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[TR] Colchuck Balanced Rock- West Face 7/29/2005

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Climb: Colchuck Balanced Rock-West Face


Date of Climb: 7/29/2005


Trip Report:

Kyle Flick and climbed this outstanding route last Saturday. We left Cashmere at 3.30am, were hiking by 4.15am. We reached the base and were climbing by 9am thereabouts, and topped out at 5pm, 8 hours on route. I don't have too much more to add, other than the following points I wasn't able to gather from past TR's:


1. If you're plannign on doing this route, use Michael Layton and Skyclimb's TR from last year. Layton's points and gear recommendation are spot on. Plus, it's a good read.

2. Going by the Nelson guide, I was able to combine pitches 1 (short 5.10+ crack), 2 (5.7 chimney to pedestal top) and 3 (EXCELLENT corner crack to double cracks) into one long 200 foot pitch. The last part of this pitch had some funky manteling onto gravel and grass. A bit spooky.

3. Since Kyle and I are free climbing duds, I direct aided most of the 5.11 long crack, while Kyle jugged it. Kyle then direct aided the traversing under the roof pitch. This made it go by really quickly.

4. You'll never forget the feeling of hanging out underneath that enormous roof. No picture does it justice.

5. The 5.9+ corner crack is really nice. Easy aid at the top.

6. The 5.9(?) chimney is really as bad as Layton describes: "It will utterly destroy you." Not only that, but there are basically three chimneys of similar difficulty.

7. Easy simul-climbing for the last 400' or so.

8. Lotsa ticks. I pulled numerous off my rope and pant legs.

9. This is THE climb to do in the middle of a swealtering summer. We were climbing all day in the shade, in nice cool temps, and didn't have direct sun until the last scrambling pitch.


Some pictuers:

1280CBRprofile-med.JPG If you look closely, there is a party of three climbers just left of the roof. They had caught up with us when we were just finishing off the long 5.11 pitch. We thought we would be holding them up for the rest of the climb. However, they got bogged down somehow. The last we saw of them when we were on the west side of Colchuck Lake, they were just finishing the chimney pitch. They must've been benighted.


The Great Roof



Flick cleaning the pitch.



Aiding easily out from underneath the roof. The belay under the roof is fixed with two fixed stoppers and two pins.



The obligatory shot of Stuart.



Fear this chimney. It actually has a good hand crack most of the way and protects really well, it's just the exposure when trying to get into it.



Flick finishing up.






Gear Notes:

Use Layton's recommendation if you don't climb 5.11 alpine trad. We found two 3.5 camalots very helpful.


Approach Notes:

Take the left-hand gully for the approach, which is shorter than hiker's right.

Edited by telemarker

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You know, I beg to differ from you purists about the difficulty of free climbing the chimney pitch--although I was surprised to have to deal with 3 chimneys, french free made it fairly straightforward. Otherwise kudos to you who can free climb most of this route.

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how does one post larger pictures in a trip report?

nice work, guys!

i don't use the tr-enabled add-a-picture deal-y; i just link directly to the bigger pic in the gallery. it's a little more work but it's nicer to have bigger pics. not sure if there's an easier way.

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Thanks Peter. Still good weather out there for hittin them thar hills. Trust you're gettin out too when you're taking breaks from the bar exam prep.

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It's frustrating to read awesome TR's like this one and see these postage stamp-sized pics. Great climbs like yours deserve correspondingly grand image sizes. Don't even bother with the local Gallery tool; if your ISP gives you some storage space, or if there's any server on the internet where you can store your shots, just use the IMAGE tag to link to them in your report. The FAQ link from the CC homepage walks you through it.

--hope this helps...:)

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Thanks. Nice work as well! thumbs_up.gif Quite a route. I agree what they're saying about the chimneys being well protected but quite the bearcat. I had no qualms yarding my way through them.

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