Trip Report
Keeler Needle- Blood of the Monkey VI, 5.12 -16 pitches F.A. Moser, Ness: May 28, 2012-June 6, 2012
Friday June 8, 2012 1:25pm
Credit: Jason A. Wagoner
Pitch 8, right before the storm
Pitch 8, right before the storm
Credit: Richard P.
We are in the Storm!
We are in the Storm!
Credit: Vitaliy
Going for the crux, 5.12 pitch 8
Going for the crux, 5.12 pitch 8
Credit: Vitaliy
[Click to View YouTube Video]

Day Needle- BCB on the Prow VI 5.10A2.    Keeler Needle- Blood of the ...
Day Needle- BCB on the Prow VI 5.10A2. Keeler Needle- Blood of the Monkey VI 5.12
Credit: Myles Moser

click Here for Larger Version

Blood of the Monkey VI, 5.12 16 pitches- Keeler Needle
Blood of the Monkey VI, 5.12 16 pitches- Keeler Needle
Credit: Myles Moser

Click Here for Larger Version of Topo

Write Up by Amy Ness:

June 1, 2012

It was day 5 on the wall. We had just both been shut down by a very thin, very pumpy crack we now know to be the 5.12 crux. I was getting worried when the clouds started rolling in, but the snow flakes were only gently dancing down. The second we got into the ledge, all hell broke loose. Storms on this route were nothing new to us, our first attempt in March had us stranded inside for 5 of 6 days, finally forcing retreat. But this storm was different. I watched the top of the rainfly, wondering if it would blow out. Wondering if this was it.

"Are you scared?" Myles asked me. We were sitting across from one another in the portaledge, indian style, as to avoid touching the aluminum frame. Ice marbles were pounding down onto our thin-walled rainfly with what seemed like the force of a fire hose. We could hear booms of thunder and feel the lighting in the air. "Yeah", I replied after surveying my surroundings. I didn't want to hear that he was, too.

March 22-27, 2012

The idea to put up another free climb on Keeler Needle came to us this winter when we had planned to second Jeff Lowe and John Weiland's route (V,5.9 A2). During the 6 days on the wall, we discovered we could pick and choose the best looking line between Ammon McNeely's Australopithecus (a.k.a. Southern Monkey VI, 5.9 A3) and the Lowe Route. On that attempt we began up a right-facing open book, past a tooth-roof which we had thought to be the start of the Lowe Route (it was not), we then traversed up and left to Ammon McNeely's "Great White Shield". The name says it all, a killer, yet strenuous, C2 crack which passes through two short roofs. With shouts of joy, Myles passed the roofs only to see that the crack was about to get harder, getting thiner and thiner. Another explosion of excitement from above told me he had just freed it. The Great White Shield is now 5.11 and absolutely amazing!

Hanging off Southern Monkey's anchors, we looked at our next obstacle, free climbing the A2 hooks. Myles lowered down on the anchor quite a bit to avoid the drop zone. I stepped left to the remaining seam of The Great White Shield, then back right, riding dishes up and over Myles. Wham!!! I was in his lap. Another go. I was further out this time and came screaming off… upside down! After finally working out the sequence of the traverse, I encountered a snow covered ledge. Some digging by hand finally revealed some stone, but the two parallel seams lying ahead were going to require pitons. We called it a day. By morning the snow had melted out and Myles started up the parallel seams, swinging and wheeling the hammer while free climbing. Knife Blade one, Knife Blade two… Off Belay! We had free climbed what we have come to call The Upside-down Screamer Traverse (A2 hooks or 5.10c).

We finally arrived at the crack I had been waiting for: pitch five, 200 feet of Lowe's Splitter! Everything I love in a crack- blue to yellow tcu's, .5 camalots and perfect jams. I encountered an old hex right before it started getting wyde, a quick sling of the relic, and I kept pushing. Then all of sudden, I let my guard down. I was flying through midair, wondering when I was going stop. Past the hex I flew, then past a cam, and another, before I stopped! Unhurt and dangling below several pieces of gear, the cold in my hands and feet suddenly hit me like a train. I still don't know what caused my thirty footer…freezing feet, icy ledge, or icy crack, but whatever caused it, we were forced to make the inevitable decision. We packed it in and decided that pushing through the storms via hook, crook and ladder just would not do. The haul bag flew, the chute deployed, and the bag exploded!

Another storm rolled in.

Every time I looked up to the mountains, it haunted me- the bailing, the failing, all that work for nothing, but then, finally, the time had come. May 28, 2012 we were back on the wall with the sun blazing. To our surprise the first pitch had grown an extra 20 feet with the melting of the snow. A bivouac under the Great White Shield set us up for 2-3 pitches a day. The following morning Myles made easy work of the Shield and I took the rope in the crotch on the Upside-down Screamer Traverse, before sending it on the next attempt. The haulbag took a pendulum underneath Lowe's Splitter followed by an easy haul. Now it was time for redemption. The ice was gone and the sun was hot. The 200 feet of perfect crack went off without a hitch. I even found a piton which had been buried in the snow where I had fallen last time. Another bivy under Lowe's splitter set us up for the virgin ground of the unknown.

Hauling 72 lbs. of water, 12 days of food, bolts, pitons, hammers, portaledge, sleeping gear, etc. was slowly killing us. To make matters worse, during our second haul, my lens popped out of my sunglasses. The next day, blinded by the sun, Myles was forced to saw my remaining lens in half and use climbing tape to ma-giver a makeshift pair of shades, draining our tape supply. Bloodied hands and knuckles were forced to scrounge tape from whatever held the prized, sticky substance. We learned that extra sunglasses and climbing tape would never be forgotten again.

Towards the end of the day a choice had to be made- linking into The Lowe Route where the giant Red Dihedral opens and takes off, or left, turning a hairy arete to the unknown. Myles took us to the left in an attempt to finish pitch seven. He had to place two 1/4 inch button-heads by hand, a long tedious process eating up the rest of the day. The next morning I followed up the 5.11 exposed arete that feels like sport climbing at 13,000 feet. It was quite an experience, and I felt a small twinge of guilt for whining about belaying in the freezing cold so that those bolts could be placed. I came across Myles' fixed piton on the leftward traverse and understood the excitement and fear he had vocalized while placing it. Two more button-heads for the anchor and we were hauling. As we hung there looking up, we knew we had hit the crux. The beginning looked tricky, but it appeared to be sinker jams that slabbed out towards the top. The gear was sparse at the beginning, and I flew down towards Myles. I preceded to lead up it three more times, pulling the rope every time. Blood was seeping from my gobies and the pump in my forearms only got worse with each attempt. Myles lowered me and gave it a shot, he fell at the same spot and decided aiding to the top while cleaning would be best so we could work it. Day five, pitch eight, and we just got slammed!

This brings us back to the storm… June 1, 2012

Just as Myles was lowering from the top, the snow started falling. We hurried to set up camp while the wind tossed the portaledge in spirals. Then the hail. We jumped in our capsule just as it really hit. The stove was lit for heat as we sat there starring at one another, wondering what had just happened. We hadn't drank or eaten much all day but my appetite was suddenly gone. We tried to be positive by thinking that at least we could collect water if we had to wait out the storm, but things were looking grim at the moment, and we were scared.

The hail raged on...

Keeler was angry!

We woke to clear skies, but our energies were low…sleep had been sparse with the howling winds throughout the night. We had to keep pushing our bivy higher up on the wall, yet we vowed to rappel back down to the 5.12 crux and attempt to free climb it again. As often it happens with new routes, we had to decide, right or left once more. To our right, The Castle Death Flake guarded a beautiful crack at the top of pitch eight. A massive flake so fragile and delicate, it could only be described as natural art. To the left, was a great looking undercling which disappeared around the corner. We chose the cling to avoid taking off the awesome flakes. As I climbed upward, much to my delight, the pitch was great. A few crux moves made the pitch 5.10, but soon after I found myself on 5.8 terrain and ended my pitch below the enormous, overhanging headwall. A beautiful jam crack shot straight through the steep wall, disappearing into a ledge system. We decided to save this for the following day.

The next morning we dropped the 300 foot static rope back down to the 5.12 pitch. I knew I only had about two tries before I would be too pumped to try it again. The first time, I fell three times! By the second try, I felt confident that I knew all the moves and that it took good gear, but I fell again. I had freed every move on that pitch, but just couldn't link them together. It was now day six and the climb had to continue.

We jugged back up and Myles climbed that perfect jam crack above our camp, then jogged up the ledge system to the right. When he got to "The Red Explosion Dike" he put in a 3-bolt anchor for a hanging belay. We camped another night at the base of the headwall and discussed how we were utterly amazed by what had just happened. We managed to squeak by the steepest part of the wall with one bolt and a ledge system we could ride half way up the overhanging wall at only 5.11. Unfortunately, our next day did not go as planned. We went the wrong way! After spending most the day putting in two bolts and fixing a piton in the wrong direction, I took over and aided up a garbage seam directly above the belay. The winds blew vigorously forcing Myles to bury himself with all the extra ropes and equipment at the belay. He jugged franticly once the rope were fixed, unclipping and leaving the gear still in the wall, not wasting anytime. He came up to me freezing and shaking from the windchill. We wrestled our flying ledge into the rainfly that turned into a kite. Myles feet were icicles as I rubbed them with hand warmers and placed them in my armpits for warmth. The wind shook our hanging palace throughout the night.

June 4, 2012- Day 8

The wind and cold continued the next day. The plan was to go down on fixed ropes, Myles working the pitch on his grigri trying to find the way, me removing one of the unneeded bolts and piton. He was excited, progress looked good and "the climbing was great!" he shouted. Once the path had been decided, the bolts were placed and we were ready to free it. An incredible technical traverse through The Red Explosion Dike using underclings and side-pulls led to more splitter cracks. Hand warmer in my chaulkbag, I was ready for the onsight. The jams, and finger locks were so good that even though my feet slipped out, I was able to hang on. We were ecstatic! This was the gatekeeper of the climb and we knew we could free the rest of the Giant.

Day nine- I headed up pitch twelve until the rope drag became a nuisance forcing me onto a perfect perch to bring up Myles after 180 feet. We swapped leads and Myles took us 60 feet up a blocky dike to the Harding Ledge. The Final Headwall laid before us. Most parties finishing the Harding Route at this point escape to the North side for a loose garbage summit push. The crack straight up from the Harding Ledge is awesome and set us up for the last two pitches. The hauling, however, was horrendous! A massive 350 ft haul almost killed us. The norm for this trip and many other Sierra routes we've done involved hauling until the bag became stuck. Forcing me to zip down and free it, while Myles would haul the Pig. Jugging back up this time through the overhanging wall so close to the summit, I just wanted to be done.

Myles turned the last technical move to the South side of the Needle, taking us to the ropes end. I followed with the ropes trailing behind me. We decided I would take us to the summit and then shuttle our belongings on fixed lines. I passed the Kenny Cook plaque with a quick read and final scrabble to the summit. There was no celebration. We weren't done until everything was off the Masiff. It took us two shuttle trips and a tyrollean of the portaledge bag to get just below the summit as it got dark. We were out of water, out of juice and out of light. We set up the portaledge one last time 30 feet below the summit, picking the marmot hair out of the last remaining snow patch outside our door.

June 6, 2012

We top out one last time with short hauls once the sun rose. With our enormous bags packed we started up the main Mt. Whitney Trail to the summit, to descend the Mountaineer's Route. We told anyone who would listen to let our bosses at the Portal Store know that we would be down the next day and that we were fine. Getting down with all the equipment needed for this kind of expedition is always a slow, monotonous ordeal. By the time we got to base camp and looked up at Keeler, we were too exhausted to feel much of anything. It wouldn't be until a few days later driving up Whitney Portal Road, that the excitement crept back into my gut and I realized… We had freed the Needle!

Blood of the Monkey VI,
5.12, 16 pitches
Single Push Free Ascent, Capsule Style
May 28, 2012- June 6, 2012

Special thanks to our gracious Bosses at the Whitney Portal Store, Desert Blair, Barrel Chest, Elevation, Mammoth Mountaineering Gear Exchange, and my very driven partner.

  Trip Report Views: 13,565
Myles Moser
About the Author
Myles Moser is a climber from Lone Pine, Ca.

Myles Moser

Lone Pine, Ca
Author's Reply  Jun 27, 2012 - 01:09am PT

climber's near nevada...
  Jun 27, 2012 - 01:15am PT
sick !

Mountain climber
Draperderr, by Bangerter, Utah
  Jun 27, 2012 - 01:19am PT
Clint Cummins

Trad climber
SF Bay area, CA
  Jun 27, 2012 - 01:25am PT
Nice overlay.

Sport climber
Almost to Hollywood, Baby!
  Jun 27, 2012 - 03:48am PT
Wow, that is Adventure with a capital A.
part-time communist

Mountain climber
Bishop, CA
  Jun 27, 2012 - 06:21am PT

Hauling 72 lbs. of water, 12 days of food, bolts, pitons, hammers, portaledge, sleeping gear, etc. was slowly killing us.

Gym climber
Small Town with a Big Back Yard
  Jun 27, 2012 - 08:17am PT
A grand adventure!

Trad climber
Valles Marineris
  Jun 27, 2012 - 10:02am PT
Sounds like a great adventure.

Trad climber
  Jun 27, 2012 - 10:55am PT
"Bag tossers?!? ;)
Vitaliy M.

Mountain climber
San Francisco
  Jun 27, 2012 - 11:11am PT
wow, this is one of the coolest and hardest free climbs put up in Sierra in some time! Takes much more work to get to Keeler than walk across the street somewhere in Yosemite! Well done! Good luck on your next trips, seems like you guys have a great partnership and future.

Social climber
San Francisco
  Jun 27, 2012 - 04:19pm PT
Awesome write-up. Must be one of the proudest routes in the high sierra! Amazing accomplishment!
Ben Doyle

  Jun 27, 2012 - 05:21pm PT
Impressive effort yall!

  Jun 27, 2012 - 07:53pm PT
All right!

Trad climber
The pitch of Bagalaar above you
  Jun 27, 2012 - 07:56pm PT
Very Cool MM!

Heavy workload for sure.

beneath the valley of ultravegans
  Jun 27, 2012 - 08:20pm PT
Top notch (even if you bad mouth veggie burgers)!!!

Here's some 'next stop' stoke for you:
Free South Africa, Central Tower Paine

All Along the Watchtower, Seventh Rifle, and Stimulator on North Howser Tower

Way out there....
  Jun 27, 2012 - 08:42pm PT

Mountain climber
  Jun 28, 2012 - 02:33pm PT
bump this TR and route to the top!


Gym climber
  Jun 28, 2012 - 03:43pm PT
So, what do you do for fun?

But seriously, this is SERIOUSLY!
mouse from merced

Trad climber
The finger of fate, my friends, is fickle.
  Jun 28, 2012 - 04:12pm PT
Fun fun fun. All anyone wants. No such thing as too much of it.

"My baby looked up, said don't stop now."--Nelson Adelard Band

mike m

Trad climber
black hills
  Jun 28, 2012 - 05:13pm PT
Really great writing on an awsome looking climb. Congrats.

Trad climber
  Jun 28, 2012 - 07:31pm PT
You two are amazing. I am totally dumbfounded by your courage, resolve, and perseverance. Truly amazing.

Trad climber
  Jun 28, 2012 - 07:47pm PT
People sometimes look at a line on a pic or a topo and think, "that isn't so bad." All the while I was reading your tale I thought about how isolated, cold and massive it must have felt up there. It take amazing will power to push on in conditions like that.

People forget that on an FA there is no promise that things will work out. There is no knowledge that the next pitch will be an easy 5.8 or if it will be a flaky X-rated .11.

It is not often that one has a willing and able partner, are healthy, have the proper weather, and are just able to have the time and desire to push yourself like this. Great job to you guys on what looks like a really good line on a classic feature of the Sierras! Proud.

right here, right now
  Jun 28, 2012 - 10:47pm PT
Seems like nothing short of an Eastside renaissance happening of late, with the whole Pull Harder crew getting after it and whatnot.
(Notwithstanding Croft probably steady at it all these years)

Absolutely stunning activity/productivity level!

I'm envious, effusively supportive, and a great big fan of you all.
Keep gettin' your biscuits in that gravy while it's hot!

Mountain climber
  Jun 30, 2012 - 10:53am PT
Blood of the Monkey...haha I love the name of the route....Pays homage to the other lines, and ties them all in, with your own twist. Super cool
M Carville

Trad climber
Nevada City, CA
  Jun 30, 2012 - 12:17pm PT

Trad climber
Upland, CA
  Jun 30, 2012 - 12:44pm PT
Ya - Hoo! and Phew! What an adventure!
This is a climb that merits many exclamation points!
Ezra Ellis

Trad climber
North wet, and Da souf
  Jun 30, 2012 - 03:25pm PT
Sounds like a great adventure,
I would love to see a picture of the tape glasses.!
Mitch Underhill

Trad climber
Lake Tahoe
  Jun 30, 2012 - 05:03pm PT
Mega. Good Job!

  Jun 30, 2012 - 05:07pm PT
Nice WORK!!

Trad climber
  Jun 30, 2012 - 05:37pm PT
Yeaaaaaah!!!!! Great write-up Amy - glad to read about how the climb went! Will see you two soon!!
Myles Moser

Lone Pine, Ca
Author's Reply  Jun 30, 2012 - 09:51pm PT
Thanks guys for all the rad comments. Currently sneaking out from flipping burgers in the Portal to read what you Guys had to say. We have a killer video that needs some final editing then we will post it for all to see. It was a ton of work, a ton of fun, and whole lot of amazing climbing!

The route for sure needs a second, promise you won't be disappointed.

Gotta go, got a burger to flip!

Doug Robinson

Trad climber
Santa Cruz
  Jul 1, 2012 - 11:37am PT

You guys rock. This is SO badass!

The only other place in the High Sierra with climbing this hard is the Hulk. And it's way lower, feeling more like Tuolumne. Not exactly cowering in your ledge there, buffeted by hail as it swoops over the Crest.

Nice writing too, Amy. I felt with you the whole way, and my back hurt just thinking about your loads, stepping past verglas down the north face toward the Mountaineers Route.

Big congratulations!
zoom loco

Mountain climber
san diego ca
  Jul 2, 2012 - 09:59pm PT
excellent work out there myles and amy!

  Jul 2, 2012 - 11:30pm PT
Very cool TR! Thanks for sharing, very well written & cool photos! Stuff like this is the whole reason I started lurking here in the first place.

High adventure = High inspiration

  Jul 3, 2012 - 03:19am PT
wow-zers! detailed topo to boot! kick ass
Sol Wertkin

Leavenworth, WA
  Jul 3, 2012 - 03:24pm PT

Owww Owww (monkey call)

Trad climber
Idyllwild, California
  Jul 3, 2012 - 05:56pm PT
Congratulations Amy and Miles. Awesome adventure. Great read Amy. Is this the hardest big wall yet done in the Sierra? Not many like this one for sure...
The New Age Blitzo

Social climber
Joshua Tree, CA
  Jul 3, 2012 - 10:11pm PT
Nice job, kids!
Myles Moser

Lone Pine, Ca
Author's Reply  Jul 5, 2012 - 11:45am PT
QINTL - awesome photos! Thanks a lot.

D.R., Alois, and Mike Carville, you guys are it!

Carville, I was on your route( Crimson Wall) owe man that was some work and hard climbing. Thanks for the inspiration.

To everyone else- We dig the community and all the support from the Taco. No where else can you get the thumbs-up from living legends.

The movie is still on it's way.... I just hate my computer.

Gotta go! The mountain shop is throwin' me out for insults to the guests and stealing Internet.

Tahoe climber

Davis these days
  Jul 6, 2012 - 12:05pm PT

Big Wall climber
Ogden, Utah
  Jul 6, 2012 - 01:04pm PT
Congrats on the New route Myles and Amy, awesome job.

Not and easy task getting all your gear to the base and then have the motivation to free that hard. I remember jamming the crack in the great white shield and hooking near the top because I just got too drained to keep pulling down.

Cool write-up, photos and topo. Thanks for sharing.


Edit: How did the bolts at our anchor(s) look?
Myles Moser

Lone Pine, Ca
Author's Reply  Jul 6, 2012 - 02:38pm PT
Ammon- Bolts were totally bomber! The Great White Shield is Killer man! One of the best pitches along the route. Still looking forward to completing all of Southern Monkey later in the year once burger flippin' slowes down.

P.S. You and Lowe gave us the gateway..... Thank You!
Myles Moser

Lone Pine, Ca
Author's Reply  Jul 6, 2012 - 03:08pm PT
The Movie is up!

[Click to View YouTube Video]

Attempt one early in the season.

[Click to View YouTube Video]

Mountain climber
  Jul 8, 2012 - 10:58am PT
You guys videos are getting better and better! Legendary shite, awesome TR
M Carville

Trad climber
Nevada City, CA
  Jul 8, 2012 - 12:19pm PT
Hi Myles - great job to you two on Blood Monkey! I haven't talked to anyone who's been on Crimson - how was it? I may try to check out Blood Monkey later this summer if I can get back in shape for hard high Sierra climbing. Cheers, Mike

Social climber
granada hills
  Jul 9, 2012 - 12:27am PT
Amy and Miles nice to talk to you at the store today.

Awesome job on this, really!

14k, portaledge, storm!!!! I can't even imagine what you guys went through. Such a remote wall. So far out there. What an awesome achievement.

You two are living the life. Keep up the "awesome." Not every climber gets to do the cool things that you two do. Take advantage. Enjoy the great times together. Make the most of it.

Sick TR and Video. So good. Thanks for the East side Stoke.

Keep up the great work.



  Jul 11, 2012 - 06:45pm PT
Hey thanks for posting up your topo and TR, got us psyched to get up there and climb it! Nice route yall! Matt Othmer and I (Brad Wilson) sent your route yesterday and had a blast!

Trad climber
The pitch of Bagalaar above you
  Jul 11, 2012 - 07:26pm PT
^^^^Dude, now that is badass!

Couple of weeks for SA....sick.
Amy Ness

  Jul 12, 2012 - 03:18pm PT
Awesome 2nd guys! How long did it take you? We've wondered if it's doable in a day? Would love to hear your's the first time anyone has seconded any of our routes...yeah!

  Jul 13, 2012 - 05:27pm PT
Second Ascent 7/10/12 TR

Rack: doubles 000-2, triples yellow alien-.75, single 3, double 4s

I was up there on 5/16/12 and did the Harding route with my buddy Gil. I was very intrigued with the right side of the Keeler and caught myself thinking about route potential on the right side... Our trip came to an end and back to Colorado we went...a couple weeks later on a rest day I stumbled across this TR and got so psyched it was unimaginable--I mean a new 5.12 on one of the raddest features in the Sierra? whoa nelly. I knew exactly who I would try to partner up with, my old friend and silent crusher Matt. I sent him the topo and that awesome pic with the route convincing, he was psyched!! I blasted back.

The forecast showed 20% after 11am...but a hiker told us otherwise as we racked up in the lot--sweet, no weather stress! We hiked in and bivied on a super flat boulder. We missed the alarm, of course, and were at the base of the route at 6:45am. Because the route is stacked with hard pitches, and we both wanted some of the splitter pitches, we decided that leading in blocks of 3 pitches would work out the best for us. We contemplated leading the route in two blocks for speed, but one of us would have gotten the shaft (no splitter). We both wanted the crux pitch, so we roshambo'd to see who would get it...matt won thus he got the first block.

Beta Warning: if you don't want it, don't read it!

The third pitch was memorable, out the roof on a good jug and then up the good crack to a sequential crux reaching the belay. My first block started with a balency traverse with factor 2 fall potential onto the anchor which was two bomber bolts! That pitch put us under the lower splitter, which was my favorite pitch of the route! Matt took back over at the "cool-wiggle-to-arete" pitch and cruised up the wide crack, which could have probably been done without the #5, then made the sporty mini-roof 5.11 look like child's play, although he said it was a bit tenuous slinging the anchor (2 1/4" buton heads!) with wired nuts, as we had forgotten the keyhole hangers...Matt fired the crux 5.12 crack making it look easy with steady dilligence and impeccable technique. I followed and arrived at the belay breathing a bit heavy. Matt fired the under-cling pitch. Without resting, we swung leads, and I proceeded to 'blow the on-sight' by taking the only fall right off of the belay on P10. I landed safely on the ledge and barely fired the steep crack second forearms were cramping pretty badly. Don't build the anchor in the foothold...if possible. Whew, glad I got those excuses out. I rested ate and drank as Matt came up, but was still cramping as I headed up the 5.11+ pitch...I knew it was going to be a battle and was going to have to rest at every opportunity. I eeked my way up that pitch, and I think I linked it with the next pitch at about 180', b/c I never saw the bolt (or button head) on the ledge indicated on the topo. I stopped after an un-protectable-ish 5.7 ramp up and left, benieth a steep right facing 4" corner. The wide crack was great, and it put me on the huge ledge up near the top. We looked at the topo, looked at the rock, and decided to do the awesome 5.10 1/2" corner that I opted to climb when we did the Harding Route back in May. Matt was psyched and fired it then went up and left to an easy hand-crack to chimney, stopping at the ramp. I led the last rampy, bouldery pitch(s) simuling probably 150' to the summit! We didn't take a watch on the climb, but were back at our car at 10:00pm. No speed ascent here...but we sent!!![photo[photo[photoid=255172]id=255170]id=255169]


Social climber
San Francisco
  Jul 13, 2012 - 05:59pm PT
More BAD AZZ! Proud send!
Amy Ness

  Jul 13, 2012 - 06:01pm PT
You guys are hard! Good work...might have to try it in a day ourselves:)

Trad climber
CA Central Coast
  Jul 13, 2012 - 07:19pm PT
BAD ass for sure! an awesome adventure
Myles Moser

Lone Pine, Ca
Author's Reply  Jul 13, 2012 - 08:20pm PT
Boom!!!! Way to send Boys! Killer shot of The Red Explosion Dike Traverse. Good on you and way to get after it!

Im totally jacked about this! Awesome work!

The second ascent falls.

Social climber
Angelus Oaks, Ca
  Jul 13, 2012 - 09:13pm PT
These guys blasted by my girlfriend and I on the mountaineers route on Whitney on the decent after our own lil fun traverse from Langley to there. They were pumped and jacked about it! So cool to see them after while so raw. Good job guys way to crush it!
Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
  Jul 14, 2012 - 12:57pm PT
Outstanding effort and style on the FA and first repeat.

Amazing find for 2012!

I hope that you are giving some thought to rapping down and properly equipping your stellar route.

Mild steel split-shaft bolts are not reliable for very long and the consequences of free climbing protection bolts failing isn't a very pretty picture either.

Before you two move on to something else how about finishing this one off with some nice beefy stainless?
Myles Moser

Lone Pine, Ca
Author's Reply  Jul 17, 2012 - 07:31pm PT
The button heads are so unobtrusive and fast. 3/8" protect the cruxes. 2 button heads and a cam make up the two hanging belays... What's wrong with that? And rappel down? How would we climb out?

How do you feel about pitons?

Social climber
The Past
  Jul 17, 2012 - 10:13pm PT
First and foremost, good job on the FA (and SA). Looks killer. I'm not really surprised you two went up there and got after it. Sounds about right. Excellent.


This isn't Australia. Leave hangers on the bolts. Unless of course either one of you are Australian.

Consider dispensing entirely with the 1/4" in the future. Think long-term - longer lasting safe bolts and delayed route maintenance.

Fixed pins? Generally not a good option on free routes, IMO. Another long term consideration.

Just 2 cents worth regarding the fixed pro. Again, good job.

BTW: I'm sure JW won't believe that the route was given a name in English, instead of some foreign language. I think you know what I mean.

Mountain climber
  Jul 18, 2012 - 03:15pm PT
"This isn't Australia. Leave hangers on the bolts. Unless of course either one of you are Australian."

thats awesome

Gym climber
Sierra Nevada, CA
  Jul 19, 2012 - 03:37pm PT
Proud work! Cool video! Good job! Radness..................

Trad climber
Mountain View
  Jul 19, 2012 - 03:55pm PT

Just wanted to repost the missing of photos from Brad. It doesn't look like it worked above...


  Jul 19, 2012 - 07:24pm PT
I thought the route was well equipped...would recommend hangers for the faint of heart, but the slung wires were bomber...well placed indeed! We of course clipped everything we could see and the pitons looked bomb proof! I am sure the 1/4"ers will inspire sending in subsequent ascents as well! Thanks again for posting the topo up Miles and Amy you guys chose nicely! now go climbing!

Trad climber
  Oct 10, 2012 - 01:35am PT
Amy, Myles- I gotta say I'm proud. You are really living a dream of mine. A big wall first ascent through all kinds of storms and other adversities. Wow! No gaurantees if the choices made are gonna go. much less go free.
I can only imagine what thoughts of excitement, uncertainty, fear, exhilaration occur while nailed down for days, While up on virgin rock. Remarkable writing, beautiful video footage, excellent topo.
I guess I'm just jealous. you know shoulda coulda woulda.
I gotta hand it to you, finishing up the last 2 pitches to top out the direct line instead of bailing around to the north. Tired, done with hauling gear, want off, out of water, late for work and still finshed it in beautiful style! I hope some of my old gear came in handy ;-)

Trad climber
Monrovia, California
  Oct 11, 2012 - 02:08pm PT
Hi Amy and Myles,

I enjoyed the video, congratulations on your remarkable new route!

FWIW I think those who are suggesting that you under-equipped the line or even should go so far as to rappel it to upgrade the bolts are missing the point. You did a real serious hard alpine route in tough conditions and in great style! Then you told everyone exactly what came down up there and what they can expect IF THEY GO UP AND DO IT. So if someone does the climb, following your pioneering ascent, and sees fit to add a bolt to a belay they can do that, right? And of course the second ascent party did not seem to see things the same way as the armchair quarterbacks…

I thought the route was well equipped...would recommend hangers for the faint of heart, but the slung wires were bomber...well placed indeed! We of course clipped everything we could see and the pitons looked bomb proof! I am sure the 1/4"ers will inspire sending in subsequent ascents as well! Thanks again for posting the topo up Miles and Amy you guys chose nicely! now go climbing!

Quick question. At 5 min in the video that’s a 3/8 or 12mm drill bit your using, right?

the Fet

  Oct 13, 2012 - 02:43pm PT
Wow! I missed this before. A+ on the line, the FA, the style, the pics, the TR, the SA and it's TR.

Trad climber
Punter, Little Rock
  Oct 31, 2012 - 10:51pm PT
Nice TR

Mountain climber
Ljubljana, Slovenia
  Nov 1, 2012 - 03:57am PT

Trad climber
Oaksterdam, CA
  Nov 5, 2012 - 08:04pm PT
Myles Moser

Lone Pine, Ca
Author's Reply  Nov 6, 2012 - 07:09pm PT
It's a Shameless Bump, but I got a TOPO!!! and Over Lay.

Click Here For larger Version

Click Here For larger Version

Trad climber
Portland, Oregon
  Nov 6, 2012 - 07:13pm PT
Great effort and TR! Gotta go with Texplorer on this one:

Texplorer: It is not often that one has a willing and able partner...

Big Wall climber
Newbury Park
  Feb 26, 2014 - 08:23pm PT
This is one of my favorite TRs. Well done, again, Myles and Amy.

Trad climber
Orem, Utah
  Feb 27, 2014 - 12:38am PT
You two are badass! I wish I could do it. Cool video - "get that thing outta my face!"
Brandon Adams

Big Wall climber
Monterey, CA
  Feb 27, 2014 - 12:05pm PT
Wow. Truly amazing.

Social climber
my abode
  Feb 27, 2014 - 12:25pm PT
That was really good. I couldn't stop reading. I felt like I was right there.

  Oct 17, 2014 - 02:58pm PT
great TR....thanks!
Neil K

  Jun 24, 2015 - 07:02pm PT
A big cheers to Miles and Amy for their effort putting up this route, proud and bold! After climbing the route on June 20, 2015 with Dave Elder I have huge reverence for their tenacity and determination to continue when facing the FEAR and you will feel it up there.
We started climbing at 7am after looking around for the correct start and stood on the summit of Keeler Needle 19 hours later under starry skies 2am, FULLY WORKED! I can assure you from personal witness that the two membrs of the SA, Matt and Brad are mutant borderline deities in the realm of hard climbing, be warned!
On pitch 4, the upside down screamer, we opted to penji right rather than sack up for hard unprotected climbing directly off the two bolt anchor (fat bolts and what do know they even include hangers to clip! Thanks to Ammon)
Pitch 6, really would have liked some of those handy bolt hangers to protect the climbing. Dave stopped short of the buttonheads at the belay as they are nearly invisible without hangers.
Pitch 7 the crux, its probably 5.12, we pulled on gear. Am I right on reading this was not freed on lead during the FA? If so, props to Matt Othmer for the onsight FFA, freaky I'm telling you!
Overall some great climbing on this route and a big adventure with hard free climbing in a spectacular setting; doable in a day, albeit a huge one! Expect flakey Keeler type rock and some lichen/dirt, bolt hangers would be greatly appreciated, otherwise feels well protected ( besides the screamer traverse)
Go do it!
Some photos over
Vitaliy M.

Mountain climber
San Francisco
  Jun 22, 2015 - 04:39pm PT
Damn good account of the possible third ascent, thank you for posting!
You guys should also climb my new line on Bubbs creek wall, The Emperor. Freed it like 2 weeks ago, now it needs a second ascent! Stacked with good and hard climbing. About 2200 ft. :)

Gym climber
Minkler, CA
  Jun 22, 2015 - 05:34pm PT
Impressive climb!

Oh, and the third pitch of the emperor is the only really well done pitch :)
Amy Ness

  Jul 6, 2015 - 08:57pm PT
Thanks Neil! Awesome that you guys went back there and did it!!! Talked to Dave a bit about it...kinda makes me want to get back out there for a one day ascent:) As far as the upside-down-screamer-traverse...there is a reason we called it that. I took that fall right onto Myles before finally figuring the slab out, but it wasn't our place to put bolts on the existing route. Sorry about the button-heads:) It made sense at the time, but we have talked about replacement. Would love to see some pics if you guys took any...sounds like you definitely had an adventure!
Myles Moser

Lone Pine, Ca
Author's Reply  Jul 8, 2015 - 08:57am PT
The crux pitch was one hung with Amy leading it. She gave it hell numerous times pulling her rope every time. I followed it clean on top rope... hell of a mean pitch! With progress slow we had to keep pushing the route. You guys did a killer job getting up there and repeating it! Thanks for doing it. Hung with Dave and he told me the quote of the day was " F**k Myles!" . Made laugh.

Trad climber
The pitch of Bagalaar above you
  Jul 8, 2015 - 09:35am PT

Very cool looking route, and a big undertaking.

Doing this capsule style warranted some expedited drilling methods it seems. Totally acceptable.

It is proud when a big route such as this goes up WITHOUT a powerdrill in tow.

Props for treating this wilderness stone with the respect it deserves.

You guys rock.

Nor Cal
  Jul 8, 2015 - 10:33am PT
great TR, way to tear it up. a friend and i did the pitches 14-16 back in 90 to finish the harding route. Not sure if someone did it earlier, but so hard to resist and why go the other way?

Trad climber
Fresno/Clovis, ca
  Jul 10, 2015 - 12:34am PT
I love this thread! Rad climbing, gnarly tenacity and pride of line on one of the proudest formations in the range.
Larry Nelson

Social climber
  May 31, 2016 - 06:10pm PT
Bump for a really good TR