what great photos of you guys at the tree! Especially like the shot looking down with the water bottle hanging free. Brought back some fond memories of 49 years ago on the first ascent of the Left Side.

Sacherer and I had originally worked our way up to the tree on the Right Side but later he finished that route off with Kamps. Kamps and I went for Left Side.

After finishing off the Left Side we set up our first rappel from the top to that great tree, hung there in slings and set up the rap to to the ground. Seems like it would be a good idea to set up a system where the tree is no longer utilized except to climb through and separate anchors provide all the belay and rap protection required.

Great TR.
Mighty Hiker

climber
Vancouver, B.C.
  Jun 1, 2011 - 08:47pm PT
Nice report!

Maybe some kind person could lead the right side and fix ropes, and then another kind person - maybe named Roger - could then replace the existing bolts on both right and left side routes? Not that there'll ever be a lineup to do the climbs, but both seem to rely on unreliable bolts at key places. Or would the geometry permit it?
Clint Cummins

Trad climber
SF Bay area, CA
  Jun 1, 2011 - 09:18pm PT
In my view (judging from photos/descriptions, and not the only view), the single bolts on L and R side aren't needed anymore, now that there are big cams.

If the tree is too sketchy to belay from, then belay below it on gear.
If the tree is too sketchy to rap from, then some alternative rap anchor might be needed. The topo shows a set of bolts on the outside face, but does not show the rap arrows using them.

I can't judge the health of the tree very well from the photos/description. Many trees have dead branches and are still healthy. It seems to have lots of live branches.

My opinion may be of little value, as I haven't been up there; Peter has been up there and climbed both sides.

In terms of old bolts next to cracks being outdated by cams, it's a judgement call. Many have been removed, such as those next to Pancake Flake on the Nose, and p4 on Astroman. Steck-Salathe' p11 (5.8 ow below the Narrows) had the bolts gone for awhile, then "restored" but to the other side of the crack... I didn't use big cams (larger than #4 Friend) when I did it, so I was happy to have the old bolts, but opinions tend to vary on this sort of thing.
Peter Haan

Trad climber
Santa Cruz, CA
  Jun 1, 2011 - 09:22pm PT
Replacing the bolt on the right side can be done by either aiding the crack for to hang there, or even from the old bolt since I think its hole can't be used (but that has to be verified). Or of course, using the lead rope as a jumar line anchored to the summit bolts which may also need revamping as mentioned recently. The main up up top was a 3/8" compression unit but it was put in in the sixties. I think there is also a giant slinging of a chockstone...and yes you rappel the face, NOT the chimney as you will probably hang your ropes up on the chockstones in there.

Replacing the bolt at the roof on the left side is harder because geometrically it might not work out rappelling the left side and trying to get back to the main wall just below the roof which I think is about four feet thick. Instead, I would suggest climbing the left side to the roof, establishing wide gear near the bolt in the roof and vertical crack just below and hanging from it. Here the (e) bolt hole can be reused I believe. Then, at the top of the first (crux) pitch, I put in a 1/4 x 2 compression in an excellent hole with a leeper hanger I had from the sixties. This was established as I knew that my party could not follow the lead and would be hanging, lowering etc etc pretty much at any point on that thrilling lead and the only anchors I had were back behind me in the dihedral and so all kinds of wedging and messing around would have taken place with the rope as I dealt with their situations. So this bolt was kind of a directional as well, you see. It should also be revamped and can only be done if you either climb the left side or rappel the left side which I don't think has been done. You would have no fixed anchors on that side. The top of the 2nd pitch was just ordinary anchors, back then of course, pitons and they were placed and removed as we passed through there on the FFA. I would assume that if you wanted to rappel the left side and work on it, using the summit anchors, that would work going down the face to the top of pitch #2 and then from there to top of #1 and then to the ground. Care must be taken to not let your ropes slither into the dihedral though...but accessing the bolt way to the right at the start of the roof will be very very hard I think and may involve actually aiding up to it from your rappel pendulum.

All in all, redoing the left side is kind of project whereas the right side is quite easy.
Melissa

Gym climber
berkeley, ca
  Jun 1, 2011 - 09:19pm PT
You can rap the outside face. There is an aid route or hard free climb right up the middle of it.
Peter Haan

Trad climber
Santa Cruz, CA
  Jun 2, 2011 - 10:23am PT
Melissa, that is "Indecision Time", a creative mixed VI 5.7 A4 route of Eric Kohl's. It goes up to Sherwood Forest even. I think it is too far to the right to use to access the left side bolt at the roof. Not a lot is known about this route; do you know where Eric's anchors are situated on the Hourglass??
mark miller

Social climber
Reno
  Jun 1, 2011 - 10:05pm PT
Great Sh#t and solid effort, thanks fore the TR.....my Knutts are still sucked in to my body after the TR......
Dirka

Trad climber
Hustle City
  Jun 1, 2011 - 11:34pm PT
Epic thread!
Clint Cummins

Trad climber
SF Bay area, CA
  Jun 1, 2011 - 11:44pm PT
Peter,

The 1994 Reid topo shows a 2 bolt anchor at the same level as the tree and slightly closer to the R than the L side.
Good point on Indecision Time - I had forgotten about that.
le_bruce

climber
Oakland, CA
Author's Reply  Jun 2, 2011 - 01:36am PT
Really glad to come back to this TR and find such good response. It's always a sterling experience when the historical players chime in.

Rapping from the tree was not at all sketchy - the tree belay is not going to be a safety issue for a good while yet. At issue is the wear and tear on the tree more than potential danger to any climbers.

Another anchor option there could be a piece or two of gear in the wide crack and a long sling - or the lead line itself - equalized to the tree. This would leave the belay below the tree, but how to keep teams from just monkeying up, like we did? The awkwardness of trying to stay perched in the tree, and the heavy damage that's been done, is not evident until you're up in it.



nutjob

Sport climber
Almost to Hollywood, Baby!
  Jun 2, 2011 - 02:50am PT
Some more thoughts related to the tree...
1) The tree completely fills the crack for a stretch, and walls on either side are fairly blank. Only way to progress is to commit body to hanging from the branches and swinging up (carefully avoiding the big dead branch down low).

2. If going with natural anchor, I would be inclined to do it right above the tree near the bolt, rather than below the tree, to minimize rope drag. And if the tree does have a catastrophic failure at some point when a leader is climbing through, at least it won't fall onto the belayer.

3. In absence of the tree, and relying on natural anchors, folks who bail out at P3 would have to leave behind at least one big piece (#5, #6, or bigbro). And it would be a little scary to rap off one of those wobbly dudes. That might be the strongest argument for a bolted anchor.

Natural anchors will be all wide gear, making for a pretty hefty rack for this climb.
Peter Haan

Trad climber
Santa Cruz, CA
  Jun 2, 2011 - 10:42am PT
Here is a shot I took of the face. It shows how much is actually going on out there. There are actually sort of ledges even and you can see the crack system that wanders up from the base to a bit above the tree where unconnected features make up the rest of that part of Eric's creative aid route.


And good on that Nuttie and le_bruce. It just makes sense to establish a proper two-bolt anchor in the tree area. To say one could “leave a #6 up there and rap off of it” is not an argument against new anchors there, way kooky and would not serve the route in an organized fashion. Me and a lot of other climbers don’t think that the belay, especially in free climbing, is what should make a climb challenging and difficult normally, especially with the marked increase in popularity of a climb. And on this particular route, this tree belay DOES make the crux quite a bit loonier to most climbers, even with the wide gear we all have now. And I always actually liked that adventurous aspect of climbing that crux. But I am willing to forego this aspect for sake of reason and safety and degree of use up there.

An alternative is to replace the old bolt and establish a second lower one that was handy from the tree and continue using the tree a ton. But that is what we are trying to reduce, isn't it.

One other issue. How far can you go past the bolt and get an inverted chicken wing? This is a huge question for the leader as he or she embarks. I mean the though is, 'okay, I can gun this for awhile with just armbars, but I can't do it forever'. If you are like less than 170 lbs and not thickly built, you will get that wing within a few feet. But if you are larger like myself and even though I was not at all barrelchested, I had to go fifteen feet, maybe a bit more, before I could get the tightest of all wings. When you get it of course you are so bomber but you will still have to be able to progress as well. The actual chimney above has some size phases that are kind of strenuous by the way but there are some chockstones in there.
john bald

climber
  Jun 2, 2011 - 10:55am PT



Thanks for the TR! I can still smell that California bay tree.
Zander

climber
  Jun 2, 2011 - 11:16am PT
Good Trip report and commentary,
Thanks all.
Zander
Ezra Ellis

Trad climber
North wet, and Da souf
  Jun 3, 2011 - 01:08pm PT
Awesome job Y'all TFPU,
Nice pics!
msiddens

Trad climber
  Jun 3, 2011 - 01:17pm PT
pretty cool guys
okie

Trad climber
  Jun 4, 2011 - 12:39am PT
Wow! Ain't no white streak on that feature! Even some lichen...
Great photos!
Damn, guess I gotta go up there now.
le_bruce

climber
Oakland, CA
Author's Reply  Dec 18, 2012 - 03:59pm PT
Bumpin' a fond memory. Anyone top out this formation this past season? Pics, stories to share?
Bruce Morris

Social climber
Belmont, California
  Dec 18, 2012 - 04:22pm PT
I remember that Zappa Dave Austin once confessed that he followed Kim Carrigan, the Australian climber, up the right side of the Hour Glass and said it was the most strenuous 5.10a he had ever done in his life, left him bloody and trashed for a week afterwards.

Nice effort guys!
Alexey

climber
San Jose, CA
  Dec 18, 2012 - 05:21pm PT
thanks for report. Beautiful line.
Le Bruce and Scott if you going to return this spring -would you take me too?
We can take bolt kit to safe the tree from abuse and set up belay/rap anchor just above it.
Like Peter Haan said
. It just makes sense to establish a proper two-bolt anchor in the tree area. Me and a lot of other climbers don’t think that the belay, especially in free climbing, is what should make a climb challenging and difficult normally, especially with the marked increase in popularity of a climb. And on this particular route, this tree belay DOES make the crux quite a bit loonier to most climbers, even with the wide gear we all have now.
About replacing old bolt - not sure- it can be redundant if at the same level you can place #6 or #9.
The last omitted pitch looks gorgeous, we should make photos from top of Hourglass this spring
limpingcrab

Trad climber
the middle of CA
  Dec 18, 2012 - 05:28pm PT
Looks like a fun one. Just use the tree until it croaks, then talk about anchors. It's an old Bay Laurel, not exactly a sensitive species, and it lives on a cliff where it's outgrown its resources.

Uh oh, I feel people getting mad at me
le_bruce

climber
Oakland, CA
Author's Reply  Dec 18, 2012 - 09:10pm PT
Alexey, yes, definitely. I've been hoping someone with bolting skills would get interested in this project. I'm definitely in.

There may be some more communication work needed to make sure that a consensus on the anchor has been reached? It definitely is hallowed stone on the Hourglass, and punching new holes in it is a big step. Some of the players have endorsed the idea in this thread, a big start. I think that for the tree's sake it is worth it, but it's a community choice. It is possible to build a gear anchor below it. I'd be just as happy to go back and simply climb the whole line, leaving the bolting decision to others.

Scott is moving down to LA this month, but I can try to cajole him into coming up for such a worthy project in the spring. Let's make it happen.
Alexey

climber
San Jose, CA
  Dec 18, 2012 - 05:51pm PT
I do not care much about bolts ether, more like to climb it to the top.
But think to have good rappel/belay anchors there and on the top is important
le_bruce

climber
Oakland, CA
Author's Reply  Dec 18, 2012 - 06:24pm PT
Cool - the tree is safe to rap from and will still be safe for decades, my guess. Let's climb the thing and leave the bolting out of the equation if the rap anchors on top are safe.

I've never held a VG #9, but if it's a size or so above a BD #6 it'll protect the p3 crux.

I'll get in touch in a few months then, Alexey. Sweet!
Ed Hartouni

Trad climber
Livermore, CA
  Dec 18, 2012 - 06:43pm PT
I could be convinced to bring my bolt kit up on that rig for a rebolting project for sure...
nutjob

Sport climber
Almost to Hollywood, Baby!
  Dec 18, 2012 - 07:56pm PT
I think we'll have to make it happen in the spring! With enough planning, perhaps a weekday visit? That would make it much easier for me to commit (tacking onto a weekend already in SF Bay Area).

Damn, I might have to get serious about doing push-ups and tricep dips to build the requisite arm bar strength.
LongAgo

Trad climber
  Dec 19, 2012 - 09:14pm PT
Brings back memories. Pat Ament and I went to do the left side and failed way back when [I mean right side - see post below]. We had tube chalks and were most unhappy with protection. Neither of us could get in at a “reasonable” distance above the bolt. Pictures of the big cams on this thread make me believe protection may be much more manageable now.

I finally did go back and do the climb with Bev Johnson, I believe. Again the tube chalks didn’t seem very good, but I felt more solid than the first attempt for some reason. Right side in (of course), right arm bar, left working the edge (sharp in I places), and incremental heel toe pumping with left foot so not to thrash and get pooped.

Left side is a whole different story. I can’t recommend it to anyone. It seemed very dangerous and unprotectable. I thing even today’s cams may not do much in the terrifying undercling area. Hats off triple times to Peter for that FFA.


le_bruce

climber
Oakland, CA
Author's Reply  Dec 18, 2012 - 09:09pm PT
Ed, Scott, Alexey... A dream team in the works. I'll be in touch.

Byran

climber
San Jose, CA
  Dec 18, 2012 - 10:09pm PT
I would also favor adding a bolted rap anchor near the tree, and I'm usually one of the last people to suggest such a thing. The roots on that tree are super hollowed out. I'm guessing there used to be a substantial amount of soil in the offwidth below the tree which all got disturbed by climber traffic and washed away. Now I think there's maybe still some soil sitting on top of the root system, but nothing underneath. When I got up there I stuck my head in the crack and looked around and couldn't see how the hell the tree was even still attached.

This is probably one of the hardest 10a offwidths in the Valley. I tried tackling it left side in, right side in, nothing seemed like it was easier than 5.10+. Then I figured out some beta that seemed closer to 10a (but still hard). If you don't want spoilers, then stop reading now...

Basically there's a pretty good edge somewhere in the vicinity of the bolt, maybe just above it...? What I did was lieback the OW a few feet until I could stand on that edge. This gives you the purchase you need to lean forward and get into the OW (left side in). Then at this point you're already through most of the bad size (if you're the same size as I am). I only had to wiggle maybe another 2 feet until I could get all the way in it. For large people this climb will seem like an incredible sandbag.

The pro isn't the greatest with conventional cams. I had two #6's and would not attempt it with anything less. They were both pretty tipped out in the locations I placed them. And again, bigger people will need bigger gear since you'll have to climb further up before you can squeeze inside.
Bruce Kay

Gym climber
BC
  Dec 18, 2012 - 10:29pm PT
That route looks really good ... except for that hideous tree belay. Yeech!

Now if that was squamish that thing would be dead and out of there. Yeah I know its a national park and rightly frowned upon..... chain saws that is.

Anyway, good luck with it. Very cool looking route even if you blow off the business. Good views of el cap west side too huh?

Hey speaking of which isn't there some really great hand crack route at Ribbon falls area? Silent line or Gold something? Is it really good?
Peter Haan

Trad climber
Santa Cruz, CA
  Dec 19, 2012 - 03:09pm PT
Bruce K: The tree is actually better there than not there: it is the belay, however chaotic and rickety and otherwise, the belay would be a hanging belay, pretty much. We have to get some modern bolts in there though; the bay is not long for this world and has been slowly dying for forty years. This is important, as one day the sucker will give up the ghost, I swear, with some of us in it! And Bruce, there are a ton of very classy free routes in the amphitheater and its edges. Very very good routes.

Byran: Right side of the Hourglass is not 5.10a unless you are a Junior Miss and can get in right away. I at 6'-2" and 195 lbs could not get a chicken wing for twenty feet.... Darwin my much tinier partner at the time and a good fifty pounds lighter, got a chicken wing within a couple of moves. As you all know, once you get a chicken wing, it is usually just a matter of applying it again and again however tight it is and enduring the cardio of it all while messing with rational footwork and inner knee. If like me and you can’t get the wing early, you are open arm barring for that distance and that is simply not 5.10a, more like B or C. The situation is rather “advanced” too, there, hanging in the tree, a Category Two fall at hand (in the old days).

LongAgo Tom: thanks as always, T. Very much. We both miss Bev too, while we are on the subject. A lot.


Ed H: remember, if you go up there to rebolt at the tree, the fifty year-old bolt to replace is NOT a conventional bolt. It is one of the inane self-drilling units with a hardened phillips cap screw in the middle of it and I believe a cone at the bottom of the hole to spread the “teeth” of the self-drilling unit. A construction anchor actually. Your bolt hole will have to be an entirely new hole, probably, as I remember it. You could remove the cap screw maybe still but it might take a vice grip even. This is what it is, to my recolleciton; it takes a typical allen cap screw in its outer end:



All of you guys can do this route. Melissa has pointed out that there is a ledge out on the face where Eric Kohl’s route Indecision Time runs and apparently there are bolts on the ledge that one could use for rapping instead of the effing tree. I think this would get you to the ground with modern rope lengths and leaving the tree out of the descent entirely. The summit is wonderful, reminiscent of The Folly (Good Book) summit, knife-edged, detached well off the main wall, maybe four feet. On top there was one 3/8” and one 1/4” bolt back in 1971. There is also a major chockstone I think.

REMEMBER ALL : do NOT let your rope slide into the crack below the tree. You will not get it back, most likely. This is a special condition!

I see people are leading the climb in two pitches. I would recommend leading it in three. The very perfect ledge before the 5.9+ hand crack has been the start of the second pitch, in my approach. I have been on this route I guess six times at least.

You also have water up there until July usually. You can “camp” up there. The amphitheater is really spectacular and sort of protected even. There are campsites that have grown up there over the last five decades. In the vicinity of the Hourglass you can camp too but it is steeper and far less amazing. Earlier in the season you can get water out of the creek to the east as it comes down El Cap Gully.
le_bruce

climber
Oakland, CA
Author's Reply  Dec 19, 2012 - 01:22pm PT
The amphitheater is really spectacular and sort of protected even.

And a nice place to get away from crowds. Having been there maybe five or six times, I've never come across another soul in there.

The day these photos were taken, in January, the entire vertical cylinder of the amphitheater was filled with ice crystals, all of them glinting in the sun while hovering, spinning, and lifting on drafts. My daughter was astounded by these, and asked questions like "Do the ice fairies live in bird's nests?" all the way back to Oakland.







Alexey

climber
San Jose, CA
  Dec 19, 2012 - 03:02pm PT
beautiful,
looking forward to visit this Valley corner ( never been)
LongAgo

Trad climber
  Dec 19, 2012 - 09:09pm PT
In my previous post I said: "Brings back memories. Pat Ament and I went to do the left side and failed way back when. We had tube chalks..." As text following that bit probably makes evident, I was talking about the RIGHT side where we failed but where I eventually did it with Bev Johnson. At end of post, I talked about LEFT side undercling (forget who I did that with).

Thought I’d say all this just to be clear to anyone who is scratching his/her head about the climbing method I was discussing for the right side above the bolt, not applicable to the left side (probably obvious).

I think I still know right from left, but now I have to wonder.


Agreed Peter, Bev was a powerful climber and wonderful spirit.

Tom Higgins
LongAgo
Peter Haan

Trad climber
Santa Cruz, CA
  Dec 19, 2012 - 09:32pm PT
yeah, I was wondering if you were as old as me, T, just then. Bev was the Carly Simon of American Rock Climbing. Bev had a Smithsonian-grade laugh too. If only someone had archived it. Perhaps Hoover has. It was a joy to hear, for sure.
David Wilson

climber
CA
  Dec 19, 2012 - 11:02pm PT
a few more from the amphitheater yesterday during a break in the weather

Credit: David Wilson

Credit: David Wilson

Credit: David Wilson
le_bruce

climber
Oakland, CA
Author's Reply  Dec 19, 2012 - 11:04pm PT
Beautiful, David. I particularly like the second one.
Peter Haan

Trad climber
Santa Cruz, CA
  Dec 19, 2012 - 11:24pm PT
Something to add to the experience of being in the Ribbon Falls Portal is the fact this is the longest single-drop waterfall in North America at 1612 feet....

from wikipedia:

Darwin

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
  Dec 20, 2012 - 05:47pm PT


I was just reading Peter's post from June 2 2012(last one) and just found the one a few days ago about body size and chicken-winging it. I followed Peter up the last pitch in '70(?), and being small 5'6.5" (those 1/2 inches count when you're five six) and less than 150lbs at the time, I could chicken wing from the belay. It's not fair to say 'cause *I was following*, but it seemed easy. I've even thought about trying to do it again, but I suspect I would get my butt booted around the world. Also, it was for me one of those "best days climbing ever" and I felt that I cruised leading the 5.9 hands pitch, and I hadn't done many of those before then.

One day in the last 8 years or so Tony Brake and I were hiking around up there and found a little memorial to someone who died in the last 20 years (or so), but I can't remember to whom it was dedicated. This was over on the Gold Wall side. Info anyone, or did I miss it up-thread?

Yeah about Bev; I only spoke to her a couple times, but she was just an awesome influence expanding on how I, an 18 year old male, viewed women.

Darwin
Melissa

Gym climber
berkeley, ca
  Dec 20, 2012 - 05:56pm PT
The raps on top have been rebolted, and you can rap straight down the face. There's a hand crack just below the tree. Not sitting in the tree is probably the best thing for the tree, assuming folks care about the tree. The lead bolt may still need replacing.
Byran

climber
San Jose, CA
  Dec 20, 2012 - 07:47pm PT
The tree will most likely die regardless of whether or not people rappel and belay from it. You still have to climb through it, and I suspect the erosion of soil is the main source of harm to the tree. I'm not a tree expert or nothing though...

There's also not a handcrack *just* below the tree. Maybe 30ft below the tree is a 3-4" crack, but as I recall the last portion of the second pitch is a low angle offwidth. With a couple #5's you could fashion a belay not far below the tree. I also wonder how far a 80m rope would get you if you tried to link the pitches? That would probably be the way to go and avoid an awkward hanging belay altogether. I remember the start of p2 being very cruiser hands so you could probably simul to the top if need be.
healyje

Trad climber
Portland, Oregon
  Dec 20, 2012 - 07:49pm PT
The absolutely mammoth flakeage was what most impressed me about the Valley and how many of them are just perched up there god only knows how. Texas and Boot both look like they could come off any day. Pretty amazing over all.
Mighty Hiker

climber
Vancouver, B.C.
  Dec 20, 2012 - 07:59pm PT
Thanks, everyone - marvellous contributions!

I think I still know right from left, but now I have to wonder.

It's simple - you must have been talking geographer's/geologist's left, which is to say left, facing downhill.

A useful interlink: http://www.supertopo.com/climbers-forum/199688/Photos-of-The-Hourglass-Left
Alexey

climber
San Jose, CA
  Apr 2, 2013 - 06:45pm PT
Bump,
probably time to try it again
Peter Haan

Trad climber
Santa Cruz, CA
  Apr 2, 2013 - 07:21pm PT
Clint up stream says the bolt on the left side and the one on the right side are now superfluous now that we have #5, #6 sized cams. He is right. Belaying below the tree instead of the tree also gives the leader more confidence in regard to the effectiveness of his belayer. It probably meand you no longer have a category 2 fall there on the offwidth crux above. The old bolt and the tree aren't adequate especially considering the tree is dying and skimpy to begin with and the old bolt is in fact more than fifty years old and bogus to begin with.

Belaying below the tree on the rampish offwidth would be awkward but now preferable. Or simply leading from the top of pitch #1/fat ledge. But rope drag is might be likely if you try this. But the section above #1 ledge is only 5.9 and even has footholds often so there probably aren't more than four or five pieces on the section. Going through the tree will create friction I bet.

I remember that Cassin horizontal pin being there in 1964. !!!
I highly suspect that an 80m lead rope reaches from summit to the fat ledge top of #1.

Not sure where Kohl's anchors might be on Indecision Time out on the face(route that Melissa brings up here). The Hourglass is less than 300 feet tall on its right side and it would be great just to rappel the face all the way or swing over from the face and land on the fat ledge top of pitch #1 where natural and/or drilled anchors could get you your last rappel to the ground
nutjob

Sport climber
Almost to Hollywood, Baby!
  Apr 2, 2013 - 08:31pm PT
Just re-read through this thread and did 30 push-ups. Really had to growl out the last 5. Not exactly prime shape for a rematch, but it will have to suffice!

I agree it's doable without a new bolt. But... I would belay above the tree with #5 and #6 camalot equalized in crack right above the sliding out dirt (which is held in place by the tree). Drag not so bad for leader getting to that point, or belaying up the second, and it sets up nicely for less drag on the following pitch.

Downside of belay above the tree is factor2 onto belay, but a VG #9 can be walked up the crack from just above the new belay spot to a good 10 feet above it and then left behind? By the time you get too far beyond that to feel good, your whole body will be stuffed in there so no problem.

Ha ha ha! It always seems more plausible from the couch :)
Peter Haan

Trad climber
Santa Cruz, CA
  Apr 2, 2013 - 10:57pm PT
Messy, Nut. Screws up the crux
WBraun

climber
  Apr 2, 2013 - 11:12pm PT
Very nice photos.

I've done the left side four times and rapped back down the left side from the top.

Isn't that the standard descent?

One other time I went up there to on sight free solo the right side.

Did not do it, came down from the tree, so I have no idea about the descent from the top of the right side ......
Darwin

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
  Apr 2, 2013 - 11:14pm PT
I just saw Peter/wikipedia's photo several posts up. It really is a magical spot.

In my mind, my right shoulder still fits, chickenwining, from the belay and it's a piece of cake heel toeing and ratcheting up that beautiful crack. I bet Matt could have hiked it, being small like he was. ah well.

Darwin
Ed Hartouni

Trad climber
Livermore, CA
  Apr 19, 2013 - 11:52pm PT
you can get a belay anchor in the crack below the tree:


though it is not comfortable to hang there too long...

we didn't replace the bolt, seems irrelevant if you have a 9" piece and you start right side in

Alexey said he would have liked having a 12" piece in the squeeze above the initial crux as running it out ~40' was a bit nerve wracking.

young guys will get to the top no matter what, but old out-of-shape guys can lower off and shot pictures


the bolts on the mid-face anchors are one good, one bad... and are closer to the edge where the tree is then is shown in the topo I have (to be corrected).

BUT if you take 2 80 m ropes you can touch down in one rap, and praying a lot you might not get your rope stuck on the pull (it worked).

In my opinion, this is much, much harder than Ahab
The Warbler

climber
the edge of America
  Apr 20, 2013 - 12:00am PT
I'd just lieback that sucka til I could get a no hands rest off a knee bar
Ed Hartouni

Trad climber
Livermore, CA
  Apr 20, 2013 - 12:12am PT
that was incredibly harder to do than it sounds... warbler
The Warbler

climber
the edge of America
  Apr 20, 2013 - 12:17am PT
Hah!

Did you do that with a toprope Ed!

Lieback it that is

I like the texture on the wall for the feet, and the edge looks good for the hands.

Just gotta commit, eh?

I've avoided all kinds of nasty offwidth groveling that way

Back in the day
Ed Hartouni

Trad climber
Livermore, CA
  Apr 20, 2013 - 12:27am PT
after I couldn't get it with offwidth technique
I attempted to do what you suggested...

the edge is good for the hands,
it is incredibly steep, overhanging
the face is very smooth with little for the feet
and it is powerful for a long long way to get a kneebar, a long way

I lowered off when I saw I couldn't get it
wee man

Trad climber
truckee ca
  Apr 20, 2013 - 12:30am PT
bump for the tree belay being the most uncomfortable ever, i also bailed from this spot nothing bigger than#6 for gear we were outa there must go back with big bro or big nuts, nice job alexey
Peter Haan

Trad climber
Santa Cruz, CA
  Apr 20, 2013 - 12:51am PT
I agree Ed. If you cannot get in quickly on lead above the tree due to being thicker, more well-sprung as we say in the horse world, you can only open arm bar it (or lieback it with the hope of getting an exit combo) and it is very steep with the book overhanging. It is harder than Ahab by a couple points at least with this condition. The open arm moves are way powerful.

If you are like Darwin Alonso and are getting in right off the bat or two, then it is a different climb and you are more or less inside the climb.

As with almost all offwidths, endurance and cardio are a big part of the issue here, so pace is critical for those of us that are hanging completely on the outside of the formation. Refuse to become your own problem in blowing the timing of when you move up and when you lock off, encountering your own locks working against you. It is long too so observation of this issue is critical.

Ed, go up there with David Wilson and the Wilson Family Ropegun, Chase.
Darwin

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
  Apr 20, 2013 - 12:58am PT
What would Warbler know?


;-)




Ed that one picture from the side was incredible!!! I don't see how you got it.

photo credit Ed Hartouni
credit Ed Hartouni
credit Ed Hartouni
Credit: Darwin

(ps thanks Peter)
The Warbler

climber
the edge of America
  Apr 20, 2013 - 01:20am PT
It looks bad any way you slice it, I gotta admit.

You gotta admit a side view photo with a guy liebacking way up there just below that horn and no pro for 40 ft would be really cool.
Peter Haan

Trad climber
Santa Cruz, CA
  Apr 20, 2013 - 02:54am PT
So I threw the xrez elevation of the Hourglass into a CAD program and measured the right side crux pitch degree of overhang. It is 16 degrees, slightly more even. And the main wall is probably within a couple degrees of vertical, even at times more so within its undulations.
The Warbler

climber
the edge of America
  Apr 20, 2013 - 10:36am PT
That's interesting Peter, because the left side of the orange waterstreak makes the climb look fairly less than vertical from the side, and the bay tree's lean reinforces that. I guess the right side of the waterstreak at the crux, and the gear hanging from the leader in photos tells the true story.

It is one of the more striking wide cracks in the Valley, along with the other side and Elephant Rock's offerings.
Ed Hartouni

Trad climber
Livermore, CA
  Apr 20, 2013 - 12:10pm PT
it's not a rope gun that I need, Peter,
it's some dedicated time to prepare my body and mind, heart and soul...
going up with Dave Wilson would be a wonderful outing in its own right, the various "improvised" bolts should be taken out, and the rap station on the face needs one of the two replaced.

we'll see if that happens, if it can happen.... but hey, it's only 5.10a


I think the image needs to be rotated, but I also have to take out the considerable lens distortion across the field-of-view... it's not vertical, but if you look at the closer view of Alexey leading, you see the eroded face which adds a nasty feature to the climb at the edge of the slab laying on the face. The face behind the slab is higher than the surrounding matrix, if the slab were to fall off, there'd be a "base relief" image of it on the cliff...



I rotated the image so that the water streak immediately above nutjob (who's in the crack) was vertical. Then I adjusted that image so that the perspective was correct, by aligning the foreground tree to "vertical" (this accounts for the camera tipping to get the image). There is still pin-cushion distortion for the lens (a Leica CD Vario Summicron1:2.0-3.3/5.1-19.2 asph.). This is corrected by distorting the image "symmetrically" out from the lens-center assuming the edge of the crack should appear straight.

The previous image provides a more subjective presentation of the challenge.
le_bruce

climber
Oakland, CA
Author's Reply  Apr 30, 2013 - 08:22pm PT
P3 was hard, hard, hard for me - that crack shows no mercy for a good 40 ft of burl. I wouldn't put much stock into the grade.

Alexey was the only one among us who got it without falling - and I was feeling good that day! So that wasn't it. But I didn't even come close to getting it. To anyone considering a go at it, I'd say take a quick look at some of the stuff Alexey's been up to the last few seasons and make sure you're up to snuff!

If, like me, you usually feel all right on .10a's... just know that this thing isn't the Generator or the crux flare on Steck-Sal or anything comparatively cute and snugly like that!



















Man of the hour on top of the Hourglass:
Peter Haan

Trad climber
Santa Cruz, CA
  May 1, 2013 - 01:05pm PT
Good on you Alexei. I see you are thin too.

More on the subtleties:

Of the zillion climbs I have done, I think this one is the most variable in grade as a function of a given body thickness. It has become particularly apparent in recent years with really smart and gifted climber friends of mine not being able to execute this lead. It is a long and overhanging ways to go without security if you are not getting an inverted arm (chickenwing) and all you have is just open arm-barring off an offset/eroded main wall. It is really in the nether regions of 5.10 and higher in this case. It is also harder to enter with the main wall having the eroded offset; this induces falling out quite a bit and the damn thing is already overhanging a bunch.

And the overwhelming trend these days is shoes that are too supple for this lead. Your heel and toe, however oblique it may be, must be quite powerful and not all folding up and putting a ton of weight on your upper body unnecessarily. For a lead like this, the more boardlike the better.

When I broke into one-armed pull-ups, oddly it was my left arm that came first, though I am severely right handed. I explained this first success by pointing out all the left-side-in offwidths in the Valley, all that open left arm-barring which trains the hardest part of your one armed pull-up. So, don't miss the fact that you are right side in which in the Valley is unusual for hard offwidths and so you might be weaker on that side and maybe less coordinated too for offwidth sequencing.
MisterE

climber
Bishop, CA
  May 1, 2013 - 12:29am PT
Bump for Nutjob and le_bruce, just got the story about this one first-hand last weekend.
Rhodo-Router

Gym climber
sawatch choss
  May 1, 2013 - 01:19pm PT
Nice going gang! Jealous.

So the tree is dying and you need multiple #6 camalots to belay on gear? If it was me, I'd just put in a decent 2-bolt belay already. And move the old self-drive to the other wall.

Those self-drives can be damn near impossible to remove. I have jumped up & down on the crowbar without success. Good luck with that.
Ed Hartouni

Trad climber
Livermore, CA
  May 1, 2013 - 01:45pm PT
there is time to wait for the tree to die and depart the route and then decide, once we know what is behind it, what to do...

it's a future that we don't have to rush.
nutjob

Sport climber
Almost to Hollywood, Baby!
  May 1, 2013 - 01:50pm PT
The real bump goes to Alexey for being a true valley hardman, getting the rope up there for us. And le-bruce for bruising his kidneys trying to haul me up the thing. And Ed for scoping the cool angles for photos.

I have some real pretty ones, managed to get them to my computer, just need to sort through them and upload some now.
Rhodo-Router

Gym climber
sawatch choss
  May 1, 2013 - 03:04pm PT
As long as I'm not tied to it when it goes, sure. This is not a high-traffic location.
nutjob

Sport climber
Almost to Hollywood, Baby!
  May 1, 2013 - 08:58pm PT
Just hangin' around at the belay before P3 of Hourglass Right
Just hangin' around at the belay before P3 of Hourglass Right
Credit: nutjob

Definitely want a comfy harness for full hanging and swinging belay, b...
Definitely want a comfy harness for full hanging and swinging belay, before P3 on Hourglass Right
Credit: nutjob

Le_bruce motoring up and having fun, representin' Chile. Near end of P...
Le_bruce motoring up and having fun, representin' Chile. Near end of P1+P2 linkup on Hourglass Right
Credit: nutjob

Alexey in the hazy heat of battle, still feeling fresh. Can't really t...
Alexey in the hazy heat of battle, still feeling fresh. Can't really tell how steep and overhanging this is on Hourglass Right.
Credit: nutjob

Alexey motoring through the business end of Hourglass Right.
Alexey motoring through the business end of Hourglass Right.
Credit: nutjob

Alexey gettin' serious on Hourglass Right. Head protection gone? Check...
Alexey gettin' serious on Hourglass Right. Head protection gone? Check. Still wide enough that it takes a lot more torque than it looks like to keep from sliding out? Check. Questionable pro? Check. Poised to land on the struggling tree that we're all han
Credit: nutjob

Go Alexey go! Beast! Hero of the day! That helmet is free hanging, to ...
Go Alexey go! Beast! Hero of the day! That helmet is free hanging, to get an idea of how slanting the crack is. Nasty business :)
Credit: nutjob



nutjob

Sport climber
Almost to Hollywood, Baby!
  May 1, 2013 - 09:26pm PT
Not so comfortable with le_bruce trying to rip the limbs off the tree....
Not so comfortable with le_bruce trying to rip the limbs off the tree. It would be hypocritical to complain though, seeing as my full body weight is dangling from it to help it along. Before P3, Hourglass Right.
Credit: nutjob

Ed gettin' psyched, gettin' his GRRRRR on, ready for battle! Hourglass...
Ed gettin' psyched, gettin' his GRRRRR on, ready for battle! Hourglass Right.
Credit: nutjob

Ed climbing through the jungle gym on Hourglass Right
Ed climbing through the jungle gym on Hourglass Right
Credit: nutjob

The most infuriating part of this position is how you utterly destroy ...
The most infuriating part of this position is how you utterly destroy yourself for a few feet, and lose it all with rope stretch. I was yelling UP ROOOOOPE!!! Non-stop at this point. Ed on Hourglass Right
Credit: nutjob
Alexey

climber
San Jose, CA
  May 3, 2013 - 08:20pm PT
Those photos Scott just posted refresh memory of the great route. Just less than month past -and I barely remember what was the route moves (unlike Peter Haan who can describe move by move he climbed 40 years ago)
Thanks for le-bruce and Nutjob for attempting Hourglass Right 2 years ago, and posting attractive photos Hourglass which brought this route out of obscurity and added interesting discussion on this tread. Don Reid book not granted even one star to this route. But it is classic and can be bumped up in stars number in new book edition. When the tree goes (soon since the roots of the tree lost all soil) - it would be absolutely clean corner.


The story started spring 2011 when Nutjob took 50ft dangerous fall in vicinity of Chokestone chimney and walk away on his own feet
http://www.supertopo.com/tr/TR-2011-05-08-No-Way-Out/t11014n.html
Than week later the team of two returned same place to retrieve some gear and fire for Hourglass summit. Two years later the team of 4 had small party on the top of the pinnacle.

The Pinnacle is shorter than it looks. It is just 260-270 feet tall. Theoretically you can do Right side route as one pitch using 80m rope. We did it in two pitches and each pitch was exactly half of 80m rope. I did expect that p3 would be hard, but did not expect it is going to be so Hard.
Climbed first 12-15 feet of P3 ( supposedly crux) with arm- baring , moving relatively fast and than get chicken wing and place bomber #9.
At this point I was thinking it is over, since I saw crack continue to widen more up and expected to be fully in the chimney soon. Mistake! It took me ~40 feet more to get in and this was the crux. In fact, space between flake and main wall after initial widening become more narrow, but I still had my chicken wing. The crack configuration in in this part was such that upper progress was very slow and measured by inch/per stroke.
As I remember I was heal-toes both feet deep inside , my butt was in , but I can not squeeze in my chest , so my head with helmet and chest was out and this make body angle ~45 degree from vertical. It took long time and a lot of energy (30 min?) to pass this 40 feet and than I was ably to squeeze into chimney. I do not remember did I use one hand or two to take off the helmet and release buckle on my chest harness to made squeeze possible. At this point it was a mater of time to pass remaining 80 feet of chimney with some opportunities of choke-stones and gear protection. I think for relative difficulties depending from the size of the climber the ratio foot_size/butt_width is more important for this route than your upper body size.
I am rather small than big man and it did not help me to enter much earlier in chimney. But the foot/butt_width ratio about 5/4 definitely helped. Anyway rating of p3 has only historical value, I spent on Twilight Zone twice less time and energy.



It was interesting Peter's point about left-side-in offwidths in the Valley but they all at the Left side of Merced river (if you walk up against the current). And most of Right -side-in offwidths in the Valley on the Right side of Merced river ..( with some exceptions). This interesting topic deserved its own tread. I'll start it next week, now it is time to drive to climb..
le_bruce

climber
Oakland, CA
Author's Reply  Jan 27, 2014 - 11:42pm PT
Bump for someone who was asking at Arch this weekend.

In this pic you can just see the Kohl anchor on the face to left of the tree, under the small overlap. Like Ed said, one bolt looked good, one might be iffy. There is a piece of white tat hanging from it:



Good luck to any suitors, and definitely report back, send or no!
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