Crest Jewel 5.10a
Trip ReportRoyal Arches to Crest Jewel - Photo TR
Back in late May, Pete and I had a damn fine time on the Royal Arches to Crest Jewel linkup. A climb many of you have enjoyed as well. The best thing about writing TR's is the chance to revisit the day.
At 6:15am we introduced ourselves in the Awahnhee parking lot. Was he going to kiss me on the cheek? I wasn’t sure how they did it in Zurich. Turns out he’s an Aussie, just living in Zurich, so I never had to wonder. I was leading up the chimney at 6:30.
In what other activity do you put your life in someone’s hands so quickly? Dentistry. Surgery. Air travel. Some others. I had a brief second to check the vitals in a new partner: good calluses on hands; long limbs; using an ATC Guide and wearing La Sportivas; purple and aquamarine colors on an old school windbreaker; burly looking in the Aussie style.
We simuled RA so I never really got a look at Pete until Crest Jewel. This is the guy:
We made pretty good time on the Arches, simuling until I got clear of the waterfall after the pendulum. Somewhere in there I took a fun handcrack variation that I’d missed the first time – best section of the climb.
The upper traverses that let you reach the rim were wet and a little dodgy.
Pete sussing it out.
The area up top is peaceful.
And the hike over to North Dome is cruiser, with big views of the Valley.
Quick lunch, stash all the gear but the draws and a cam, and we were gone.
Climbing pics taken on route for Crest Jewel don’t vary too much. A perfect plane of granite, at a perfect angle, in a setting that is good.
You spend a lot of time thinking about HD while belaying.
Sweet views of Washington Column’s summit.
Bomber anchors throughout.
I got to lead every pitch, and can easily say that for me the linkup of p1 and 2 was the crux – not because anything there was harder, it’s just a matter of getting dialed in to the style. On my first lead, I was mainly looking at hand height, scratching around for purchase with my fingers. As the day wore on, I pretty much abandoned looking for anything for my hands beyond a palming surface, and focused everything on the feet, looking up occasionally to put the next bolt in the crosshairs, or to gaze around at the amazing setting. I climbed right by two of the four or so jugs on the route because of this. Didn’t matter.
The summit is a nice spot to be, with more of those staggering views.
Lots of blocks were an hour from cutting away from west of HD’s visor area when these shots were taken.
One of my approach shoes had come unclipped on route and slipped down the face, I’m not sure which of these two solutions was better after 10 pitches of slabbin’.
Remembered to grab the gear stash.
Then the blocks cut loose while I was waiting for Pete on top of the Column. In this other thread I put up a video of what I caught with the camera.
ST now allows embedding, sweet:
Pete had offered to hike up and scour the base of ND, near the Direct start, to see if my shoe would turn up. Friendly man, that Pete. And he found the shoe! He found about five other orphaned shoes, in the same spot where mine was. So if you lost an approach shoe on ND, there's an Aussie in Zurich who can help you out with info.
Coming down the ND gulley we got to watch the SAR chopper buzz the impact zone, and I wondered what routes go up this feature off the shoulder of Half Dome?
It’s just off Pete’s left shoulder here:
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