Trip Report
The Devils Head 5.6R/X A1
Wednesday February 6, 2013 1:28am
That's how these things start. Rarely do they end well. But if by "well" you mean not dying, then maybe it turned out just fine.

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It probably occurred to me on one of the many drives up and down the highway 108. Probably it was on the way back; when the sun does funny things to your eyes and shadow lines create open books with splitter cracks. You know that time of day.

The overlook stares up into the Emigrant Wilderness where granite beckons from far off lands, but my eyes were immediately drawn to a ridge out North West of there. A frenulated ridge with turrets, rooks, and sand castles. This region is home to volcanic history. Formations with names like 'The Three Chimneys' connote still smoking stacks. Years and years of erosion have left the geology to fend for itself against snow, wind and rain, leaving hunched gargoyles and open ridge lines that don't permit trees to grow too well.

Some are of these are really quite large. But trying to get even a seasoned mud master to commit to the barest of looks is no small task. So I set my sights a little lower. Something attainable. But even so, I needed someone that knows how to deal with crud.

An email was sent...

tell how chossy it is again?

Pretty solid matrix.

Open forest approach.

I've done the approach before.

Just a touch longer than going to Grey Eagle type of distance. But less
steep most of the way.

The road goes damn close to it.

60' on the uphill side at least

100' on the downhill side.

Nice and high to keep things cool temp wise.

The spire is visible from 108 miles away. It will be seen by millions. Glory
is ours! Ahahaha

Need ya on this one Mucci. Need someone not afraid of mudhumping a spire.
Bunch of punters don't want any part of the SPH volcanic. They will be
missing out.

lies and half truths

but the weekend started out nice enough with an AAC gathering at Gianelli. Quality high sierra craggy granite.

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Keys to my shell fell out and became a problem, so I missed most of the AAC event at Royal's cabin. But I did get to see him and a bunch of friends very briefly before heading out to camp up the hwy and get an early start on the next day's adventure.

14 miles in, you make a right turn and drive some 4x4 to park near a creek.

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Mostly open forest gradually climbs to an open ridge line. The last little bit is loose and sits at 9k feet.

Upward we trudge. Good temps. Bit of breeze.

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And to the south, the evil comes into view.

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It's grotesque deformed face capped by two horns.

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It's backside too, overhung, loose, with only the barest of compressed ash and cobbles keeping it from sliding down the hill.

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The only way to slay the beast? Long bolts. Tap tap tap! thunk thunk thunk. The whole thing is a reverb. The crack near the should not safe to pound pins in. More tapping, selecting the least offensive of the sounds. The first one goes in...

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The next one goes as well. The drill's vibration can be felt throughout the rock. In case of collapse, the belay is set back. Besides it's the only place to anchor from on the disintegrating shoulder.

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It's steep. Back hurts. feet hurt. Rest step only does so much.

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The third gets me to the lip. But the rock turns to pumice like conditions. Every hammer hit is hollow.

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The only option, stand high in the aider and look for gear. The crack up high is obvious, but requires a free move to reach it. I'm not ready for that. Fear that I'm going to commit to a free move on crap rock and can't get a decent bolt in permeates.

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A small seam yields an angle placement. I pound the sh1t out of it, not knowing if I'm going to pry loose the whole side I'm bolted into.

With that in, I think I can get something else going, but it turns out to be a series of free moves. There's a lot of distance to the top and I don't know that the rock will take a bolt.

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I'm there a long time. The wind is gusting at 40mph and pushing me around on my stance. What I thought was good fighting weather is now just p!ssing me off. I'm holding onto an alien pod that isn't secure.

Tapping yields only hollowness. I succumb to a need. The need to do something other than stand there swearing at the wind gods. A fourth and final bolt goes in so that I can make the final moves.

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The terrain above looks like mud stacked on mud cakes. I can get away with a couple good feet holds, and the hope that the lower angle will give ground that I can stand on.

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It's garbage. I move blocks and scoop dirt and make it to the top.

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Mucci cleans and frees sections

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A true summit is ours.

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Thanks to Mucci and Miwok for making it happen.

Name: Devils Head
Rating: 5.6R/X A1
stars: none, unless you like loose rock
FA: me, mucci, & ground control, sherpa and heckling by Miwok 9/9/2012

  Trip Report Views: 1,950
About the Author
Mungeclimber is a trad climber from sorry, just posting out loud..


Trad climber
Nothing creative to say
Author's Reply  Feb 6, 2013 - 01:36am PT
Mucci says...

The Choss on SP is wonderfull. Damn near some of the BEST choss I have ever touched.

Overlooked for sure.

You could boil the last 30 feet of this sucker down to this:

Petrified loaves of wheat bread, Plastered with peanutbutter and kitty litter.

Cook at a steady temp for 2 million years.

You got yourself the Devils Head.

  Feb 6, 2013 - 01:38am PT

I love it.

Classic .......
Vitaliy M.

Mountain climber
San Francisco
  Feb 6, 2013 - 02:08am PT
If you continue this, you will end up rock climbing on Mt. Shasta!

Trad climber
Nothing creative to say
Author's Reply  Feb 6, 2013 - 02:10am PT
hahaha, that Werner, that's what I keep telling these guys... classics! ;)

Trad climber
Nothing creative to say
Author's Reply  Feb 6, 2013 - 02:10am PT
Vitaly, look at Crater Lake sometime. :)

Trad climber
Twain Harte, California
  Feb 6, 2013 - 02:26am PT
Are some of us missing the high country?

Nicely written.

Trad climber
Nothing creative to say
Author's Reply  Feb 6, 2013 - 02:44am PT
A little. It was so warm the last few days, I started thinking about Valley, SPH, and ShutEye.


Trad climber
dancin on the tip of god's middle finger
  Feb 6, 2013 - 08:07am PT
..some choss with your mickeys.
fine day, boys.

Trad climber
  Feb 6, 2013 - 08:50am PT


Trad climber
Butte, America
  Feb 6, 2013 - 09:33am PT
Munge mastering munge--right on!!!!1111

30 mins. from suicide USA
  Feb 6, 2013 - 10:30am PT
Rad !!!!

Big Wall climber
Newbury Park
  Feb 6, 2013 - 10:35am PT
Choss-a-neering at its best! Looks like a fun time!

Released into general population, Idaho
  Feb 6, 2013 - 10:59am PT
Bonus points just cuz.
lars johansen

Trad climber
West Marin, CA
  Feb 6, 2013 - 11:32am PT
Sick, nice job boys!

J. Werlin

Social climber
Cedaredge, CO
  Feb 6, 2013 - 11:41am PT
Who says you can't be old AND bold?

  Feb 6, 2013 - 12:19pm PT
X and A1 together at last LOL. I give it 20 years till ya see the 2nd ascent, most likely by someone who got lost. :-)

Another choss photo for ya. Stuck in some bolts when it went into the guidebook. Although we'd climbed up the first 100' many times and all agreed that a fall near the top there, being fatal for sure, would be stupid and unnecessary. This photo is of the first bolted ascent done by a 67 year old who decries the use of bolts every chance he gets. He clipped these without comment.


Big Wall climber
santa cruz, ca
  Feb 6, 2013 - 12:19pm PT

Mucci's face right before you top out is awesome. It's a combo of are you kidding me and what the f*#k?! Hahaha

Social climber
  Feb 6, 2013 - 12:29pm PT
So if you could boulder out the first ten feet, or like take the finger crack to the right, it would be 5.6 to the top? Coulda done that before you finished racking up ;D

Trad climber
Fresno/Clovis, ca
  Feb 6, 2013 - 12:49pm PT
Conquistadores of the useless.

Way to get out there and slay the choss.

Trad climber
The pitch of Bagalaar above you
  Feb 6, 2013 - 07:41pm PT
Great Climbing Content Brother Munge!@

This was a great day.

Big Bolts, Bud Light Limes, and Barnicles.

Miwok was proud of us...

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
  Feb 6, 2013 - 09:48pm PT


Trad climber
Nothing creative to say
Author's Reply  Feb 11, 2019 - 03:32pm PT
Not sure what happened to the photo links. Blame flickr and pbucket. meh.

Such choss. I could almost see it last weekend while out in the snow.


Trad climber
Santa Monica, California
  Feb 14, 2019 - 04:32pm PT
Reminds me of climbing this......