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I ran a kickstarter that was a roaring success (thanks for the amazing support and also the nice words privately messaged and emailed from so many). I made some of the requested changes regarding areas under development, had fun talking about it on the Becoming Human podcast, shipped copies to all the backers and now the book (drum roll) is available to all while stocks last, so if you fancy checking an utter ton of moderate friendly info on sport crags here, near here, and worth taking a trip to over there, well snag your copy via… https://letsrockwa.wordpress.com/ GPS for parking, camping, and the crag. Beta, grades, and bolt counts. Big friendly pictures from the base of climbs. Advice on areas that are crumbly or hazardous, those with access problems and those that are easy to find but are still under development and should be avoided for now. Magazine sized and spiral bound for ease of use at the crag and also so you can have it rebound into smaller chapters if you fancy With some areas of Washington being a four+ hour drive away, well Oregon and Squamish and Idaho are the same driving distance, so I chucked those in, and well, Vegas, Utah and California are just a quick plane hop away, so why not. And well, there were some other spots that we visited that were worth covering just because they were quite splendid. Here's the chapter guides so you know what's covered...
Trip: Incredible Hulk - Positive Vibrations Date: 9/3/2012 Trip Report: I concluded a really fun six week summer road trip with this stellar route. I’d done it before in 2009 but it is worth doing again and again. Jed and I met up in Reno, I was driving from the Tetons where my wife and I had just had a blast climbing the Exum Ridge and Irene's Arete. Jed flew in from Chicago. We got our permit early the next morning and we made the hike in to the base in two hours from Twin Lakes. Hulkamania: We had enough time that we really could have done the Red Dihedral that afternoon but I figured we’d want to be feeling pretty fresh for the PV. Jed started us off the next morning at first light, climbing awkward cracks with a distinct 10a crux passing a small roof. I fired us up the next pitch, a short 10c tips splitter and some easy but runout face climbing that gains two bolts on a nice belay ledge. First pitch: Jed continued up the 5.8 corner above, then across the delicate traverse which ends with a somewhat spicy, but short, sideways 5.11a sequence to gain a handjam, then a jughaul to the belay, another pair of bolts. Beginning of pitch 3. The crux traverse is just above the roofs. Pitch 4 is 5.10c and is a great stemming and bridging corner, with two distinct bulges. Gear is anywhere you want it. I passed a set of bolts and continued up a thin and tenuous finger crack in a corner with a hard stem and crack switch right at the end, a long 50 meter pitch. Jed following p4: Jed took us up a fantastic pitch towards the prow of the Hulk’s west face. Multiple cracks lead to a single crack which begins wide and tapers to thin hands, a rather awkward and strenuous section that felt a little harder than the 10a rating would suggest, but soon gives way to an extended section of splitter hands. Pitch 5: I now tackled the crux pitch which begins in a smooth corner with intricate stemming and some pretty dicey gear; suspect tiny cams (incl. #000 and #00 C3’s), a mishmash of rp’s, and the need for long slings due to having to protect mainly in the crack on the left wall. Just after I got the gear arranged and started going for it, my foot skated and I whipped onto an HB brass nut and blew the redpoint. After a unnerving runout to the roof where you can finally get some good gear, I continued past burly underclings with crispy feet into a steep, sustained, and incredible crack that passes a bulge on thin hands. A little unnerved from the fall, I dogged it a bit through here until I got my mojo back, and then continued on up in better style as the crack becomes a stellar finger jamming extravaganza on an open wall with incredible exposure. Due to rope drag (and being a bit worked) I made a belay at a small stance just below the 5.11 crux. Up to here the pitch rates 5.10d although I thought overall it is much harder (due to being physical and sustained) than the next section of technical 5.11a fingers. Jed coming up p6: I led us past the 11a thin fingers and face sequence passing a wildly exposed overhang with a ton of air beneath the feet! I pressed the pitch another 15 meters higher and belayed below the next set of splitters. Jed leaving the belay to start following the 11a section. Exposure and beautiful rock! The next pitch begins with steep, strenuous fingers and thin hands, giving way to another incredible hand crack. The angle lets off but then the pitch gets harder, with a difficult face move to the next crack right, then cranking hard up a sustained off fingers jam crack that never seems to let up. At the end, make an improbable step down and left to gain a great belay ledge. 5.10d. Jed in Splitterville: It just stays awesome. The next pitch can go to the very top if you have a 70 meter rope and a lot of endurance and don’t mind spacing your pro, a lot. I took it only 40 meters before I wimped out and belayed; I was low on hand sized gear and our rope was a 60m. The corner starts easily enough but becomes sustained 5.10b hand and fist jamming up a very steep corner and past a roof. A short distance above the roof I made a belay in the crack system at a blockier area, about 10-15’ right of a solitary bolt on the prow that makes no sense. Jed took us to the ridge from here, moving to the right and climbing another phenomenal finger, thin hands, then hands, hands, hands crack!!! Last pitch on the wall: From here, if you don’t plan to rappel Venturi Effect (70 meter rope mandatory) continue along the ridge- not entirely trivial. Apparently you can stay right on the crest and go through a chimney between flakes, but both times I’ve now stayed down and left. This is not entirely straightforward and is rather dirty and loose. After a couple ropelengths of “mostly” 4th and low 5th you join the Red Dihedral for the final 5.8 crack and the classic wormhole exit onto a bench just below the top. Jed coming on through: Jed on the summit, psyched: This route is at least as good as the Rostrum, maybe better because it is up in the mountains, and it’s longer. The rock is flawless, if the pictures don’t already demonstrate. Go do this thing. If it’s super windy at the base, consider another route- the upper part of the route is extremely exposed as it is right on or near the prow. The next day we got a more civilized start and ran up the Red Dihedral, the third time I had done this classic. Not quite as quality as the PV, but this is sort of like saying, for example, Seasoned in the Sun in Squamish isn’t as good as Exasperator. Do them both. Now. Gear Notes: Set of stoppers including rp’s, long slings. Double rack of cams from tiny stuff (#000 or grey tcu) to #3 BD camalot, with triples from 0.3 BD to #2. Nothing bigger than a #3 needed. Could avoid some of the triples perhaps, but most pitches are quite long so you either would have to break them up more, or run it out a fair bit. 70 meter rope could be useful especially if wanting to rap Venturi Effect. I’ve heard that rope hangup can be an considerable issue if choosing that course. Approach Notes: Climbers trail seems to get better by the year. Supertopo beta is out of date, there’s now a good log crossing and no wading in swamps is needed. Trail begins climbing the slope well to the looker’s left of the canyon entrance, then eventually traverses into the canyon. 2-3 hours from Twin Lakes. Bikes are NOT ALLOWED any longer on the initial part of the trail.
Trip: Eastern Sierras - Whitney, Russell, Fairview, Lover's Leap Date: 8/14/2007 Trip Report: Having never been to the eastern side of the Sierras, I thought it was high time to get out of our crappy August weather and check it out. My partner Joe from Portland was game so we met in P-town and made the long ass drive to Lone Pine in a day. We wanted to do Whitney, the Fishhook arete on Russell next to Whitney, the Mithral dihedral on Russell and then who knows what. Road construction along the way made for exciting times in the car sitting still and added more valuable time to the commute. We had no permit for Whitney so we got to the ranger station at 6:30 the next morning and were first in the door at 8. By some stroke of luck they had a couple of permits for that day to camp at Iceberg lake, so we were in! The hump in from Whitney portal was hot but tolerable even though our packs were loaded with gear for the Mithral, which called for triples in medium cams. Lower Boy Scout lake on the approach After 5 1/2 hours in the afternoon heat we made it to Iceberg lake and set up camp. We decided on the east buttress of Whitney over the more popular east face as the climbing was said to be more sustained and direct. It did prove to be a fun route with never any hard climbing, but fun sections throughout. First pitch Further up the route The descent down the mountaineers route was pretty mellow and we agreed to do the Fishhook arete on Russell the next morning. The beautiful and obvious arete We got an semi-alpine start not knowing how long the route was and arrived at the base of the route at 6:30am. It was damn cold at the base and we jumped around stalling and blowing on our hands for almost an hour before we decided we needed to get moving up. Joe, who claimed rock/paper/scissors was not played in his native Ireland and knew nothing about it promptly smoked me in it and chose me to lead the first frigid pitch. It was a great pitch, but hard to enjoy when you have to shake out every couple of moves. Joe warming the digits on the first pitch The rest of the climb was fantastic, especially after we hit sunlight. Primo belay The great 3rd pitch What a great climb with sustained 5.8/5.9 climbing almost the whole way and a great position on a perfect arete. We topped out in early afternoon and relaxed on the summit with one other guy that came up the scramble route...very different than the summit of Whitney. Mt Russell summit After reading the summit register and the folks that had done the Mithral we started to have second thoughts about doing it the next day. The Mithral on Russell is 6 pitches with 3/4 of them in a perfect 10b corner, and it's in the shade the whole day. Quotes like "the Mithral is the coldest place in California" and "my hands have never been that cold...and I ice climb" made us think that we came to California for sun and why would we suffer up some frigid rock climb here? So we lounged on the summit for an hour and then headed to camp and packed out the next day. We headed for Tuolumne and jumped on Fairview as Joe had wanted it for a long time. The first pitch of the Regular route Another fun climb with the first 4 pitches being great sustained climbing. The rest wanders to the summit that we shared with just a couple of others. From Tuolumne we decided to head a little north to cut off some of the drive home. I had never been to Lover's Leap so we camped at the great campground there and the next day did "The Line" and "hospital corner", which were both great lines up pergect granite. A great way to end the trip. We got in the car and started driving that night and ended up in P-town at 4am. A great trip with a great partner in the Sierras. Have fun on 'em. Gear Notes: Standard alpine on the fishhook, light alpine on east Buttress of Whitney. Approach Notes: Easy until the altitude hits your sea level lungs at about 10,000ft.