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Peshastin Pinnacles revival

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I hesitated to post this tr for a while as I know so many of you hate the Pinnacles. It's not 5.11 climbing, we're just a bunch of moderate climbers, and my best years are long gone. Still, I know there are a few of you out there climbing at this level, with an open mind, so here goes. Note: I'd already posted this tr on my gym's site (www.edgeworksclimbing.com), but a couple people have mentioned cc.com needs more tr's, and with the recent crowding on Castle, and the Pinnacles being deserted...


The Peshastin Pinnacles have a bad reputation, but I'm here to tell you not to believe it. There is some awesome climbing there, both sport and trad. Yes the rock is sandstone, and it can be crumbly in places but those places are easily avoided. The Pinnacles are an awesome place to learn friction climbing. If you have ever done the 5.9 Bliss route at exit 38 at Gun Show wall, the Pinnacles is just like that: very smooth, leaning over friction based slab climbing.


There are many routes under 5.9, enough for a couple full weekends of climbing, which is what I've been doing the last couple weekends...working on my friction technique. Friction climbing is completely different from steep face climbing, or crack climbing. Having your toes jammed into a shoe 2 sizes too small will not help. You need your shoe to be able to smear on the ball of your feet.


Imagine standing on a very smooth leaning over slab of rock, there are absolutely no foot or handholds, all you have is the friction under the ball of your foot, and you are 5 feet (or more) above the last bolt. That's the Pinnacles.


It's true that many of the routes have long run outs...but guess what, so does the Yosemite Apron, so does the Squamish Apron and many other places. Many of Victors routes up the Icicle have similar run outs.


The Pinnacles has run outs on 5.4 climbs, which are so easy that you won't fall, but you will begin to get comfortable with climbing high above a bolt while keeping your cool.


There are also routes at the Pinnacles that are so closely bolted it's almost ridiculous (Potholes  5.7, West Face Grand central tower 5.8).  Many of these bolted routes will also take cams to reduce the run outs (windward direct 5.8, Potholes 5.7, Martian Direct 5.7, Sunset Slab 5.4 to 5.9). All the bolts have been upgraded to modern 3/8 inch or larger.


there are some very cool trad routes that take bomber pro and are very moderate (porpoise 5.6, tunnel route 5.6, catacombs 5.7, vertigo 5.8). In short, don't skip the Pinnacles. Because of their undeserved reputation amongst the young sport crowd, they are usually deserted. I saw 2 other climbers on a recent weekend, and I heard Vantage was crowded. No waits, excellent climbing, what's not to like?


These are pictures from a recent trip with Christine, Austin and Eric. Christine has a lot of experience with friction climbing back east and led a sweet climb called Gray Whale (5.8 old school)...glad we had a stick clip! It only had 2 bolts in 60 feet, but believe it or not, it's quite safe with a stick clip. The bolts are where you need them, but you do need to warm up your friction skills on easy stuff before jumping on certain routes. You can also easily top rope many of the harder climbs (Austian slab, Potholes direct, West face grand central).


This is Christine topping out on the two pitch 5.6 called Martian Diagonal. This climb can be traversed onto to avoid the run out start. The runout 5.4 section on the "sidewalk" can be made safe with some small cams. I bought a red #1 c3 camalot specifically for this climb and it was bomber.



Christine topping out on the second pitch of Potholes 5.7. Bring some cams from one half inch to 3 inches to protect the top out chimney move. You have to protect in old angle iron pin scars, though there is a bolt 10 feet below.



Christine and Austin rapping off Orchard Rock (3 minute approach from car) after Christine's first gear lead up the 5.2 gully route. Austin cruised up the trad routes: 'A Crack', a 4 star 5.7 overhanging hand jam crack.











This is Austin cruising up Windward Direct 5.8. A bolt protected crack climb that also takes cams from one half inch to 3 inches. If you can toe jam and friction climb, you will love this very safe climb. I give it 4 stars. Don't bring your aggressive Smith rock shoes.





This is me, finishing the last few moves of windward:












Eric following Austin's lead up Windward Direct 5.8. He had never climbed outside the gym. The guy's a natural friction climber



This is Christine following the bolted/trad route called Windward 5.6. It's a nice easy bolted traversing route that takes some smallish cams up to about 2 inches. It tops out on a knife edge ridge that drops off 70 feet on the left, and 100 feet on the right. You can bail at the ridge from rap anchors, or you can "ride the horsey" up the knife edge ridge up to another set of anchors 60 feet away. There are no bolts at all along the ridge. If you come off, you will take a very scary king swing...but no one ever has because it's only 5.6 onto the ridge, and the ridge is 4th class horse riding. But it's still a heady horse ride with all that exposure and no pro. Fun as stuff!





Christine hamming it up on the ridge traverse














I'll be there this weekend again with my wife Sue. Feel free to give me a shout if you see me. I know where all the safe routes are. My friends call me the walking guidebook :crosseye:


Oh, did I mention: NO CROWDS

Edited by markwebster
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Fun TR and nice photos. Nice shot of the disappearing orchards. The state park ranger is very responsive to climbers, and kept the Pinnacles open at our request for an extra few weeks last fall.


Kyle Flick and I went back to Butter Brickle couple weekends ago for a quickie pitch. Kyle feels compelled to lead this, and for good reason. Great exposure, fun jamming, good(ish) pro, and balancy hueco climbing.


Though the bolt anchor is 3/8", I was able to move them with my fingers. If you wanted to top rope lap BB, and the adjacent face, there's a crack that takes extra gear to back up the bolts.

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The rap station at the top of Graham Cracker and Butter Brickle does indeed have some uninspiring anchors. The hangars are those weird homemade looking welded eyebolts. One of them points a bit down hill and swings freely. Their are good cam placements nearby to back them up.



When I led Catacombs I came up to those and did not like them at all, though they may be fine. Once my partner joined me she climbed off to climbers right about 20 feet and there is one of those monster bolts that you see around the pinnacles. They are almost three quarters of an inch in diameter and look like they go down a foot. You can find them on the rap from Porpoise, West face of grand central, Potholes, etc.


I felt much safer rapping from that monster bolt than the weird anchors directly above Butterbrickle.

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Hey Chris,

Last weekend Sue and I were supposed to hit the Pinnacles but my daughter Lisa came down with the flu, so we chose to be good parents and stayed home. This last weekend, yesterday, I had caught Lisa's flu so we stayed home again. Sue and I hope to finally go this coming weekend, but Sue will probably have the damn disease and I'll get screwed again.



a few folks from the gym seem interested if Sue is sick, and at least I should be healthy by then. As far as the weather...no idea. A bunch of people from www.edgeworksclimbing.com went. Log on and pm Christine, I'm certain she went to Leavenworth both days.


Hope to see you out there!

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Went to Peshastin for the first time in over 4 years this past Saturday. Had a really great time. The weather was perfect and the climbing a lot of fun. We did some crack lines and TRed some 5.10 face / slab pitches. It's too bad you couldn't lead these (almost no pro). The routes there are pretty unique and a nice change of pace.


Thanks for the great TR and pics and inspiring me to go back.

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We did some crack lines and TRed some 5.10 face / slab pitches. It's too bad you couldn't lead these (almost no pro). The routes there are pretty unique and a nice change of pace.


Come on Martin, all those routes have been lead, most in rr boots long before sticky rubber let alone slippers. Trick is you have to actually be able to climb at that level and not hang from bolt to bolt.


Glad no one seems to like slabs these days :)




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