North Face 5.11c
Trip ReportThe Kaukulator and the Uprising
This is a quick and dirty postscript to the other Rostrum TR from our first go on the route.
The day pictured in that TR was Oct 24, perfect conditions, killer fall day. When we went back for the second go (partner's third), it was Nov 11, and it was perfect conditions, killer late-fall day.
This day we thought we'd skip the first three and cut in on the ledge, giving us time to do some variants. Short days in late Nov, but we knew the storm and wx change that would end the north-facing multi-pitch season was right around the corner, so we hustled and got in this good stuff.
First up was the Kaukulator. That is a ridiculously beautiful line on a clean, overhung wall. Rattly fingers to hands to OW to juggy roofs. Hardest five moves are off the ledge. Stone cold mf'er of a warmup.
Not only is the opening the hands-down crux of the pitch, it’s right off of a slanting + exposed ledge so you have to protect yourself closely off of squirrelly .5-sized locks and bad feet. Definitely one of those pitches that are much harder to lead than to follow.
On my first go I was shocked to find myself through the fingers section and sinking the first solid hand jam, so shocked that I slipped right out of a truckstop, sinker jam! Drrrr. Couldn’t feel too bad since it wouldn’t have been even close on lead.
Here’s Nick about to engage the OW section, rated .10c and maybe two or so bodylengths long.
We both went different sides in. He suffered a bit, fell, thought it was much harder than the Rostrum’s .10a OW lead, which he’s never fallen or even really struggled on. On second (again, a different undertaking), it felt a good deal easier than the Rostrum’s .10a OW to me. I thought this one was kind of cruiser, but I've fallen both times on the Rostrum's .10a OW pitch.
The section off the ledge is like a steeper, meaner 15 ft of Butterballs – it’s that same really hard size that you find at the Butterballs crux
On the lower you get to appreciate how steep it all is
From below the ledge
Next we walked over to the Rostrum midpoint ledge and Nick handed me the rack for the finger crack. I kept the lid on tight and held it together to a point five feet below the ledge at the intermediate anchor.
Okay, okay, both cruxes below me, the business is out of the way, don’t fall now. Do not fall now?! Really, you’re going to fall now??? Two more pulls and I would have had it, but you can’t plead with a pump. Either you’re fit enough or you’re not. Whiiiiiiiipped onto the green Alien.
After the partner came up, he passed me the rack again and I went up the .10d stem/jam/roof/lieback pitch. Felt easier this time, nice, no idea why.
Partner motored up on second, cleaning gear, then we rapped back to the belay before the stems and pulled the rope so that he could give the Uprising a go.
First thing about the Uprising is that the face traverse to the crack, rated .10c, is way harder than the .10c face traverse that leads to the OW above on the Rostrum N Face route. Much harder, but with worse pro. Did holds break somewhere in there? ¿Quién sabe?
He’s got a .5 in here before the tough part but it’s garbage.
Next frame down in that position. Good stance before the cruxy face-to-seam sequence, good air below the heels
But pulling hard and keeping the head together gets you to gear and then eventually…
…the crack. What can you say? The thing is flawless, has got it all. Comparatively makes Outer Limits look like a B- in quality. And Outer Limits isn't B-, it's A+. So what does that make the Uprising
We only had two blue cams, would be better to have three. The long wide hands section is so money it hurts. Pumpy, physical, steep.
On top of that you encounter another distinct crux.
From there you can link into the .10a OW pitch and up to the anchor above on the standard route. Having done this, the partner made the unqualified statement that it was the best single pitch he’d done in his life. Pretty rad. In the pic above, you can see a Brit mid-onsite on the Roof finish. They said they were headed to the Freerider the next day.
Kind of crazy that you can pull this sort of thing off in mid November.
Bonus: this fern at the belay, who like us was just another lucky bastard taking in a nice late-fall day in the mountains
Recent Trip Reports