Trip Report
Chockstone Chimney with LeBruce (Photo TR)
Friday October 4, 2013 2:24am
Leading P3. This had a great long chimney and had some interesting cho...
Leading P3. This had a great long chimney and had some interesting chockstones.
Credit: PellucidWombat

September 28, 2013
In 2012, LeBruce and I attended a wonderful slideshow presented by Les Wilson covering his FA of the Chockstone Chimney back in 1962. Intrigued by his photos and FA tales, LeBruce and I kept it in mind. Last weekend we headed up to the Ribbon Falls area to check out this forgotten classic. Chockstone Chimney climbs several pitches of various chimney types, with a few noteworthy tunnel-throughs, tree climbing within chimneys, and topping out on a large forested ledge, known as Sherwood Forest, that is rarely visited by climbers. The route was dirty, but interesting, and stayed fairly moderate throughout. The 5 or so rappels needed to get down were trickier than expected, and had obviously not been used in well over a year. The one new bolt had been damaged by rockfall and I could remove it with my hand, and in the end we used up all 30' of rapp webbing rebuilding anchors. It was a good day of adventurin'!



Approaching Chockstone Chimney, which ascend the right corner to the sky.



Chockstone Chimney.



Dirty scramble up to the start. (by LeBruce)



Following P1. Climbing through that tree was very awkward. I drew blood and collected twigs in my clothes.



Old bolt marks the P1 belay ledge. (by LeBruce).



Sleepy LeBruce atop P1. We left Berkeley at about 2:30 am, and we wouldn't make it back until about 2 am the next day!



Looking up P2. The rock was slick as snot, and the fist crack was perfect. "Like butter," as LeBruce put it.



LeBruce about to 'Tarzan' on the tree branch to finish the 5.8 bypass crux of the route on P2. I found a way to do a tentative step across into a short but unprotected OW, but the last pro is in suspect rock. The bypass was mostly a psychological crux, as it was committing, unclear whether it would go, and pro was tricky.



How does one make chimneys more fun? Add trees.



Middle and Lower Cathedral Rocks seen from the Chockstone Chimney Route.



The 5.5 tree lieback on P2. It was easier and more fun to climb the hanging tree branch than to try to do anything with the surrounding rock.



P2 climbing through roofs and trees.



Final bit of P2.



Starting out leading P3. Knee pads were a good idea for this pitch. (by LeBruce)



Leading P3. This had a great long chimney and had some interesting chockstones.



Leading P3 up the squeeze.



Leading P3 in the squeeze. I tunneled through the upper gap.



LeBruce leading up P4.



LeBruce leading up P4.



Nearing the great tunnel through at the end of P4.



LeBruce is belaying within the tunnel through on P4.



Mark entering the cave. (by LeBruce)



Looking up the P5 tunnel through.



Leading out on P5 to finish the tunnel through. (by LeBruce)


Escaping the tunnel through on P5.






Looking down the crappy dirty part of P5.



LeBruce leading P6. This had a number of tricky 5.8 bits, and a lot of dangerous loose blocks, so this pitch took a while.



The neat little tunnel through at the end of P6 that deposits you into Sherwood Forest.



Escaping the tunnel-through into Sherwood Forest. (by LeBruce)



Cathedral Rocks and Leaning Tower from atop Chockstone Chimney.



Sherwood Forest and the Hidden Chimney above.



Climber on El Cap.



West Face of El Cap from Sherwood Forest.



Narrow brushy ledge along Sherwood Forest, looking for the rappels. We stayed roped up as we heard that there were a few exposed sections, which there were.



Cool spires in El Cap gully.



Cathedral Rocks and Leaning Tower from atop the Sherwood Forest rappels.



Mark starting down the second rappel. (by LeBruce)



Manky bolts backed up by a fixed nut on rappel #3. This bolted anchor was actually better than the hanging one on the prior rappel. The 'new' bolt on that one, I accidentally pulled out by hand - it looked like it had been damaged by rockfall. (by LeBruce)



Mark starting down the last of about 6 rappels. We had used the last of the 30' of webbing brought along to reinforce this anchor. (by LeBruce)

  Trip Report Views: 1,898
PellucidWombat
About the Author
PellucidWombat is a mountain climber from Berkeley, CA.

Comments
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Peter Haan

Trad climber
Santa Cruz, CA
  Oct 4, 2013 - 03:14am PT
Thanks PW. Crazy seeing this. I first saw Les Wilson's slide show on their FA Fall of 1963. It's fun to compare.
Osprey

climber
  Oct 4, 2013 - 09:05am PT
Coiler once told me this was one of the better obscure adventure climbs around. Have not been on it though. Nice to see you two up there enjoying the adventure. Looks like a monkey of a good time!
WanderlustMD

Trad climber
New England
  Oct 4, 2013 - 09:31am PT
I believe the correct term is "like buttah."

Nice, looks like a fun day out. What happened with the 2am arrival back home???
Ed Hartouni

Trad climber
Livermore, CA
  Oct 4, 2013 - 09:51am PT
yikes! that was my new bolt...
now I've got to go back and find a place to put in an updated anchor...
apparently not in the same place!

brought back memories... for sure...

http://www.supertopo.com/climbers-forum/69301/Chockstone-Chimney-TR

remember all of the bits... and the fact that my camera "malfunctioned" (it had no film in it at that time)...

good to see the tree is still there though.

Thanks for the trip report, and sorry I didn't respond to LeBruce's email request for gear beta, I was at the FaceLift and not reading my home email... looks like you had it wired anyway.
moacman

Trad climber
Montuckyian Via Canada Eh!
  Oct 4, 2013 - 10:12am PT
Cool looking climb...In 62 that would have been a daring outing, you have to have respect for those dudes....Leaninig Tower pic is right-on...Thanx...........

Stevo
Dapper Dan

Trad climber
Menlo Park
  Oct 4, 2013 - 10:38am PT
Do those spires have a name ?
10b4me

climber
  Oct 4, 2013 - 10:38am PT
Looks interesting, TFPU
Kalimon

Social climber
Ridgway, CO
  Oct 4, 2013 - 10:42am PT
Nice TR as is usual for the PW.

Keep 'em coming.
Zander

climber
  Oct 4, 2013 - 11:13am PT
This is such a great climb!
Woo hoo!
RyanD

climber
Squamish
  Oct 4, 2013 - 11:18am PT
Cool stuff guys, looks like a really neat climb. Thanks for sharing it!
Peter Haan

Trad climber
Santa Cruz, CA
  Oct 4, 2013 - 11:28am PT
Dapper D, That is KP Pinnacle there on the ridge between EL Cap Chimney and El Cap Gully.
the Fet

climber
Tu-Tok-A-Nu-La
  Oct 4, 2013 - 11:38am PT
Nice!
Rhodo-Router

Gym climber
sawatch choss
  Oct 4, 2013 - 11:56am PT
Nice photos! Thanks. What's next, Salami Ledge? looks like you've got the recon shots to figure it out now.


Guess I'll ask you...rack recommendation?
PellucidWombat

Mountain climber
Berkeley, CA
Author's Reply  Oct 4, 2013 - 02:19pm PT
Thanks PW. Crazy seeing this. I first saw Les Wilson's slide show on their FA Fall of 1963. It's fun to compare.

Happy to oblige. That reminds me, I should point Les this way . . .

I believe the correct term is "like buttah."
Oooooh yeah :-)

What happened with the 2am arrival back home???
We weren't necessarily going at warp speed. Neither of us was fresh on sleep, so we were tired enough that we slept a bit at the parking lot, fiddled about getting to the climb, last pitch took a while, getting to & finding the first rappel took a while, and the rappels took a while as each one required some amount of anchor rebuilding (not always straightforward) and some rope tangles. Getting back to the base of the climb and to the car, +4 hrs driving back + a roadside nap I took in Livermore before LeBruce rallied to finish the drive.

yikes! that was my new bolt...
now I've got to go back and find a place to put in an updated anchor...
apparently not in the same place!

I'm pretty sure it was rockfall that caused it, as it was sticking about 1/3 out and at an angle when I first found it!

rack recommendation?

Nothing too special. We brought through a #4 Blue Big Bro, but I don't think we used anything larger than a #4 C4.

LeBruce, I remembered you placing the #5 &/or #6 C4s, but as I recall, you probably did that to shed weight? I don't remember those placements seeming too limited with gear sizes . . .
Rhodo-Router

Gym climber
sawatch choss
  Oct 4, 2013 - 02:13pm PT
Definitely one of those excursions where you want to travel light. Maybe folks would do it more if they felt like they didn't need to bring a pile of 5-lb. cams.
PellucidWombat

Mountain climber
Berkeley, CA
Author's Reply  Oct 4, 2013 - 02:21pm PT
Wear long pants, though. Not just for the chimneys, but for the brush!
JEleazarian

Trad climber
Fresno CA
  Oct 4, 2013 - 02:44pm PT
When I started climbing, this climb had a rating of IV, 5.6, A2. The rather mild rating for technical difficulty, along with its seemingly big wall location, put it high on my to-do list. My technical ability increased rather rapidly, though, so the climb left my radar screen quite quickly.

Now that I'm old and have nothing to live for, your TR makes me think it might be worthwhile in its current condition (and mine). Thanks much.

John
PellucidWombat

Mountain climber
Berkeley, CA
Author's Reply  Oct 4, 2013 - 02:59pm PT
IV, 5.6, A2

For those wondering, I'd put the route at III, 5.8 these days. Reid calls it 5.9, but shows nothing harder than 5.8 in the topo.

along with its seemingly big wall location

You have a nice view of Silent Line across the little gully. We watched two parties climbing that route as we wormed up ours.
Ezra Ellis

Trad climber
North wet, and Da souf
  Oct 5, 2013 - 08:42am PT
Leaving at 2 am is one way to beat the traffic!!!
Great pics!!!!!
Zander

climber
  Oct 5, 2013 - 10:32am PT
There are a couple of 5.9 sections. The rating is correct. These guys are just bad to the bone so they didn't notice.

This climb is even cooler that the pics make it look.

Climb on!
Z
Sierra Ledge Rat

Mountain climber
Old and Broken Down in Appalachia
  Oct 6, 2013 - 06:26pm PT
You guys are closet cavers
Gary Carpenter

climber
SF Bay Area
  Oct 6, 2013 - 10:25pm PT
It truly is a very cool climb!!
Maybe Ed & I will get back again. He can replace his bolt and lead the fun pitches. If you go bring plenty of water...Sherwood Forest is dry.

We had a 24 hour day as well.

Gary

PS We climbed it on 4th of July weekend. Never saw another soul the whole day.
E Robinson

climber
Salinas, CA
  Oct 6, 2013 - 10:46pm PT
I remember just remember the jungle pitch as one of the coolest climbing moments ever. Take care of that tree.
NutAgain!

Trad climber
South Pasadena, CA
  Oct 6, 2013 - 11:55pm PT
Nice! I was wondering if that bolt that got whacked was Ed's, and before I can get done reading I'm already gratified with the answer.

Le_bruce, any idea how far off in BFE we were with the false start a few years back? That big tree up and left of our "variation" anywhere close to the start of the proper route?

Is there a reasonable way to get to the base during high water?

Did you scamper up and right to scope out what is Hidden?
Macronut

Trad climber
Fresno, Ca
  Oct 7, 2013 - 12:07pm PT
Nice TR! Was looking that way this summer while doing Lurking Fear had wondered what was over there. Thanks for sharing. I love the adventuress attitude.
David Wilson

climber
CA
  Oct 7, 2013 - 03:07pm PT
Nice TR guys ! I still need to go up and do this route. These pics really help get the stoke on.
Blakey

Trad climber
Sierra Vista
  Oct 7, 2013 - 04:46pm PT
That looks like a load of fun.

I'm soo0 jealous this sort of thing can be a weekend adventure!

Steve
L

climber
California dreamin' on the farside of the world..
  Oct 7, 2013 - 05:08pm PT
What a great TR! You did an awesome job of combining amazing photos with brief descriptions...not to mention the short video clip of tunnel-through dust in the middle.;-) Loved it!
Don Paul

Big Wall climber
Aurora Colorado
  Oct 7, 2013 - 05:19pm PT
It reminds me of caving too.
StahlBro

Trad climber
San Diego, CA
  Oct 7, 2013 - 07:23pm PT
Love those adventure routes. TFPU!
Zander

climber
  Nov 19, 2013 - 08:24pm PT
Bob and I did this route years ago with one 60 meter rope. So all the raps we did were less than 100 feet. So you should be able to skip both Ed's bolted station, which is on an exposed vertical face, and the manky station, which probably still has my fixed nut, if you take two 60 meter ropes. Take a look at this chart. Then get on the route and report back. Cheers, Z
Credit: Zander
Willoughby

Social climber
Truckee, CA
  Apr 16, 2014 - 02:23am PT
This thing looks like pure fun, little-kid-style adventure.
mouse from merced

Trad climber
The finger of fate, my friends, is fickle.
  Apr 16, 2014 - 06:34am PT
Bona fide Old School gittin' after it!
Les Wilson styling.
Les Wilson styling.
Credit: Les Wilson
Ed, thanks for bringing us the Wilson TRs, too.
martygarrison

Trad climber
Washington DC
  Apr 16, 2014 - 12:26pm PT
Thanks for the TR. Great views!
NutAgain!

Trad climber
South Pasadena, CA
  Apr 16, 2014 - 01:43pm PT
Hey Mouse, I recall from Les' slideshow that pic is from higher up, toward the end of Hidden Chimney after a tunnel-through? Maybe he'll chime in here.
le_bruce

climber
Oakland, CA
  Apr 16, 2014 - 10:39pm PT
Good memory! Nice writeup, PW.

Up to #4 was fine I think.

Rapping was umm - involved! I'd say you want to have lots of webbing and a knife of course. We backed up one or two of the raps with cams for the first guy

Some party had bailed down the route late in the season the year before, and we came across all of their nuts/biners/webbing. I think they maybe had trouble finding the rap. I'd not want to pull my ropes rapping the route - too much junk to come down with 'em.

Finding the first rap is key - you have to move a long way east through Sherwood, longer than you might think. What a cool strip of forest that is. You wouldn't want to rap some random tree earlier/farther west, because the cliff is much taller there, more of a clean sweep. So keep going east, and maybe trending down where able.

NutAgain!, we were one lousy tier away from the true start when you cast off on your ill-fated variation. Literally twenty steps!

mouse from merced

Trad climber
The finger of fate, my friends, is fickle.
  Apr 19, 2014 - 07:38pm PT
That may well be; again, it may nut be...
You're sharp!
Taken spring of 2013.
Taken spring of 2013.
Credit: mouse from merced
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