Zodiac A2 5.7
Trip ReportZodiac, The Good, The Bad, and The Wet
Cube life with kids in Portland is not very conducive to training for Spring walls, so we pretty much didn't.
We got in the Valley on a Thursday afternoon and hiked in a load of water. Skies were clear, and the temps running 80'ish, just about perfect. Recent theft reports kept us edgy and not inclined to stash much beyond water and my old haul rope. Part of the point of that load was to assess the drip situation, and we concluded the drip was a minor issue, nowhere near bad enough to have to fix pitches before blasting.
The next day we hiked up two light loads and started up. We ran into a soloist just down from wrapping up his finals in Bozeman. He was headed up Virginia to the Trip, but I'm not sure how far he got.
John had done P1-3 before, I had done nothing on Zodiac other than bivy on the first bolt after Half Wall Paul wimped out on the Trip many years ago, so I got Pitch 1. While there are a few tricky pieces, overall P1 was not too bad at all.
John took P2 and had no issues, despite both of us being pretty much off the couch.
We wrapped up the day by finishing P3 in daylight, pretty worked from all the loads we humped in that day. Make sure to save 2x #2 camalot sized pieces for the end of P3, as I left one down near the belay and had to resort to some pretty stupid shenanigans to make the last couple moves to the belay.
Pitch 4 was pretty unremarkable, a little free, and then nothing too sketch for the aid.
I got P5&6, and ended up doing them as two pitches rather than link. I had no desire to do lots of back cleaning, as we were is slow and steady mode for this trip. P5 has 2 bolts at the belay, but one is clearly for a portaledge. It was easy enough to clip a fixed link cams, 3 aliens, and one bolt to make a nice belay cluster. So far none of these pitches were bad at all. Just a few cam hook moves, or occasional iffy piece to deal with.
John got the dreaded Black Tower pitch. Sawed off, fixed RURP's, the whole nine yards. We'd moved into real meat of the route. The hammer was used to tap a sawed off into place, blowing our clean ascent (one of just 3 pins we hammered). Being worn down, we stopped for the day here with a decent ledge to stand on.
P8 started out innocuous enough with a couple hook moves to get into some jumbled easy free moves, but i quickly got suckered into a hand traverse by some luring Shortest Straw bolts... Back on route, things stayed easy moving up a diagonal crack to a thin dihedral. After a final green alien, it is brass, fixed heads, a fixed head, and a couple sketchy ass hooks on an exfoliated pancake to get to the bolts. Spicy.
P9 stayed thin and full value with brass, small cams, cam hooks, etc.
P10, the Nipple, was mine. "Leapfrogging Cam Hooks. Wild!" Great...
Thankfully there were 3 fixed pins after the bolts, keeping the chances of a swing back into the dihedral in check. I also got to place one more blue alien, figuring John could clean it from the last fixed pin before lowering out. Despite all that, after about 20-25' and 2 new pairs of trousers from shitting myself every time a cam hook farted, I went back to cams. We had brought plenty, 3x aliens, and 3x offset aliens, so why not... Testing your first cam from your existing last cam hook is just plain freaky. Soon enough I was pulling the awkward moves at the nipple. I move the big green #5 above the bolt to keep the route out of the crotch, though this was probably not necessary. Above that were aliens placements, a bomber hand placed lost arrow (short medium is perfect, and the only lost arrow we used).
At this point our weather forecast was going downhill rapidly. We expected thunderstorms and nastiness for the next few days. We were thankfully to now be parked under the Mark of Zorro roof, and for the first time on the route be able to sleep without a drip in our face. Sadly, it would also mark the end of climbing in the sunshine.
At this point the temps had dropped, the clouds had moved in, and it was clear we were in for some good times... Both of us slept cold. In my case I was too warm when I went to bed to put on my long johns, but had woken up cold enough to put on everything else I owned, eat, piss, etc in the middle of the night.
John took the Mark of Zorro Roof, taking one small clean fall when an offset alien popped, but the previous Blue-Black alien held just fine (and may never be the same...). The pitch was fairly heads up the whole time, as was the nature of the pitches by this point.
I got P12, which was pretty easy for the first half. Then I got to the "C2+ Expanding". I am a fatty, so I am that dude that cleans off the loose sh#t so that you skinny f*#kers can yard on things with impunity knowing someone heavier than you has surely already been through here and cleaned out the loose bullsh#t. I get to the be f*#ker who takes the ride busting loose sh#t off that is ready to go. The expand stuff is two block in a row that you shove cams behind. The first one looks semi-attached, but I still put the red alien way low and sh#t myself a few times standing up on it. The second block is fully detached with last wisps of an old duct tape X on it. Thanks for the warning as#@&%e. Not able to figure out any alternative I get a black alien behind it as low as I could and walked up the ladders as gentle as I could, finally clipping a bolt. Whew!
All over, or so I thought... After a second bolt I got to the "C3F or A2". Huh. My nerves were shot, and the only thing to do for the last 15' was going to be hooks. Many hooks, with just one fixed lost arrow (can be backed up with a gray alien) in the middle. Near the end you get to stand tall, clip a downward pointing fixed angle, make a cam hook move, and finally clip some nice bolts. A mind f*#k for sure.
The weather was nasty at this point, but the P12 anchors are in an alcove mostly protected, while Peanut ledge is known to be more open and exposed. We chose to stop early and bash out the last 4 pitches the next day, still hoping the weather would get a little better.
John made short work of P13, getting us to Peanut ledge.
Rain was spraying, and the wind was whipping, but none of that changed the fact I had to get up P14. 80' of 4-5" with just one rivet placement in the middle. Yay.
I had come decently prepared with 7 big cams, planning on leaving behind some pro. Down low I got to leap frog a gray #4 C4 and purple #4 Camalot, leaving behind a #4 rigid friend for pro. Above that it was leap frogging a #4.5 red camalot, and a purple #5 C4, leaving behind a #5 tech friend for pro. Above the rivet it was more #4.5/#5 C4 with the occasional pod where the green #5 was helpful, and I eventually left it behind for pro when the roof got close. Up in the roof proper it as #4 C4, a couple #2's, a fixed pin, a yellow alien, and finally a #1 to swing around the lip to the bolts. The annoyingly low bolts... In the future I would leave the purple #4 once I switched to the #4.5/#5 C4 as I only needed one #4 C4 up in the roof, and it was not even really mandatory.
John took P15, taking a couple cam hook falls (one when a pin scar exploded right after the tension move). He ignored all the back clean instructions on the topo and sewed the f*#ker up. I was able to follow after he zipped me the hooks (he managed to put aliens in for most of the hook traverse, requiring me to make just one hook move while cleaning).
P16 loomed short overhead, but I was spent, the weather was nasty and I wanted to stop. John twisted my arm, so I chomped down some jerky and a bar and set out. I quickly got shutdown by the "C2F or A2". Maybe in better weather and better light I could have made something stick, but my cam hook was jingus, and the pin scars would not take an alien. Better yet, the next move looked worse with an obvious dead head. I asked for the hammer and pins. No f*#k was given. Initially I thought it would be a sawed off, but with the beaks in hand, I figured they would do less damage. So I wailed in a couple beaks and got back moving. Soon I was topped out and flung the gear sling aside.
After some mild hauling snags were were both up and reveling. A very good route indeed.
Used a few sawed offs in the 3/4-1" ballpark. Used one short-medium LA. Used 1 each medium and large beak. Would need more if fixed gear is missing.
Nuts: Go heavy on brass and offset brass, and only 1x each of medium alloy nuts, and 1x each medium to largish offset nuts.
1x black alien, 3x blue-red alien (2x if committing to cam hook the nipple, and to back clean agressively), 2-3x offset aliens (2x Blue-Black and Red-Yellow, 3x Blue-Green and Green-Yellow would be perfect)
2x #0.75-#5 C4's, extra #4 and #5 C4's if you want to leave pro behind on P14. Old green #5 helpful, but not mandatory. Be conscious to back clean #1/#2 cams early in pitches, or bring 3x if sewing it up. I think 1x #3 would actually be plenty, and you'd only have to back cleaning once or twice (our second one lived in the haul hag till about P14, and was overkill for even that pitch).
20 draws, all sizes.
~8-10x. Bring a variety, several bolts were hanger-less and nut-less so a cinch hanger or two is handy. Many rivets are huge and our RP rivet hangers would not slot on to them (I think the Moses ones would, but we didn't bring any).
1x pointed Cliffhanger and Grappling Hook, 2x narrow and wide cam hooks. 3" Captain's hook was helpful but not mandatory. Talon, and micro cam hook were useless. We had a second set of hooks in the bag, but never busted them out, mostly as backup if we dropped something.
Useless: Tricams, ball nuts were not used.
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