Trip Report
Fat Merchant's Crack revisited

by Trad
Monday January 19, 2009 10:24pm
spyork and I had another go at toproping Fat Merchant's Crack yesterday. The first time was described here:

http://www.supertopo.com/climbing/thread.html?topic_id=353413

This time we approached via Scheister and Harding's Chimney, but first Steve warmed up on Farley.


I got the Scheister 1st pitch, which I wanted to try leading left side in. My outside foot slipped a couple times but it turns out if you jam your body into that flare hard enough you (probably) won't fall out.

Steve led the Fat Merchant's anchor approach (= Harding's Chimney 2nd pitch). This approach offers (a) horrendous rope drag for the leader and (b) minimal verbal communication.

Instead of continuing up and right to reach the north Sugarloaf summit (barely visible washed-out upper right) you stay left, tunnel through, and downclimb a bit to the Fat Merchant's anchor block. Here's a view looking up the gaping maw of Harding's 2nd pitch (left variation).


At the anchor block we found our 2-year old slingage faded and questionable, so Steve graciously donated his cordalette to back things up.

Now let's see...what's a good knot...


You'd toprope off this anchor, wouldn't you?


The first step rapping over the edge is the worst. Here's Steve on his way to place his Valley Giants for directionals (they felt more reassuring than the bigbro we used last time).


And the obligatory panoramic. Climbing Fat Merchant's wasn't any easier than last time but it's still a good full-body workout!


I am sore today.

  Trip Report Views: 904
Trad
About the Author
Trad is a trad climber from northern CA.

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Captain...or Skully

climber
in the oil patch...Fricken Bakken, that's where
  Jan 19, 2009 - 10:27pm PT
What a sweet Maneater!!!!


Yowza!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Salamanizer

Trad climber
The land of Fruits & Nuts!
  Jan 19, 2009 - 10:58pm PT
It's a great line for sure.

There's a pin about 20ish feet above you (in the photo)deep inside the crack that protects the initial moves when beginning to squeeze out toward the outside if you ever plan to lead it. Would be a horrible penji fall if you blew it though. You still have to climb about 10ft of unprotected (definate ground fall potential)before you can get a #12 Valley Giant at about the 50ft level. A few more feet and you can get a #6.

Sorry for the horrible pick, only one I have.
Check out that rack!



Trad

Trad climber
northern CA
Author's Reply  Jan 20, 2009 - 10:10am PT
Someone told me about that pin a few years ago and on Sunday I spotted it, but not until I was already at about the same height and already 15 feet or so towards the outside. Looked like a bad penji for sure if you fell, and that's assuming it would hold!

Next time I want to try climbing this route with right side in - at the cruxy part it looked like there might be more little crimper edges to use.

rhyang

climber
SJC
  Jan 20, 2009 - 10:16am PT
Nice work ! What a great day.
mark miller

Social climber
Reno
  Jan 20, 2009 - 10:25am PT
"gaping maw of Harding's 2nd pitch (left variation).
I didn't know there was any other variation for Hardings chimney. Is it worth doing? That looks like a great way to enjoy fat merchants......HeHeHe Help Jaybro.....
spyork

Trad climber
Tunneling out of prison
  Jan 20, 2009 - 02:12pm PT
Thanks for posting!

I heard a story that Jaybro would solo Fat Merchant's Crack BITD!

Thats just a weee bit scary...

The damn chimney squeezing down to a offwidth messes me up. I could not complete left side in. My hips get stuck and then I am forced out and cant hold the armbar. I ended up falling out and doing it right side in.
john bald

climber
  Jan 20, 2009 - 02:52pm PT
Remember left side in was natural for me. Little or no pro for quite a distance, back in '79.
Jingy

climber
Somewhere out there
  Jan 20, 2009 - 03:41pm PT
LOoks grim....

And loads of swearing fun!!!
Trad

Trad climber
northern CA
Author's Reply  Jan 20, 2009 - 09:28pm PT
"gaping maw of Harding's 2nd pitch (left variation).
I didn't know there was any other variation for Hardings chimney. Is it worth doing?


I don't know the history of Harding's Chimney but for some reason I always thought the 'gaping maw' was the original 2nd pitch, so maybe I shouldn't have called it a variation. The other way is to stay right of the wide part and climb a right-facing corner w/awkward fist-sized crack. Partway up there's a roof that feels really difficult to me (or at least scary) but the guidebooks rate it as 5.7 or 5.8. The only picture I could find is here (the person on the right is on the 2nd pitch of Scheister):



Zander

climber
  Jan 21, 2009 - 10:56am PT
Hey Trad,
Thanks for the TR.
I've wanted to do the real second pitch to Hardings. I've done the corner a couple of times. The picture of the chimney looks good though.
Zander
Captain...or Skully

climber
in the oil patch...Fricken Bakken, that's where
  Feb 7, 2009 - 10:18pm PT
Fat Merchants!.........Your lead!
Cosmiccragsman

Trad climber
AKA Dwain, from Apple Valley, Ca. and Vegas!
  Feb 7, 2009 - 11:47pm PT
Fixed it up a bit for you, salamanizer.









Cosmic
Jaybro

Social climber
Wolf City, Wyoming
  Feb 7, 2009 - 11:57pm PT
Nice Send, men!
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