Sun Spot Dihedral 5.11b

 
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Incredible Hulk


High Sierra, California USA


Trip Report
The Incredible Hulk - Sunspot Dihedral (IV 5.11b) C2C
Thursday July 17, 2014 9:47am
Sunspot was one of the few classic routes that I HAD to get on this season. It shoots up the middle section of the Incredible Hulk through a series of steep corners and cracks. Trip reports and word of mouth suggested it was a sustained route and I was a bit intimidated by everything I have heard. To get a good night of sleep and avoid all the useless worries I decided to not look at the topo and swing the leads after one of us gets going. One person would end up with two 5.11a pitches and the other would get the crux 5.11b. Seems like a fair load no matter how you shake it.


The Incredible Hulk. Sunspot goes up just left of the center. You can see the long dihedral system with an orange spot (sunspot) on the left side of it - that's the route!


Some pretty flowers on the approach


And more

We had two days off and no permit, so we decided to day-hike it. The hike in is short and we made good time. We were at the base after about two and a half hours of hiking. There were three (!) more parties that joined us shortly. A few people we knew and a few guys from Yosemite SAR team. All were day-hiking as well. Thank god they were climbing Positive Vibrations and we had Sunspot to ourselves. We are not super slow, but when it comes to climbing things at our limit, it is nice to not feel rushed.





One of the spires across from the Hulk. I think I should climb one of them soon


No need for introductions!



PV and Sunspot share the first few pitches. Last year, when I did PV, I led the evens, this time I took odds so I could try leading the finger crack on pitch two. It felt very insecure last year, and on lead it did not feel much better. Cristiano took the next pitch which featured a series of strenuous underclings and a corner with spooky gear. Since we did our homework and brought a few offset cams, the corner was not too bad. I believe a yellow metolious worked well too.


Looking down after we finished with the beautiful 5.11a corner. Favorite lead of my life...maybe!


Cristiano leading the 5.11 b section


View of Crown Point. Good from far, far from good : )

When I joined him on top of pitch three, I was pretty sure the pitch above would spit me off. Not only did it not spit me off, but I spent like two hours leading it. It was 180 feet of sustained stemming, jamming and laybacking – 5.11a. There are some “one move wonder” pitches that are rated 11a, this is not one of them. By the time I was done, I felt pumped, tired, pumped, hungry as hell, sleepy and pumped. Since I have above average fingers and hate laybacking the pitch felt slightly harder than enduro corner – no long hand jamming sections, no perfect stances for a no hands rest and much more distance. Cristiano followed it like a boss and took the crux pitch. While following, I stemmed my way past the two bolts and did a powerful gaston into a layback to pass the crux. I thought 5.11b on top rope should be manageable, but this one took everything out of me and than some. After the crux section, the corner was restored to life and I laybacked and jammed my way up to the top. Next 5.11a was more of the same laybacking. Even though I was fairly beat from sustained climbing below, my fingers went in well and I made ok progress. Cristiano took the next pitch and did not find the easy 5.9 path advertised in the topo. Way he took had a cruxy step right across from the aręte that felt like a solid 5.10 to me. Maybe I was too gassed to know the difference, but soon we were on top of the climb and setting up the rappels.




Sun is setting, we are hiking out!


See ya next time beautiful!

This climb was sustained, difficult (for me), had climbing of amazing quality and on an awesome peak. I liked it so much that I hope to do it multiple times in the future. It was a lot more sustained than PV, and I hope to get a bit stronger so I could climb the route without feeling super insecure on most of the pitches. Even though I did the route without falls or hangs, I would not be surprised if I climbed it next weekend and end up hanging on the rope multiple times. Sorry for lack of the photos from the climb, but I forgot to place a memory card in my camera. Without a memory card my camera was able to only take two pictures total! Rest are from previous trips to the Hulk. In any case, this route is bad ass, if you can, GET ON IT!!!


World Cup was really entertaining this year and I managed to learn a lot


Creepy fortune cookie after my celebratory chicken-wing feast

Doing it car to car allowed me to watch the World Cup Final and to consume a load of amazing chicken wings. Now that I have the hardest route in the High Sierra (per supertopo) ticked, I will either retire from climbing or focus on doing first ascents. :)

http://vividrea1ity.blogspot.com/

  Trip Report Views: 2,806
Vitaliy M.
About the Author
Vitaliy M. is annoying gym climber from San Francisco.

Comments
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RP3

Big Wall climber
Twain Harte
  Jul 17, 2014 - 09:49am PT
Another all-star adventure. Thanks for sharing.
Seamstress

Trad climber
Yacolt, WA
  Jul 17, 2014 - 09:56am PT
Ahhh - the Hulk remains one of my all time favorites. Thank you for the trip report. Inspiring!
RyanD

climber
Squamish
  Jul 17, 2014 - 09:59am PT
Great TR for the 40th time Vitaliy :-)


This one looks way classic, good fight, good send.

Thanks for not letting us down.
Radish

Trad climber
SeKi, California
  Jul 17, 2014 - 11:20am PT
Very Nice Pic and Report! Makes us wanna go...Just leave work and go right now!! Way to get on it....The mighty V !!
moosedrool

climber
lost, far away from Poland
  Jul 17, 2014 - 11:27am PT
Perfect!

I like your honest style. Good job!

And TFPU.

Andrzej
Vitaliy M.

Mountain climber
San Francisco
Author's Reply  Jul 17, 2014 - 11:42am PT
Thanks Andrzej. I think some honesty is appropriate. Making it look like you walked up something you barely crawled by is not very honest. I am not here to straight up brag! I posted reports about climbs as easy as 3rd class and about 5.7s that seemed as challenging as climbing El Cap when I got into climbing. Sometimes you have a good day, sometimes you have a bad day. I did good on Sunspot but about a month prior got worked by Don Juan Wall in the Needles (same rating). Had multiple hangs. Which was frustrating but good for raising the motivation level.
snowhazed

Trad climber
Oaksterdam, CA
  Jul 17, 2014 - 11:46am PT
yeah man! I onsighted the climb with Cristiano's leads, and then the following year took the opposite pitches and whipped big at the end of the amazing corner- I wonder what the third time will hold..... or your second...

The only reason I think the enduro corner is harder is that the sunspot corner is on my second knuckle almost the whole way- less pumpy for my style and sizing. nice work
johnokner

Trad climber
NJ
  Jul 17, 2014 - 11:53am PT
[url=[/url" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">http://s73.photobucket.com/user/johnokner/media/P1110273.jpg.html][/url]

alien? Bigfoot? or Peter Croft?
T Hocking

Trad climber
Redding, Ca
  Jul 17, 2014 - 11:53am PT
Sweet TR
TFPU
Tad
Vitaliy M.

Mountain climber
San Francisco
Author's Reply  Jul 17, 2014 - 12:07pm PT
snowhazed, how crazy, your partner’s name was also Cristiano? I climbed with a different guy. It was first time my friend Cristiano was on route. I led the two 11a corners and he led the 11b crux (regarding 5.11 pitches). I felt fairly pumped in the end of the first corner and was barely able to pull the last moves. In addition to everything the tag line got stuck on the horn below the belay station and I literally was a foot from clipping the chains. Hanging on the final jugs. Haha In the end I left it on my last piece and lowered him down to get the line free.

That is a climber on Outguard spire. Dow Williams or maybe Peter Valchev. That photo is from the last year’s trip to the Hulk. I had a few good ones of them climbing. : )
pvalchev

Social climber
Truckee, CA
  Jul 17, 2014 - 01:56pm PT
This is on the list for this year, thanks for the stoke, great TR and effort!

Outguard Spire will be a disappointment compared to the Hulk when you do it, but it's great fun nonetheless, and a beautiful feature :) There is a lot of rock to be explored/climbed on that side of the valley... all by yourself, while the Hulk is crawling with 15 parties on a busy weekend. :)
Jebus H Bomz

climber
Peavine Basecamp
  Jul 17, 2014 - 02:27pm PT
Cool! It's on my very short list.

How are the belay ledges? I may do it as a party of three.... I know, that is alpine chub killing style, but the pure facts. I'm contemplating whackiness, like the third tr solos to follow, leaving the belay free till near the end of the lead... Either a brilliant or dumb idea...

Also, Outguard is the second day objective. After your rendition of sunspot though, I'm wondering if I won't be happy to just wake up the next day and kick it at the buckeye springs, lol?!
7SacredPools

Trad climber
Guelph, Ontario, Canada
  Jul 17, 2014 - 02:39pm PT
Awesome TR Vitaliy!
GDavis

Social climber
SOL CAL
  Jul 17, 2014 - 03:18pm PT
Good luck with that Jebus.
cat t.

Sport climber
CA
  Jul 17, 2014 - 03:30pm PT
Did you use up your two-photo capacity on pictures of approach flowers??
donini

Trad climber
Ouray, Colorado
  Jul 17, 2014 - 03:38pm PT
Beautiful TR as usual. Dammit, slow down Vitaliy...save something for the Diamond!
whitemeat

Big Wall climber
San Luis Obispo, CA
  Jul 17, 2014 - 03:46pm PT
Thats awesome! I want to get on that soooo bad!!! Nice pictures!

TFPU
Jebus H Bomz

climber
Peavine Basecamp
  Jul 17, 2014 - 04:03pm PT
I can't tell in what sense you mean that, GDavis. You're usually sarcastic? You done the climb? Spray me with beta, mon ami.
Ezra Ellis

Trad climber
North wet, and Da souf
  Jul 17, 2014 - 06:16pm PT
Is there any routes you haven't climbed Vittles?????. ;)

Stoke!
Grippa

Trad climber
Salt Lake City, UT
  Jul 18, 2014 - 06:28am PT
yes. all the routes outside of california, and red rocks. :D
Roxy

Trad climber
CA Central Coast
  Jul 18, 2014 - 07:42am PT

Another GNAR dabbing TR!!


alien? Bigfoot? or Peter Croft?

haha, awesome options


thanks for posting some Stoke!!
snowhazed

Trad climber
Oaksterdam, CA
  Jul 18, 2014 - 10:47am PT
Vitaliy, no, my partners for the 2 times were Sam then Jared, I was just referencing the leads I had the first time were the same as Cristianos.

One of my longterm hulk aspirations is to do a PV-sunspot linkup, rapping to the terrace so only doing the first 2 pitches one time. Much fitness I need to gain!

Redpoint on Tradewinds comes first though- you definitely need to get on that sucker now that you've done all of the classic 11s.

oh yeah- get yourself an 80M rope!!! no more tagline issues!

see ya out there
Jebus H Bomz

climber
Peavine Basecamp
  Jul 18, 2014 - 11:28am PT
No beta for me? #sadpanda
NutAgain!

Trad climber
South Pasadena, CA
  Jul 18, 2014 - 11:55am PT
Dudeage.
donini

Trad climber
Ouray, Colorado
  Jul 18, 2014 - 12:49pm PT
Grippa...Vitaliy is about to change that, he's flying to Denver to meet me on 8/20 for some climbing on the Diamond.
le_bruce

climber
Oakland, CA
  Jul 18, 2014 - 01:27pm PT
Sierra mtn 1: I see movement down there, in the talus. Is it him? The one the other peaks have been calling the Rampaging Russian?
Sierra mtn 2: OMG OMG OMG, it is, it's him. Play it cool, play it cool. Damnit, where's my camera?
Sierra mtn 1: Jesus, almighty. It's true what the others said, look at those biceps.
Sierra mtn 2: Look, look - also true that he wears pajamas!

Nice TR, compadre. You're becoming famous even among the mountains, now. I know that the Hulk reads the ST. Also, Conness, no doubt. Lurker, though.
chick_on_ice

Trad climber
  Jul 18, 2014 - 01:29pm PT
Yo V! Nice TR as per always. Any more thoughts about the Patagucci trip this winter???

Also I'm headed out to Tajikistan/Kyrgyzstan in a few days. You know anyone out there that climbs by chance?
skcreidc

Social climber
SD, CA
  Jul 18, 2014 - 03:12pm PT
"someone is looking up to you". Uhhhhh, that would be me. Another killer TR at an amazing spot.
Vitaliy M.

Mountain climber
San Francisco
Author's Reply  Jul 20, 2014 - 11:11pm PT
Jebus, I dunno about 3 man party, might work if all are solid. There is one traversing bit on pitch three, will want to protect it well for both. Aside from that, it is a straight line. Climb does not go super fast, it is sustained.
Regarding doing one of the spires on the day after, that sounds very reasonable. Have fun!

Snowhazed, I was thinking about Tradewinds, seems a bit hard for me at the moment, but getting an ass kicking is good at times! :)

Chick_on_ice, Patagonia this winter would be cool. Don't know anyone in Kazakhstan who climbs :(

Grippa, you are forgetting about climbs I have done in Alaska, Washington, Oregon, Canada and Peru :)
W.L.

climber
Edge of the Electric Ocean Beneath Red Rock
  Jul 20, 2014 - 11:18pm PT
V, thanks for posting! Fantastic work, as always.
yanqui

climber
Balcarce, Argentina
  Jul 21, 2014 - 07:17am PT
Looks beautiful
msiddens

Trad climber
  Jul 31, 2014 - 01:09pm PT
Great read thanks.
Marlow

Sport climber
OSLO
  Jul 31, 2014 - 01:14pm PT

Great TR, fantastic photos and a wall to look up to...
mdanek

Trad climber
California
  Jul 31, 2014 - 01:48pm PT
Nice report.

Just a beta note: Pitch 3 (with the traverse/underclings and the corner) has a tricky section where you may get your rope stuck behind a flake. This happened to us when my partner transitioned from the crack to the corner. The rope got caught behind the flake and none of us could move it. This was spooky since the corner does not have good pro and the communication was difficult. A fall would be ugly and potentially dangerous with the rope pinched by the sharp flake. My friend was lucky enough to reach the bolt at the top of the corner and fix the rope. He rappelled from the bolt and freed the rope.

The best option to prevent this from happening is to place a piece low after transitioning into the crack. The picture from another report shows such a placement (white sling).

Pitch 3 - the flake where you can get the rope stuck if running the cr...
Pitch 3 - the flake where you can get the rope stuck if running the crack out.
Credit: alpinerockfiend
big wall paul

Trad climber
tahoe, CA
  Aug 1, 2014 - 06:41pm PT
Nice
I've only done red dihedral
but I figured i'd post since it is so easy access, that wall and surrounding cliffs needs more attention!
Paul.
Outguard: It's been a few years, but if this is one of the nearby spires to the west, it's sure to be fun, I remember seeing lots of great terrain I want to hit
HighDesertDJ

Trad climber
  Aug 1, 2014 - 06:43pm PT
Such a great TR. I had hoped to get on the Hulk this fall but I don't think that's going to work out. Living vicariously through your pictures and description!
GDavis

Social climber
SOL CAL
  Aug 4, 2014 - 06:06pm PT
A party of three would be OK if you are all solid at the grade AND fast. It's like 10 pitches of 5.10-5.11 with hardly a move under 5.9 anywhere in there. Also, altitude. Also, you have every tom dick and harry from san fran crowding up every route on weekends, so do it during weekdays :P

V is a bad ass and gets props. Why care if you hang or not? You are fit, or not. Strong, or not. the thing to regret is the training and preparation.
clinker

Trad climber
Santa Cruz, California
  Aug 4, 2014 - 06:26pm PT
Way to be V. Another great one.
kaholatingtong

Trad climber
Nevada City
  Aug 4, 2014 - 06:39pm PT
Very nice, thanks for taking us along.
Vitaliy M.

Mountain climber
San Francisco
Author's Reply  Aug 4, 2014 - 07:54pm PT
V is a bad ass and gets props. Why care if you hang or not? You are fit, or not. Strong, or not. the thing to regret is the training and preparation.

1) V is far from bad-ass. Just an average dude that has a lot of fun climbing on rocks, or plastic.
2) Climbing routes is performance. Like reaching summits, passing the exams, etc. When you put time into training you want to perform well and not hanging shows that you performed well. At times you could surprise yourself and climb well even though you hang. But in any case, I care. It felt good to climb Sunspot without hanging. I went back and tried Tradewinds and hung more than once. In the same time I did not feel too bad about it, because I performed better than I expected in the first place. On a climb so sustained I was going into it knowing I will hang, question was how much. So feeling strong is very relative, but different, from an individual to individual. Last week I had a day in the gym when I sent three boulder problems that I couldn't touch a week prior. I felt VERY strong. Sad truth, they would be a total warm up for someone else. All we could do is pick own goals, train, perform and evaluate. So not caring if you hang or not would be like not caring about your performance. I can't say I don't care about my performance with a straight face.
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Incredible Hulk - Sun Spot Dihedral 5.11b - High Sierra, California USA. Click to Enlarge
The route as seen from the bivy spot.
Photo: Chris McNamara
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The route as seen from Maltby Lake.
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The route as seen from the bivy spot.
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Falling Dihedral Var., 5.10a
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The route as seen from the bivy spot.