Crest Jewel 5.10a
Trip ReportRoyal Arches + Crest Jewel link up (photo TR)
We camped outside the park not far from the south (CA-41) entrance. Woke up at 4am, drove to Church Bowl parking lot and had a breakfast. We were slow that morning and started our approach around 6am.
After the first pitch we simul-climbed Royal Arches. It took 2 and half hours to make it to the top.
Then we had a fun time hiking up slabs to North Dome base.
Crest Jewel is one the best routes I have ever done. It's fun, a bit challenging and very scenery.
At the 7'th Crest Jewel belay we decided to wait for an approaching fast party and let them pass us. Some shots of them:
We were a bit tired at that moment and asked them to fix a line on the #8 pitch. We much appreciate for that help.
BTW, the pitch was fun and not as hard. So we did not get any physical use of that rope (most likely the fact we had the fixed line was a great psychological aid).
It took about 6 hours to climb Crest Jewel (we spent slightly more than one hour waiting for the fast party to pass us).
And then the most interesting part of our yesterday's climb began. We began our descend around 6:30pm. Did some route finding mistakes and missed the trail. Then we tried to reach the top of Washington Column off-trail but there were a lot of bushes. Spent the rest of daytime in them and missed WC in the dark. At some point we decided just traverse to Ahwanhee Hotel lights and down following the easiest terrain. Around 10:30pm we were at the Royal Arches rim. Then we had a mega fun slab 5.easy downclimbing to the first rappel rings in the dark. Then we had a long fun rappel. A cold sixpack in my car was waiting for us. Thus we had to descend, there was no bivy option.
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