Lost Arrow Chimney 5.10

 
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Lost Arrow Spire


Yosemite Valley, California USA


Trip Report
Lost Arrow Chimney Trip Report 9/19/09
Tuesday September 22, 2009 1:53am
Lost Arrow Chimney Trip Report 9/19/09

This is a climb I’ve wanted to do for a long time. I went up to take a look at it in 2006.
http://www.supertopo.com/climbing/thread.html?topic_id=145597&tn=0
And I’ve collected beta over the years.
http://www.supertopo.com/climbing/thread.html?topic_id=372567&msg=372567#msg372567

I’ve had some injuries over the last few years but this year I’ve been climbing well and more or less healthy so I started aiming for a Lost Arrow Chimney attempt. Chad was looking for someone to go up with him so he could replace the rotten protection bolt at the crux. I told him I was game and the trip was on.
Here is a link to Chad's fine Trip Report of his first climb of this route.
http://www.supertopo.com/climbing/thread.html?topic_id=594613&tn=0

I cut the gear loops off one of my older harnesses to facilitate the expected thin chimneys. This worked out well. I also bought some climbing pants that had no belt loops in the back. We took a 9.6 60 meter rope and a 8.1 60 meter rope. We took a, for me, very small rack. One set of DMM peanuts, which I don’t think we used at all. On set of BD stoppers #4 to #13.We used these all the time. The big one was very useful. 0, 1 and 2 C3s. One each .4 to .75 C4s. Two each #1 and #2 C4s. This was my contribution- I said we should double up these two. We took a #6 C4 and a #4 Bigbro. We used the #6 a lot. We didn’t use the #4 bigbro. This rack was a little small. A #3 C4 would have been nice but not mandatory. Doubles of the other small cams would have been handy especially when building belays. We had twelve shoulder length slings.
We met at the entrance station on 120 at 4:30 am. We didn’t get racked at the base of the climb until about 8 am.
Here is a pic on the approach.
The route goes up the left side chimney of Lost Arrow Spire.

I took the first two pitches, when the rope came tight Chad simulclimbed about 70 feet. The 5.9 on P2 is very reasonable. I was totally out of gear and the anchor was one old button head and what looked like a rusty #5 Chouinard stopper. I got one other stopper in and just kind of braced myself on the ledge. When Chad came up we put in a good yellow C3 to augment the belay. This belay can go all gear when the bolt rots.
Here’s a pic looking down the first two pitches.

Chad was able to link P3 and P4.
Here’s a pic of P3
The 5.9 move around the roof turned out to be tricky for me.

Here’s a pic looking up P4.
The two lower chockstones turned out to be harder for me than the “safety valve”. The “safety valve” protects with the #6 so these bolts can rot in place too. The “safety valve” is more of a short OW than a squeeze. You can keep your head out of it. One of the hangers had no nut so Chad took it off. Here’s a pic of this relic.

I lead P5. First there is some cool stemming with good pro. Then you do the OW for a while and I made the mistake of leaving the #6 behind in that section. As I got higher I got some good pro and then started running it out again on 5.9 OW. Eventually I said the hell with this and climbed and lowered back down to get the #6. The other side of the chimney at that point may have been easier to climb but when I looked over there I could see no pro at all.

Heres’ a pic of P6.

You can see it starts with this 10a or so flake, very slippery, I almost whipped following, to the strange but not too hard climb out to the right. There seems to be two options at that point. Reid shows you go right for a while and climb back left 20 or 30 feet higher. some have had trouble with this in TRs so Chad went right back left into the chimney after maybe 10 feet or so. This is a hard strange move but I did it clean so it is probably no harder than 10a. This is a great pitch.

The next pitch is supposed to be one of the easier pitches and if continuous 120 foot 5.7/8 chimneys are your thing, it is. I enjoyed it and there was just enough pro. Here’s a pic.

Here’s a pic looking out at absolutely dry Yosemite Falls.

P8 is the technical crux pitch. It’s a pretty cool pitch actually. Chad pulled and patched the two manky bolts and put in one new 3/8” so the crux moves have bomber pro now. Here is a pic of Chad drilling.

And if you are getting tired by now I found the bolt makes a convienient foothold at the crux.

Here is a pic of the bullet pack being hauled. It is free hanging, which gives an idea of the steepness here.

Chad fired off the real crux squeeze in good style. By now I was beat. I managed to worm my way up the first 10a flare section before completely running out of gas. Fortunately I had a couple of Tiblocs and ascended to the belay.

Here’s a pic of Chad on the last pitch in the fading light.

We managed to get two out of the eight rappels done before the light went out. With Clint and MAD BOLTER's rappel chart we easily found the rest of the raps by headlamp. By the time we got back to the car it was around 10:30. Another good day in the valley on a classic route was done. Chad, thanks for going up there with me!
Climb on!
Zander

(Edit- Chad added his TR of our climb on post 53.)
http://www.supertopo.com/climbing/thread.php?topic_id=965110&tn=53

  Trip Report Views: 2,901
Zander
About the Author
Zander is a trad climber from Berkeley.

Comments
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Comment on this Trip Report
Mike Bolte

Trad climber
Planet Earth
  Sep 22, 2009 - 01:59am PT
yah! another adventure with zander. Excellent!
Mungeclimber

Trad climber
Nothing creative to say
  Sep 22, 2009 - 01:59am PT
well done you guys!
tonesfrommars

Trad climber
California
  Sep 22, 2009 - 02:03am PT
way 2 go doodz
Ed Hartouni

Trad climber
Livermore, CA
  Sep 22, 2009 - 02:05am PT
good on you guys!
and congratulations Zander, I know this is one you really wanted!!
nutjob

Sport climber
Almost to Hollywood, Baby!
  Sep 22, 2009 - 05:23am PT
Without taking anything from the fairer sex, thou art manhood incarnate.

Awesome!

You kind of made it sound casual though?

Clint Cummins

Trad climber
SF Bay area, CA
  Sep 22, 2009 - 05:34am PT
Awesome!!
Way to go out and get after it.
And photos, too! (Chad got such good ones in his previous TR, but you added to those).

I asked my friend Bob Palais once how hard he thought it was, relative to the Steck-Salathe'. Bob said he thought it was about 3 times harder. What do you think?

Great job on replacing those 2 bad bolts with one good one, Chad!
And nice work on looking at the other bolts and judging if they needed replacement.

I think the LA Chimney must be the *real* classic, and the tip sort of a joke. Heck, it's an awesome line, and the first Valley big wall, ahead of its time. But the LA Chimney is only accessible by the true Valley hardmen/hardwomen, and the tip is within bumblie range, so the tip made it into the Roper/Steck book....

Thanks for sharing!
Prod

Trad climber
  Sep 22, 2009 - 07:23am PT
Zander getting it done! Again!

Thanks,

Prod.
freerider

climber
  Sep 22, 2009 - 07:57am PT
Nice!
good job. the valley is awesome...
Jaybro

Social climber
Wolf City, Wyoming
  Sep 22, 2009 - 08:18am PT
Oh yeah!
eeyonkee

Trad climber
Golden, CO
  Sep 22, 2009 - 08:51am PT
Very nice. I'm glad this route still gets done.
Alexey

climber
San Jose, CA
  Sep 22, 2009 - 10:09am PT
Zander, thanks for trip report and congratulations with your wanted long time rout to be made.
What rack you would take next time to be comfortable on all pitches ?
I probably missed in report- why you replaced two old bolts by only one new- no need for second -possible gear placement or other reasons?

how easy was to find rappel route - any topos you had (links)?













Zander

climber
Author's Reply  Sep 22, 2009 - 11:02am PT
Hey Clint,
Before we started the climb Chad was wondering about which was really harder the Steck Salathe or Lost Arrow Chimney. He and his partner Mike did them in about the same amount of time. I’ll be interested to see what he thinks now after a second trip. In my opinion Lost Arrow Chimney is definitely harder. I would say LAC is about 1 1/2 times as hard. The first three pitches you can stay on your feet with just an occasional roof. After that it is pretty much continuous climbing. It is hard at the end. On the Steck Salathe two out of the last three pitches are mild. On the other hand if you are not comfortable on chimneys, squeezes and OWs in the 5.8 to 5.9 range you are toast. Then it is infinitely harder.

Alexey,
The two bolts Chad replaced were 2 inches apart. I’ve seen you climb Alexey, you will do well on this climb. Clint posted a little chart of the rappels. It is on one of the Lost Arrow Spire rappel threads. The chart starts 50 feet below the first Spire belay so basically you add one 50 foot rappel to the chart.

Zander
Peter Haan

Trad climber
Santa Cruz, CA
  Sep 22, 2009 - 11:07am PT
Great Chad and Zander! Nice to see the "ole route" 38 years later. And finally someone replaces those pathetic bolts. A fall there is not out of the question as it is friable, granular rock there. With the replacement done, a few more real climbing parties will do the climb. Thanks.

ph
elcap-pics

Big Wall climber
Crestline CA
  Sep 22, 2009 - 11:16am PT
Sweet!! Nice pics and a great climb. Thanks for posting up!!
donini

Trad climber
Ouray, Colorado
  Sep 22, 2009 - 11:20am PT
Nice!! Did it BITD and loved it. Wouldn't it be a great one for transition from sport to trad- not!
scuffy b

climber
heading slowly NNW
  Sep 22, 2009 - 11:24am PT
Ah, Beautiful.

Congratulations, anf thanks for the report and the bolt replacement.
Eric Beck

Sport climber
Bishop, California
  Sep 22, 2009 - 11:27am PT
"The day you do the Lost Arrow Chimney in a day is the day you do more work than on any other day of your live" -Sacherer
Footloose

Trad climber
Lake Tahoe
  Sep 22, 2009 - 12:53pm PT
Wow, nice work, guys.
Clearly, two adventurous hardmen!
Extremely inspiring. Thanks!
Doug Hemken

climber
Madison, WI
  Sep 22, 2009 - 02:38pm PT
Another great TR. I always look forward to your TRs!
Slakkey

Big Wall climber
From Back to Big Wall Baby
  Sep 22, 2009 - 02:56pm PT
Inspiring as I have been going through the injury thing and am really trying to get all that behind me. takes time though. Great TR, great climb, well done guys.
rhyang

climber
SJC
  Sep 22, 2009 - 03:03pm PT
Nice work !! Great pics too.
JEleazarian

Trad climber
Fresno CA
  Sep 22, 2009 - 03:16pm PT
Zander,

I think you post my favorite TR's. Every one is a climb I've done or always wanted to do -- and now you've outdone yourself Thanks for the TR, and for the bolt replacement, and congratulations on a climb done well!

John
Alexey

climber
San Jose, CA
  Sep 22, 2009 - 03:35pm PT
I also forget to mention that this TR is very inspiring to do this route. Somehow I missed previous Chad report from 2008. Now reading them both and looking to do it in next spring with longer days
Russ Walling

Social climber
from Poofters Froth, Wyoming
  Sep 22, 2009 - 03:37pm PT
A+ guys!
cleo

Social climber
wherever you go, there you are
  Sep 22, 2009 - 03:48pm PT
awesome, well done!
Ray-J

Social climber
socal
  Sep 22, 2009 - 04:07pm PT
Props Zander.
Great pics/beta.
Greg Barnes

climber
  Sep 22, 2009 - 04:12pm PT
Cool! Nice job!

Did Chad end up using one of the extra long 3/8", or a normal length one?

How is it that the LA Chimney and a 30 ft tall climb on plastic holds in a gym both end up being called "5.10a"?
Ghost

climber
A long way from where I started
  Sep 22, 2009 - 04:17pm PT
Bump for what it's all about.
le_bruce

climber
Oakland, CA
  Sep 22, 2009 - 04:19pm PT
Great!

I'll second Alexey's question: what would your ideal rack be Zander? I don't ask Salamanizer only because I get the sense he's the type of guy who would slim down that skeleton rack you took for the next time. What say you to us 5.10 proles, Zander?
OlympicMtnBoy

climber
Seattle
  Sep 22, 2009 - 05:57pm PT
Damn, I'm adding this to my list! Thanks.
caughtinside

Social climber
Oakland, CA
  Sep 22, 2009 - 06:26pm PT
Well done Zander and Chad! Thanks for the route maintenance!
mason805

Trad climber
East Bay, CA
  Sep 22, 2009 - 06:34pm PT
Awesome TR man.

You guys have to be pretty good because I look at that route and think, "that's only a 5.10a??"

Really sweet.
Phil_B

Social climber
CHC, en zed
  Sep 22, 2009 - 06:35pm PT


Way to go!
Chiloe

Trad climber
Lee, NH
  Sep 22, 2009 - 08:01pm PT
Well illustrated and described, you brought us armchair types right along.
the museum

Trad climber
Rapid City
  Sep 22, 2009 - 08:30pm PT
WOW, that is awesome, good job guys! Thanks for sharing.
klk

Trad climber
cali
  Sep 22, 2009 - 08:34pm PT
nice. just saw this
seneca

climber
jamais, jamais pays
  Sep 22, 2009 - 11:00pm PT
Zander! You are the man! Great trip report. An inspiration.
Zander

climber
Author's Reply  Sep 22, 2009 - 11:54pm PT
Hey le_bruce,
I’m going to offer a rack suggestion but before I do I want you to notice something. If you look at the climbers who have climbed this route on the various threads- jaybro, Brutus of Wyde, Peter Haun, eeyonkee, the two Sar guys Werner mentions in the rebolting thread, Hal Hammer and his partner with his sweet TR, donini, and Chad and Mike, there is one guy who does not fit in with these solid climbers. That guy is me, 5.9 noob, and I am climbing better than I ever have in the ten years I’ve been climbing. And this is the type of climb I train for all the time. And I still got worked. I offer this suggestion with deep humility.

This is a climb where you better take responsibility for your actions. This ain’t no Supertopo climb.
2 or three micro stoppers- just in case.
BD stoppers #4 to #13
Doubles of cams from 3/8” to #2 C4
One #3 C4
Optional #4 C4
One or two #6 C4, see my TR.
The # 4bigbro. I did not need this on any of my pitches and neither did Chad. My sense was that when you can use them you are on 5.7 chimney terrain. Read Hal Hammers report, though, he disagrees with that. Make your own call.

I wore 1/8” neoprene knee braces and tan Ace type elbow pads. We didn’t tape our hands, no need. Two quarts per person with gookinaid. Could have used more. Small bullet pack worn the first few pitches and then hauled. Do not do this off the couch. Go for it, you won’t regret it.

Zander
E Robinson

climber
Salinas, CA
  Sep 23, 2009 - 12:01am PT
Great TR, brings back memories. Did you brave the Harding Hole? My fried memory has that logged as one of the wilder squeeze moments to be had.
E
Karl Baba

Trad climber
Yosemite, Ca
  Sep 23, 2009 - 12:12am PT
Bad Azz Bro! I'm totally impressed. Everyone who does it say the route is punishing!

Peace

karl
Jello

Social climber
No Ut
  Sep 23, 2009 - 12:16am PT
Thanks Zander. Never got to do that classic. Your pics help me to know what it's like.

-Jello
Darwin

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
  Sep 23, 2009 - 01:05am PT
Thanks for the TR with photos Zander.

RE your caveat emptor: Don't worry, you will not be responsible for getting me on it. Not that I wouldn't want to in my dreams, but it's a bit far away and probably way over my head.

Dawin
mucci

Trad climber
The pitch of Bagalaar above you
  Sep 23, 2009 - 01:06am PT
Alright Z!

Man you get to all of the good ones!

Good work replacing those bolts, many thanks from my end.

Great pictures, that haulbag pic is awesome!

Mucci
HalHammer

Trad climber
CA
  Sep 23, 2009 - 01:51am PT
Hey WTG that is awesome to see more parties up there! Classic route, I hoped it would start getting done more frequently. Says a lot to haul the bolt kit way up there finally.


-Your beta I'd agree the #4 bro is not esential now. We called it mandatory because it was the only thing that could place in the vicinity of the crux/runout fossil bolt land; that fall was dangerous onto the flake in the crack below. Cliff was glad to have it on the safety valve lead as well. We placed it one more time on the long 5.9 squeeze pitch above the crux.

Quite the reputation hangs over the chimney. I love getting on those kind of lines. Good on you guys; more people get out there! When we were going to check it out in the valley no one knew anything. Only Timmy and Dean and Honnold had been up there in the last recent years. We were warned of loose funky climbing with manky gear. Alex's partner said he called the traversing 5.10 on the old topo frustrating, unclimbable free after several tries. What the heck does that mean is up there?!

So.. key the Darth Vader music... no it's not terrible; quite the adventure. A steeper sustained cousin of the Steck Salathe. With the improved bolt replacement by Zander and his partner this climb is a fun long physical day. Nice work! Burl!
MH2

climber
  Sep 23, 2009 - 04:34am PT
That's a good day, Zander!
Peter Haan

Trad climber
Santa Cruz, CA
  Sep 23, 2009 - 08:54am PT
Karl,

About the Harding Hole. This Zander party did the better alternative pitch on the outside, basically just continuing up the chimney to the notch without any tricks. Their last photo shows this. This last pitch is one of the best on the whole route, by the way and is 5.9, protectable. Some handjamming and a little roof, nothing too radical and on the best rock of the climb. The Harding Hole is really tiny. You chimney sideways way back in there, the crack getting smaller and smaller slowly. I tried it when I was 185 lbs and I could get one arm out and just stick my head through to enjoy the insane exposure you would get coming through the final hole to the notch. But it was also a little bit worrisome as you could possibly get stuck back in there, God Help You. It is just really small and lame because it would circumvent the more interesting, bettter climbing of the alternate pitch.

In general, Pilgrims, the route is only 5.10a, is reasonably safe especially now with the fossils eliminated at the crux, and is really classic climbing. But there is like a 1,000 feet of steep chimneys, squeezes and combination climbing and usually most climbers get pretty tired in there. they aren't use to using their cores that much for that long. Retreating from somewhere on the route itself might be quite problematic with hung-up rappels, I would imagine and you would be leaving very valuable gear too... So you want to get to the Notch. Will Tyree and I did the second or third free ascent of it in 1971 in 6 hrs. The late Bill Bonebrake hiked to the rim and left us Jumars, slings and a fixed line from the big tree to the Notch. Oh, and you would NOT want to be there in weather or even worse, freezing conditions where ice might be coming off the rim; you might not be able to shelter yourself. And lastly, we did not bring a pack; too much trouble.
Karl Baba

Trad climber
Yosemite, Ca
  Sep 23, 2009 - 12:20pm PT
HI Peter
If you had two ropes, couldn't you bail at one of the Error ledges and rap the direct route?

Yeah, the Harding Hole is one place I've sworn never to go and I don't think you'll be venturing there either, absent some famine!

Peace

Karl
Peter Haan

Trad climber
Santa Cruz, CA
  Sep 23, 2009 - 12:56pm PT
That's for sure. I am really fat nowadays, to say the least. But even someone 175# probably could not make it through and you'd miss a really fun, pretty final pitch to the notch on the outside.
scuffy b

climber
heading slowly NNW
  Sep 23, 2009 - 03:07pm PT
Didn't Salathe and Nelson descend by rappelling the Chimney?
Peter Haan

Trad climber
Santa Cruz, CA
  Sep 23, 2009 - 03:12pm PT
You can rappel anything of course, but do you want to run any chance of hanging a rappel deep in a chimney? And do you want to leave equipment for a bunch of anchors? My point being that if a party is going to go up there, they really should be damned serious about doing the whole enchilada otherwise they might not be so happy after retreating.

You certainly could go on the outside, Karl in a couple of places. And it appears the face has bolts at most/all of the belays.
del cross

climber
  Sep 23, 2009 - 03:29pm PT
> Didn't Salathe and Nelson descend by rappelling the Chimney?

"Getting off the climb requires a long rappel down the narrow confines of the chimney. However, we prusiked from the Third Error to the rim on a fixed rope, since friends were on hand to help rig it." -- Ax Nelson, Five Days and Nights on the Lost Arrow

Third Error = The Notch, correct?
Zander

climber
Author's Reply  Sep 23, 2009 - 11:13pm PT
Hey E Robinson,
We did not do the Harding hole. I know I couldn't fit!

Hey Greg,
Chad used one of the shorter bolts. Apparently the rock was pretty good.

Zander

Salamanizer

Trad climber
The land of Fruits & Nuts!
  Sep 30, 2009 - 03:27am PT
Nice TR Zander, I had a great time on the route and an awesome time climbing with you as always. Sorry to have sandbagged you on the rack a bit. Don't ever listen to my beta, I never know what the hell I'm talking about and end up sandbagging myself half the time as well.

Thanks everyone for your compliments. I hope this TR riles the crowd to get out there and climb this classic. And for those of you who never get the chance I hope you walk away with a sense of the route, both it's nature and aesthetics as well as the mastery of those who first climbed it in 1947.

Now for the good stuff. A view of the route through the lens of the other d00d who was there.

Looking up from the base you can get a sense of the route. A bit intimidating, a bit intriguing, a good adventure to be sure.

Credit: Salamanizer


Sorry, no pictures of the first couple pitches as I was busy climbing and belaying. However, here is a shot of the famed Zander pulling with good style through the first crux of the Safety Valve. I figured it's a tight squeeze chimney, you can't fall out so... click, click.

Credit: Salamanizer


After the safety valve, Zander lead the 5.9 O.W. fifth pitch with just a little back cleaning. It was my fault he was unable to cruise this pitch as I skimmed the rack a bit too much. After the back cleaning he cruised right up in good style. I've climbed a lot of 5.9 O.W. pitches in the valley, and this one ranks right up there with some the hardest ones of the grade I've ever climbed. A proud lead for sure. Sorry, no pics as I was busy belaying.

Next up is the funky sixth pitch with the traverse and bolts printed in the Reid guide. Ignore the guide, it's bogus beta. You climb a .10 flake, traverse/step right at the top to the base of a steep ramp. Then comes a splits maneuver as you stem back across the chimney and weasel your way back into the chimney. It's 5.10 for a 5.12 climber if you know what I mean. Here's Zander fighting his way back into the chimney. What you can't see is his lower half doing the splits. Mind you, he's carrying four liters of water on his back at this point... Hard man!

Credit: Salamanizer


Cruising through the next pitch we took a little break at the foot of the rotten chimney before setting to work on those old bolts. For those of you who have never seen these bolts, well... here they are in all their glory.

Credit: Salamanizer
Credit: Salamanizer


Zander following through the rotten chimney.

Credit: Salamanizer
Credit: Salamanizer
Credit: Salamanizer
Credit: Salamanizer


After the rotten chimney is the real crux. A long 180ft pitch of continuous flaring, tight, squeeze chimneying. Zander giving it a go.


Credit: Salamanizer


And a happy Zander upon finishing the pitch.

Credit: Salamanizer


Enjoy!

Dirka

Trad climber
Hustle City
  Sep 30, 2009 - 03:54am PT
Whoop Whoop!
Jaybro

Social climber
Wolf City, Wyoming
  Sep 30, 2009 - 07:29am PT
I weighed 150 (soaking wet) when I did it and there was no way I could get even my shoulders through the harding Slut.
I passed my rack, shoes, and harness through the hole to the other side, to no avail.
I soloed the other variation (5.9?) in Lava domes and dragged the rope so Scary Larry could follow and crack his pelvis.
Elcapinyoazz

Social climber
Joshua Tree
  Sep 30, 2009 - 11:21am PT
Outstanding!
G Murphy

Trad climber
Oakland CA
  Sep 30, 2009 - 12:26pm PT
I did this in 1990 with Don Snyder when we were both climbing constantly and doing routes in a day like the Nose, Salathe, Watkins, Half Dome, Pegasus, etc. Lost Arrow Chimney was by far the hardest and most physical. Awesome TR.
stich

Trad climber
Colorado Springs, Colorado
  Sep 30, 2009 - 01:04pm PT
Was there not a tale of discovering the remains of an unfortunate climber in the Lost Arrow chimney? Coonyard figured into the tale as well.

"His damn jacket won't fit!"

Where on the climb might that have been?
Dolomite

climber
Anchorage
  Sep 30, 2009 - 03:00pm PT
Nice work Z and Chad!

Stich: link to Roper's story about the discovering the body here:

http://web3.bdel.com/scene/word/2004_rock.php#skull
imnotclever

Sport climber
  Sep 30, 2009 - 03:12pm PT
Cool TR!
L

climber
California dreamin' on the farside of the world..
  Sep 30, 2009 - 03:39pm PT
I somehow missed this excellent adventure first time round, Z.

Awesome TR, as usual...and those photos! Beeeeeeeeautiful and a wee bit sceeeeeeeerrrry! Your partner's photos added a really nice perspective, too.

Great job, you guys. Thanks!
le_bruce

climber
Oakland, CA
  Sep 30, 2009 - 04:51pm PT
Thanks for the thoughtful answer on the rack, Zander.

Great pics, Salamanizer.

This climb looks incredibly hard.
Largo

Sport climber
The Big Wide Open Face
  Sep 30, 2009 - 09:38pm PT
I always thought the LA Chimney was a 5.10a climb for 5.11 crack climbers. I can't imagine being up there in that ghastly gash if 10a wide was my max.

And how about San Diego Greg on-sight free soling the thing in the late 1970s. I was always way impressed with that one.

JL
Zander

climber
Author's Reply  Oct 1, 2009 - 10:55am PT
Hey Chad,
Nice pics. I never got to see the old bolts. Pretty manky.

One other memory I have of the climb was on the descent. We were rappelling in the dark and were taking turns going down first. We had the rap chart so we weren't worried about finding the way. Chad had gone down and I could see his headlamp looking around as he went so as not to go by the anchor. I turned off my light. It was pretty warm night and clear. The stars were in full force. I could see lights and hear sounds from below in the valley but they seemed a long way off. I had the sense of being out on the immense face of rock and it was peaceful. I was tired and content. It was good.

Zander
jstan

climber
  Oct 1, 2009 - 11:51am PT
I think it was the late 60's when Pete Ramins and I went up the Chimneys. I remember one bolt somewhere. With the falls going and the possibility we might come onto the bones the route had great drama. We could not find/fit thru the Harding squeeze, so to beat the sun we did the rappels. It was eerie expecting one of those to get hung up.

As I remember them the Chimneys had drama, history, and required a lot of work. The SS has variety, great climbing, and even more history.

One is well rewarded by doing both.
justthemaid

climber
Jim Henson's Basement
  Oct 1, 2009 - 12:01pm PT
Great TR. Thanks. Looks totally awesome.

The link to the "body-in-the-chimney" story was pretty entertaining.
dogtown

Trad climber
Cheyenne, Wyoming and Marshall Islands atoll.
  Jan 27, 2012 - 11:18pm PT
Very nice Zander!! Bravo.
le_bruce

climber
Oakland, CA
  Feb 1, 2012 - 03:02pm PT

One other memory I have of the climb was on the descent. We were rappelling in the dark and were taking turns going down first. We had the rap chart so we weren't worried about finding the way. Chad had gone down and I could see his headlamp looking around as he went so as not to go by the anchor. I turned off my light. It was pretty warm night and clear. The stars were in full force. I could see lights and hear sounds from below in the valley but they seemed a long way off. I had the sense of being out on the immense face of rock and it was peaceful. I was tired and content. It was good.

We all live for these moments - solid description of that golden feeling.
Norwegian

Trad climber
dancin on the tip of god's middle finger
  Feb 1, 2012 - 03:16pm PT
i believe in your trip report.
it brings me salvations.
PellucidWombat

Mountain climber
Berkeley, CA
  Feb 1, 2012 - 03:43pm PT
Great photos. Thanks for piquing my interest in this route even more! Those chimneys look like fun.
Zander

climber
Author's Reply  Sep 25, 2012 - 04:51pm PT
Did a little research last weekend. Cheers. Z
Credit: Zander
thekidcormier

Gym climber
squamish, b.c.
  Sep 25, 2012 - 10:00pm PT
Awesome Tripping Report ZANDER, Chimneys kick ass! I'm soo stoked to get back to the valley!

Yee HAW
Rudbud

Gym climber
Grover Beach, CA
  Sep 25, 2012 - 11:39pm PT
Nice work guys, looks fun.
rocknicenut

climber
Everett, WA
  Sep 26, 2012 - 09:40am PT
Details, we need details! Your recent ascent in all its glory is a story that begs to be told :-)

Maybe finish the topo you started with all the scary bits clearly identified? I'm much too frightened to up there without ample beta.
Zander

climber
Author's Reply  Sep 28, 2012 - 06:01pm PT
All right just for Rocknicenut, here's a short TR of our 9/22/12 ascent.

I was climbing really well in 2009 when I wrote the TR that starts this thread. The climb that day was certainly the best day I have ever spent on the rock just in terms of a calm mind and strong climbing. Not that by modern standards it was that special but personally very much so.

Not long after we were having a session at the wood cracks and chimneys in my shop, when Alexey said he'd really like to do the climb. I told him I would love to do it again and it was on. We made plans for the spring of 2010. Ha! In a classic example of the irony of the human condition by spring I was in the hospital with a very rare disease that it took the docs a while to figure out. Modern medicine, thank you, is incredible. They jacked me full of enormous amounts of meds, put me back together and fired me out into the world again. However, LAC was now, at least for a while, not an option.

Jump to this year when I'm doing pretty well and Alexey and I make plans for the attempt. Unfortunately, frustratingly, I have a flare in my illness in late June and I lose six weeks of training. I just don't want to cancel. Alexey has been patiently waiting, when he could have found another partner. And I really want to do the route again. It is an amazing route, with incredible history, I mean the first big wall in the world!, and it is astounding up there, beautiful, frightening, primeval, and with some of the burliest climbing at the grade you'll ever do.

We climb the Sunnyside Bench Regular Route and get roped up and climbing on Lost Arrow by 8:00 or so. As last time I combine the first two pitches. This requires Alexey to simul one hundred feet. I am surprised by the runouts and I still end up using up most of the rack. Since we had a much smaller rack last time I start to get a sense of how well I was climbing on the first run. Our time is good, a little over an hour. Alexey combines the next two pitches. He chimneys the first roof but I jamb the left side as I did before. I think it is easier or at least less physical. I get almost to the belay, at the Safety Valve and I realize I'm turned the wrong way in the chimney. I'm also now realizing I'm not ready for this climb today. I yard on the rope a couple of times to finish the pitch. I start up pitch 5 with the 5.9 OW, which I led before. This time I have the two #6s I need. I get shutdown, scared of the steepness, the tricky balance of the face climbing between the OWs, and the runouts. I ask Alexey to take over. He cruises it. I'm feeling bad because I'm not ready, Alexey has waited so long for me to do the climb and I know he really wants it. But I know I simply will not be able to climb it. I offer to jug the rest on Tiblocs and support his ascent, which he accepts. Basically that's what we did. He climbed extremely well. Instead of climbing out to the right and back in on P6 he jambs the OW straight on. Who knows how hard that is? Harder than Ahab Alexey says. On finishing P7, the 5.8 chimney pitch, he asks me, “ what it is rated, 5.9?” Since I'm the guy with the reading glasses and the topo I can tell him, no 5.8. That's LAC in a nutshell, even the easy pitches feel one grade harder. He cruises the technical crux pitch. Time is flowing though. He battles his way in good style up P9 the physical crux pitch, a 100' squeese. Then I screw up cleaning the pitch. There are two ways to go higher on the pitch, both probably 5.9, one is to do the outside as an OW the other is to do a Narrows like section inside. He goes the Narrows way. I make the mistake thinking I can clean it while jugging but I don't have the gas to drag myself, backup knots and two #6 the ten horizontal feet required at the constriction. Alexey manages to unfix the line and lower me out. I hook to the trail line and, after I untie, he pulls the main rope and throws it back down to me. By the time I get to the belay we have only a few minutes of light left. Alexey takes off for the notch but about half way up he starts cramping, it's been a huge day without much help from his partner, and as you can see from my P10 topo above, the last part of the pitch is complicated, especially in the dark. He's out of gas. I'm just beat down by then, cramping and exhausted. I'm worried about doing the eight raps in the dark while so tired. We decide to bivy. It is 7:30. It was not that bad a bivy actually, mostly because it was just warm enough. Shiver until you get warm, sleep for an while, move to a different position, repeat. At first light Alexey finishes the pitch, cold and tired he pulls on gear, sacrificing his onsite. We move around into the sun to do the raps. Going from cold and shivering to 80 degrees. We move slowly. I don't get to the car to call Wendy until 2:10.
Another good adventure comes to a close.
Don't take the Bigbro. Try taking one #6 and one #5 instead of two #6.
Cheers,
Zander
rocknicenut

climber
Everett, WA
  Sep 28, 2012 - 03:06pm PT
Aw shucks, just for me? :-)

I think you’ve attained superhero status after showing up in the gym on Tuesday after getting so worked!
spyork

Trad climber
Tunneling out of prison
  Sep 28, 2012 - 03:23pm PT
Damn Zander, you're just tearing it up! Good job on both of you! I know you've been struggling with your illness, I saw it when we were on Daff this summer.

Steve
mountain dog

Trad climber
over the hills and far away
  Sep 28, 2012 - 03:49pm PT
Proud! I have always wanted to climb this legendary route.
Clint Cummins

Trad climber
SF Bay area, CA
  Sep 28, 2012 - 04:23pm PT
Thanks for the TR - burly points for getting up it any way you can!
nutjob

Sport climber
Almost to Hollywood, Baby!
  Sep 28, 2012 - 04:35pm PT
That sounds like a well-earned deeply etched adventure memory!
Walleye

climber
The Hot Kiss on the end of a Wet Fist
  Sep 28, 2012 - 04:53pm PT
Great stuff that I really enjoyed; thanks for the tr and photos! I remember when a certain Mountaineering School Director had to yard a hungover Charlie Fowler up that beast, and that sez a lot as to how burly the LAC is.
Texplorer

Trad climber
Sacramento
  Sep 28, 2012 - 05:32pm PT
Some people learn not to put their hand on a hot stove a second time. Still, makes for an amazing adventure. You really capture the exhileration and adventure of doing a climb even when you sometimes know what your getting into. In my mind, this is what climbing is more than some guy in a mag pulling 5 moves of dime edges to top out a 20 foot boulder.
Jaybro

Social climber
Wolf City, Wyoming
  Sep 28, 2012 - 05:53pm PT
Oh yeah, again!

Very cool route. Way more work than Steck Salathe!

And to do it twice.... Cheer! Na zdarovie!
lars johansen

Trad climber
West Marin, CA
  Sep 28, 2012 - 06:31pm PT
Great views of a real classic!

Thanks

lars
Zander

climber
Author's Reply  Sep 28, 2012 - 06:33pm PT
"Some people learn not to put their hand on a hot stove a second time."

Ha ha! So true, except;

"If the fool would persist in his folly he would become wise." William Blake

Cheers,
Z
Ryan Tetz

Trad climber
Bishop, CA
  Sep 30, 2012 - 08:42am PT
If you like big bro's we found the #4 Bro extremely useful on advice from Brutus. Some people just don't dig the things. Wouldn't think of using the thing on the Steck Salathe for example that is well protected with just #4's. Guess that crux bolt is better now so might not feel as useful, was able to back up that old crappy bolt with a so/so # 4 bro (the rock is grainy). #6 is a little small for the safety valve pitch, 4 bro useful. Also that long squeeze pitch doesn't hurt for. For trivia sake, Alex Honold -before he was really known at all got quite frustrated apparently shut down attempting to climb the OW direct mentioned on P5/6. Strong work!
eeyonkee

Trad climber
Golden, CO
  Sep 30, 2012 - 11:10am PT
Some great pics on this thread! TFPU. I remember so little of it from my 1978 ascent...
Alexey

climber
San Jose, CA
  Oct 1, 2012 - 06:58pm PT
Just couple days back from the week of climbing in the Valley, where first day was climbing this route with Zander. This was long time waited great route. Quite exhausting , physical and proud. Thank you Zander to bring me there and not giving up climbing - despite you felt not as good as last time. This route deserved a better topo that we had from Reid book. And Zander - I think you in good position to draw a good one - base on what you did for the last pitch above and two time climbing it recently and also having so many good photos from your and Chad's reports.
Like if I would had carefully look at last pitch photo you did in 2009 - I would not have route finding problem on the last pitch.
We were far from time record on this route , but one record we possibly hold - total age of participants was 107 years this time.
I used all resources I had to climb the route and next day I barely walk down to Vally floor- and almost fainted on the trail from exhaustion and low sugar level in the blood. Had to sit for 45 min and finish all my food than all Zander's food ( anyway Zander can not eat , but only puke from dehydration). So we were looking pretty funny when we reach the cars.

last pitch Zander's photo from 2009. Chad finishing the route at sunse...
last pitch Zander's photo from 2009. Chad finishing the route at sunset
Credit: Alexey
Big Mike

Trad climber
BC
  Oct 1, 2012 - 09:33pm PT
Awesome work Zander!! Truely inspiring.. Thanks!
David Wilson

climber
CA
  Oct 1, 2012 - 09:42pm PT
Way to go guys ! Thanks for the TR. I'm looking forward to seeing the new and improved topo
Zander

climber
Author's Reply  Oct 3, 2012 - 08:13pm PT
Hey Alexey,
It was a wild day! Thanks for going up there with me. Here's the topo. Other than P6 and P10 I'm not sure anything was needed but I put in what I remembered.
David, let us know how it goes.
Z

Credit: Zander
johntp

Trad climber
socal
  Oct 31, 2012 - 10:55pm PT
Another great TR.
bob

climber
  Dec 5, 2012 - 11:57pm PT
Bump for climbing
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Photo: Zander Brennen
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