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markwebster

Easter Overhang, Midnight rock

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I haven't been up to Midnight Rock in Leavenworth in 20 years. Is it currently open, or are birds still nesting?

 

Also, we used to call Easter Overhang 5.9, but Victors book calls it 10c...did something break off, or just the consensus upgrade? I remember it was a scary offwidth, but safe with big cams.

 

We used to come down from the top too, for a shorter approach, but got lost a lot, is that trail any better? Does anyone have gps numbers for midnight?

 

thanks for any info you can offer.

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i think for an off width lover it is probably for 5.9. for everyone else it is 5.10c. if you have the offwidth technique down it is easy. if you're me, it is 5.12.

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Pretty sure it was 5.10 with nuts inthe seventies

 

It was rated 5.9 in both the 1976 and 1982 Brooks' Leavenworth Guides. Previous to that it was listed as an aid route in the Becky Leavenworth guide iirc. I first did it in '76 and it seemed like pf hard 5.9 to me :) But not out of line with all three pitches of Reed's either. I was more than happy to clip a fixed pin up in the squeeze chimney. But the hexs lower down were bomber. Scary and insecure getting into that chimney.

 

Cams? Shit, it was years yet before we saw cams.

 

Viktor's 1991 jump of EO to .10c seemed a little excessive to us that had already been climbing it for over a decade. But nothing changed that I know of besides the number.

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I enjoyed the thumping of the chest by the previous poster! Is this climbable with a 30m rope?

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I enjoyed the thumping of the chest by the previous poster! Is this climbable with a 30m rope?

assless-chaps.jpg

...And returning to us now, after almost two years of blissful absence, it's (Assless) Chaps... :rolleyes:

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i think for an off width lover it is probably for 5.9. for everyone else it is 5.10c. if you have the offwidth technique down it is easy. if you're me, it is 5.12.

 

EasterOverhang.jpg

MH2's photo from the Taco

 

 

I've always thought the crack on Easter Overhang was straight forward and the chimney as well. The transition between crack and squeeze chimney not so much. Bloody awkward. The fixed pin was a god send for me on every ascent.

 

The chimney on the last pitch on Reeds Direct seemed similar enough and a bit harder to me.

 

But the grade creep seems typical these days and I suspect happens to many climb that are awkward and not easily duplicated in a gym and/or the pro marginal.

 

I did a old school 5.8 from the '70s a few weeks ago. It was bumped to a 5.9- back in the mid '80s in the local guide but the route description was lacking enough that you have to wonder if the author ever climbed the route. The most recent guide book simply copied the previous. Still wouldn't give the climb a 5.9 rating. But we thought Damnation was 5.8 back then as well. And the climbs do have a lot in common.

 

My partner who lead the same climb on sight last week with minimal beta. He thought it some where between .10a and .10b.

And he is no kid, but a gym rat by necessity most of the year.

 

Nothing changed on that route either in the last 30 years. Nothing but the sticky shoes and more expensive pro.

Passive pro actually did a better job on this one bitd.

 

No surprize that Ron Burgner was involved in both FFAs. 1967 on the FFA of Easter Overhang with Jim Madsen, the 1968 Burgner/Stanley on Prusik and a very early free ascent of the climb below with Thom Nephew. For the locals Ron also did a FFA of Arachnid Arch, 5.11d, back in the '60s as well. Arachnid Arch was originally rated 5.10.

 

 

P1040091.JPG

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What was labeled 5.9 in the 70s or before can be open to interpretation. Look at all the 5.9 A2s in the Canadian Rockies for a starter.

 

In any case Easter Overhang does come down to the one move through the hanging part and into the upper chimney. Rate it what you want, but it is nice to have lead climbs harder than 5.9 before leading Easter Overhang.

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I wonder if the fixed pin that I pulled 5 years ago is the same one you are talking about. It came out by hand and there was pro nearby so I thought it was somewhat useless.

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I wonder if the fixed pin that I pulled 5 years ago is the same one you are talking about. It came out by hand and there was pro nearby so I thought it was somewhat useless.

 

Easily could have been. Where was the pin and what pro did you get "nearby"?

 

Right side in it is easy to describe where the pin was originally.

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Now I am curious. Anyone been up there recently? Is there still a pin at the crux?

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I led it Saturday and found it unchanged from my last ascent 20 years ago. We broke it into two pitches to cut down on rope drag. The approach pitch is badly mossed up, and I was glad my partner had that one. I would have spent 20 minutes gardening, but he sailed through.

 

Easter Overhang itself is a lovely 5.8 hand crack up to the roof. There it starts to overhang as the crack widens to fists. I missed the perfect right foothold and had to hang once 4 feet below the roof to rest. I blame tunnel vision and general incompetence. You can walk your camalots 2, 3 and 4 through this section.

 

After my avoidable rest/hang, I continued fist jamming up to the true overhang where it gets bigger than fist. There are very nice face foot holds on the right, plus a hidden flake back in the crack that make all this work.

 

At the true overhang there is an old angle iron piton you can clip, but it's not really needed as there is also a bomber yellow #2 camalot there, along with a great handjam and a perfect ledge to grab.

 

But then it gets tricky. The crack is spitting you out, like a bomb bay chimney, it's bigger than fist, there is nothing to grab, I think it was even bigger than a number 5 camalot.

 

I ended up combining a mantle on the ledge at the lip by the piton with a chicken wing to get through that. My feet cut loose and I was hanging there...secure, but dangling over all that freaking air.

 

Such a cool move! I chicken winged my way up, getting stuck several times until I remembered how to chimney climb again. I was glad to have two four, and five camalots, and two big bros. I used my green (8 inch) and purple big bros in the section above the roof...nothing else would fit unless you hauled up a valley giant up that two hour approach.

 

The trail is in horrible shape. Back in the day I led it with hexes and just 2 number 4 friends...wouldn't want to do that now in my dotage.

 

Don't know what to say about the rating. I normally can't climb 10c at all, so I don't think it's 10c. It's not as hard as Breakfast of Champions, which goes at 10a...so maybe it is still 5.9, though only if you are good at all flavors of crack, including fist and chimneys. It's definitely harder for me than Damnation crack, but that really only has the one hard section off the deck.

 

At any rate, it's a stellar climb, 4 stars in my book. That transition move at the lip of the roof is just fabulous.

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Well done Mark, congrads!

 

You make it sound easy :) And great write up.

 

I remember the angle well. And happy to have it for that mantle even with my fingers greasing off it and I tried to shut down my lizard brain telling me I was about to die and start climbing again.

 

Still amazes me they freed that crack and placed pins while doing so back in 1967. No calk, no sticky rubber, not even in Eb's yet and in a swami belt all the while. How cool was that?

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Dane: you suggest that they wore swami belts in 1967. In 1967 was it a swami belt or a bowline on a coil?

 

I remember the swami belt coming into use (where I noticed it, at least) a few years later. Swami belt harnesses were not something I associate with climbing in 1967. I was not climbing in Yosemite or Leavenworth at the time but I think swami belts were popular in Yosemite maybe five years after that (I don't remember the exact time frame) and eventually we used seat belt webbing to sew our own harnesses. This may have been nearly ten years after 1967, though.

 

In between 1967 and whenever it was that we all used sewn harnesses I remember climbers all using tied harnesses. "Diapers" may have been in use in 1967, but I'm not so sure about that, through for sure by 1971.

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Matt you are correct. Good catch, more likely a bowline on a coil. We used the bowline, then 1" tube and then 2" tube. 2" was a big jump up in comfort. I used that (later with leg loops when required but didn't like them) through the '80s and lots of good rock climbing. We bypassed the 2" seat belt stuff as too painful and had the Whillians inbetween (and all the alpine stuff) a bowline and 2" tube.

 

Funny memory along those lines. I once took a clean 70' fall on lead with a 2" double wrapped swami and about that much rope out. Easy catch and no ill effects. My partner a 150' on a Whillians and hip belay. Easy on the belayer a little rough on the leader as he hit some things on the way down.

 

I distinctly remember climbing with Ron Burgner in the early '70s and him using a bowline on a coil. I remember it because it was rare that anyone still used that system intentionally on difficult rock. But Burgner and Thom Nephew used a 2" swami belt more often than not from my limited memories. Likely the first I saw of that system as well.

 

 

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Dane,

 

In some regards this may be fun stuff primarily to those interested in our generation or the history of modern climbing. I think that in years prior to our "golden age" climbers did not fall (or if they did, they got hurt). In 1960 or so (give or take 20 years depending on your perspective), we began to develop techniques that made it "safe" to fall. Whether you think this was with roped climbing (maybe as early as the 1920's) or cams an bolt-intensive climbing (1980's and I know Jardine had cams in Yosemite a few years earlier), rock climbing took leaps forward when climbers learned to climb all kinds of cool stuff without mortal fear of falling.

 

Our sport is very different than that which our pioneers practiced and kids these days can climb circles around you and I yet the "cool" climbs of our younger times, such as the Nose and the N. Face of the Grand or the N. Face of Robson (now a ski route), are still a pretty big deal. Cool, eh?

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Dane,

 

In some regards this may be fun stuff primarily to those interested in our generation or the history of modern climbing. I think that in years prior to our "golden age" climbers did not fall (or if they did, they got hurt). In 1960 or so (give or take 20 years depending on your perspective), we began to develop techniques that made it "safe" to fall. Whether you think this was with roped climbing (maybe as early as the 1920's) or cams an bolt-intensive climbing (1980's and I know Jardine had cams in Yosemite a few years earlier), rock climbing took leaps forward when climbers learned to climb all kinds of cool stuff without mortal fear of falling.

 

Our sport is very different than that which our pioneers practiced and kids these days can climb circles around you and I yet the "cool" climbs of our younger times, such as the Nose and the N. Face of the Grand or the N. Face of Robson (now a ski route), are still a pretty big deal. Cool, eh?

 

And the nostalgia was as thick as the warm August air...

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Yeah, you post about August air but it is nearly October.

 

So what is new? You don't wear a swami belt I bet, but what about Easter Overhang? Do you take mass cams or simply run it out from the old pin?

 

Is it still a worthy objective, or simply a walk down memory lane?

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...We bypassed the 2" seat belt stuff as too painful and had the Whillians inbetween (and all the alpine stuff) a bowline and 2" tube.
Hey there, Dane, this statement appears to be mutually exclusive. I, too, had a Whillans as my first sewn harness (after tiring of tying my own every outing), and that thing was a pain in the nuts, to be sure! :o

 

Upper left and lower right... Youch!

 

Sobo-ancient_times.jpg

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I know Paul ;) ...but if you thought the Whillians was a nut crusher the 2" flat stuff would cut and bruise your gut badly in a fall. On the other hand a 2" tube swami was pretty comfortable in a fall and never got close to your family jewells :) Not cuts and little bruising.

 

No question almost everyone climbs circles around me.

 

But here is what I find interesting. How Burgner and Stanley did Prusik before the Culchuck/Stauart trail head. Or Easter Overhang with pins. Robbins by himslef on Cavel for the 2nd ascent. Lowe and Jones on Twin in 1974! Different points of interest but all amazing adventures I suspect. But no more or less than Gorilla's in the Mist.

 

The big alpine faces haven't changed but how we appraoch them has.

 

What were truly amazing and painful winter ascents in the Alps in the '70s we do as day climbs now. That I find amazing. The fact that gear has made such a big difference (and climate change) in what is possible.

 

The Eiger is still hard....the climbers may be hard today. But the Eiger in wool, leather and hemp rope...that is the definition of HARD.

 

I like seeing the changes and being in it long enough to experience the changes.

 

Respect is due to those that came befor us and the ones ripping it up now.

 

I like being a part of that community no matter how often anyone of us wants to puff up his own chest and crow a bit :)

 

For no particular reason other than I am still standing, my turn!

crowing_rooster.jpg

 

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Thank god I never had to endure the nut crusher.

 

I hope I didn't sound to anyone like I discounted the significance of modern climbs or modern climbers because I did not mean to do so.

 

I still climb, though not as much as I would like. Anybody who can truly get after it merits my respect, as do those who are simply casual climbers like myself.

 

Climbing rocks.

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My first sewn harness was a Whillans too but I used a swami belt almost as much during that time. My understanding is that a combination of swami/webbing/bowline on a coil was prevalent through the 60's until the sit harness came along but the Northwest scene was largely influenced by the Mountaineers during that time and the bowline was likely the preferred method.

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I still have a Whillans though it only sees use as a non-OSHA approved harness for roof work. I'd probably loan it out if someone wants to experience the old days, and might even be able to dig up a rack of pins and a pair of Robbins blue boots...

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