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Valhallas

Mary Jane Dihedral questions

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Hey all,

I tried to climb the MJ dihedral yesterday and took a big whipper above the second bolt on the second MJ pitch. I've got a couple questions:

1) does anyone know if the route has been climbed recently? it was extremely mossy, which is a shame because it's a really good line and great climbing. I'm interested in going back for a day of gardening and pruning.

2) on the pitch above the old 2 bolt anchor, when the dihedral is leaning to the left, there is a bolt out left across the slab. I went out and clipped this since the alternate option was a thick blanket of moss, but it then seemed like I had to go back right into the mossy crack again. I did, got up a section covered in bird shit, clipped another newer bolt, but then there didn't seem to be any pro options (mostly due to moss?) and the move was seriously desperate for me. Was I supposed to keep going left at the first bolt?

edit: just found this TR and the photo with caption "Kyle stepping over the small roof atop pitch 4:" shows the spot I fell from, right below the bush. It seems like the climber is coming in from the left there. Is that the route?

3) how would people feel about having the 2 bolt anchor replaced with new bolts? I think one is an old leeper hanger, which should be replaced. I'm not sure what the other is, but it's also a very rusted 1/4. I would be interested in replacing them if people are Ok with that.

Edited by Valhallas

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I doubt you'd have any objections to your efforts to replace anchors. You should clean and scrub and replace the anchors on the Great Arch while you're at it. Wish I could help you with beta on the route but its been so long since I did it I don't remember!

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My recollection is there are flakes that you climb on the face to the left of the dirty dihedral. It is a run-out climb that could use some cleaning and retro-bolting.

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Hi Valhallas,

 

I cannot comment on the route's current condition. I climbed it, leading the pitches free, over 20 years ago. What prompted me to lead the route was the encouragement of the first ascentionist (with whom I was friends with at the time), who kept telling me I was missing out on a great climb, etc. What I am leading to is when I climbed the route it was pretty dirty--it obviously did not get climbed much back then either. I freed the route, but to do it I did a lot of brushing, blowing off dirt, pulling moss out, digging with my cleaning tool, etc., as I went. There was a time or two I nearly soiled myself from fear of falling. I found the route to be pretty "gutsy," at that time. I think this will always tend to be a somewhat "green" route--snow, rain, etc., tend to converge on that route, and since it does not get much traffic (which would tend to keep the route clean), the twin effect of being more wet than neighboring routes combined with infrequent climber traffic, means a somewhat "green" route most any day.

I have lost touch with the first ascentionist. Even if I had not I would not want to speak in a representative manner--each can speak for him/her self. But knowing him as I once knew him I do not think that some cleaning and old bolt replacement will cause much of a "firestorm." If you were to put in added bolts which sanitized the route and deprived it of its "spice" that would likely elicit criticism--much the same kind of criticism as has occured at bold places such as Tuolumne Meadows, etc., which seek to retain their history and culture.

I do not know if I helped much, but if there is helpful content in my posting then I am glad.

 

Cheers,

 

Bob Loomis, Spokane, Washington

Edited by Bob Loomis

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"Kyle stepping over the roof," is the way we've always done it. From that crap anchor, clip the bolt and friction left to a nice, shallow dihedral you can't see from the belay. Climb this flake/corner to near its end to the roof where the dihedral ends and merges with the rest of the shield.

 

The crux of that pitch is the friction climbing left.

 

Please rebolt that belay!

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I climbed Orbit on Sunday, and there was a party that looked to be climbing MJD. If it was very mossy and dirty I would have guessed you'd see some signs of their travel, but maybe not.

 

 

I personally believe replacing dangerous old belay bolts with solid new gear is a good idea. Be aware that CC has seen numerous shitstorms regarding the replacement of the shitty old hardware on Orbit. Nobody has replaced any of it, and it's probably because there is ample opportunity for gear anchors nearby. Just filling you in on some history.

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I appreciate the feedback everyone, especially yours Bob. I'm thinking only of replacing the two bolts at the hanging belay, since there is really no other option there. The crack is full of rubble, and like I said, I was able to sling a chockstone, but I don't think that's a really sustainable or especially safe component of a mandatory hanging belay, given that I bet that particular chockstone could be dislodged pretty easily.

I don't want to change the character of the route - I like that it's spicy, I just wish I hadn't made it spicier than it needed to be, since I evidently missed the shallow dihedral out to the left.

 

I am really curious now if that corner would go if someone actually cleaned the vegetation out of it, to create a more continuous line. I'm thinking I might rap in from the top soon with some gardening gear and really scrub it out to see if there's a protectable crack in the corner covered by moss. If so, then you wouldn't even have to go out left to the shallow corner, and the line would be a lot more aesthetic.

Edited by Valhallas

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"Kyle stepping over the roof," is the way we've always done it. From that crap anchor, clip the bolt and friction left to a nice, shallow dihedral you can't see from the belay. Climb this flake/corner to near its end to the roof where the dihedral ends and merges with the rest of the shield.

 

The crux of that pitch is the friction climbing left.

 

Please rebolt that belay!

 

That makes sense, especially given that it seemed like there was little or no traffic the way I went. One confusing thing is that in the new guidebook the topo line very clearly stays in the main corner.

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I've been itching for MJD since last fall when I did Orbit for the first time. Sad to hear it needs traffic. Let me know if I can help with the cleaning effort.

Jason

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I believe the bolt on the slab to the left is on Carla's Traverse, a 10a variation that meets the Orbit corner one pitch earlier than MJD.

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One confusing thing is that in the new guidebook the topo line very clearly stays in the main corner.

 

If you're talking about the new Kramar book, I have noticed the descriptions and topos of SCW leave you with a lot of room for adventure...

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I haven't climbed MJD since sometime late in the last century but I do not recall it being too overgrown. Pretty sure we stayed with or near the corner till it petered out then angled for the belay where Orbit goes thru the large roof. One thing I remember very well was having to decide whether to brush off the tick I spotted crawling up my arm or lean into the corner and clip the second bolt. About a half a nanosecond later I sent the nasty little bugger cartwheeling down towards my unsuspecting belayer and then made the clip!

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I climbed it 5 or 6 years ago and thought it a good climb. I posted this topo on cc.com.

610569-MaryJane.gif

 

I don't know for sure, but I think that old bolt belay might be better abandoned in favor of a lower option and I believe that I too slung the chockstone described above. I think the variant I show here is what Telemarker described and better than sticking to the corner on that third pitch. The corner looked mossy and no fun to us!

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I was the party on it on Sunday -- yup, it's dirty -- needs a lot more traffic. we traversed left out of the main dihedral at the one NEW bolt on the route (Telemarker's variant). I found the shallow dihedral more challenging than the traverse. Agree that the bolt anchors need reinforcing. I backed them up by slinging a football-sized chockstone in the dihedral (as described above), but this moved the focal point of the anchor closer to the dihedral, yielding a more awkward stance. I figured I'd go back and remedy this maybe sometime this month...

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What do you think about my question of whether a different location might be better for that belay? I found the old spot uncomfortable and I don't remember what I was thinking but at the time I thought there might be several reasons to set up lower.

 

If you placed bolts at a new location rather than simply building an anchor there its starting to smell like retrobolting, though.

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Dear All,

 

The last several postings about one of the belays comprising in part a slung chockstone (I cannot remember one way or the other it has been too long) made me think you might like a story. The story does not change the discussion about cleaning the route and replacing anchors, but it is a bit of history.

The first ascent was done by Don McPhearson, Jim Baldwin, and Ron Burgner. I never knew Don. My wife dated Jim in college (U of W) the year prior to his death when he fell from the top of El Cap during the famous Salathe Wall rescue. She recalls him being a driven, intense, intelligent, but somewhat "brooding" young man--serious about everything he did and his purpose in the world--and definitely a strong bold climber. She still has a postcard she received from him mailed from the valley a few days before he died. He stated in the postcard he was tiring of life in the valley and wanted to come back to the U of W to finish his engineering degree and get on with life.

But I did climb a fair amount with Ron Burgner. My wife roomed with his wife Cindy in a dorm at the U of W. She tells me Ron would climb the outside of the dorm to their dorm room window to have some afterhours time with Cindy (my wife says it was innocent--listening to music, etc.), or Cindy would climb out the dorm window to see Ron afterhours.

I first climbed with Ron in 1973 and we climbed off and on until the late 1970s--a few trips to Leavenworth, etc. At that time he was in his mid 20s or so and I was 18 (1973), just finishing high school. Rod and Cindy has almost no money, so he had almost no gear, and as a poor high schooler I did not have much gear either. So Rod taught me how to improvise. I recall a trip in 1975 to Castle Rock, Leavenworth. We get out of his old beater car and I find out he brought a few slings, biners, four or five nuts, no harness (he never had one as far as I know--climbed on a bowline or a swami belt), nothing more. He reassured his young protoge that whatever extra gear was needed we would find on our hike up--which we did--a variety of small rocks. We climbed several routes that day--he led. I do not remember the routes but I remember one was something only recently freed (perhaps by Tom McGee, but not sure of that), so in that time that meant at least 5.9, more likely 5.10 (Ron's cutting edge at that time was solid 5.11). I distinctly remember belaying as he would get to someplace where he could free a hand, pull a rock out of his pocket, work it into the crack, whip a sling off his shoulder, girth hitch the rock, clip it and move on. Over the time I climbed with him that happened not infrequently. He was living in Spokane at the time so we bouldered and top ropped at Minnehaha on several occasions. I recall several times him setting up some top rope anchors just that way and taking falls (on TR to be sure), never seeming to be worried.

Because he was seemingly always on the verge of being broke, he climbed (at least for awhile) in some old Kronhoeffers with the side split out--he had big feet. Compared to today's shoes that is probably a two number grade difference (i.e., the difference between 5.10 and 5.12). My first shoes were Kronhoeffers I got at a Spokane Mountaineers used equipment sale--I dumped them as soon as I could.

He was physically strong, but he was really strong mentally. He was gentle, kind, and patient with beginners and a great role model. He had guts and courage, but to my knowledge he never bragged on himself. Physically he bore a slight resemblance to Chuck Pratt--premature balding, strong as a ox, quiet, loads of conviction and courage--little or no ego invested in the game. He was quiet and tended to give credit to his partners. He liked climbing at Chimney Rock in the late summer so that he could combine climbing with picking huckleberries--like some big black bear gorged on berries with juice running down his chin, smiling. If one checks the guidebooks for Index, Leavenworth, Chimney Rock, etc., one sees his name--usually there is a 5.10 after the name.

The last I heard he and Cindy had moved back to the Seattle area. I lost touch with him in the late 1970s. So the idea of a slung belay on Mary Jane Dihedral is pure Ron Burgner all the way--I could see him now doing that with not a care in the world.

Peace, and hope you benefitted from a true story about one of the Pacific Northwest's original hardmen.

 

Cheers,

 

Bob Loomis, Spokane, Washington

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Dear Stevetimetravir,

 

Absolutely--you are correct--good catch! Just got history and names momentarily mixed up in my mind--evidence of creeping old age if you needed one :-) . I did mean Jim Madsen--my wife will be glad you corrected me since he was a college boyfriend to her. Baldwin was another PNW pioneer. But what I stated about Jim Madsen comes straight from her--so blame her if this description of him is in error :-).

 

Cheers,

 

Bob Loomis, Spokane, Washington

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Wow, thanks for the awesome story Bob!

It is gems like this that make this board worthwhile.

 

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Bob, thanks for a terrific story.

 

What do you think about my question of whether a different location might be better for that belay? I found the old spot uncomfortable and I don't remember what I was thinking but at the time I thought there might be several reasons to set up lower.

 

If you placed bolts at a new location rather than simply building an anchor there its starting to smell like retrobolting, though.

 

Mattp, I think if you lowered the anchor, it would have to be below the top crux on the first pitch, which is probably the only reasonable place, making it a pretty short pitch. That would then mean you start the next pitch with a crux move and keep all the more difficult climbing in the second MJ pitch rather than split it more evenly between the two. Also, there's enough rope drag on that pitch as it is, and if you move the belay lower it'll create yet another point of directional change in the rope, further increasing the drag.

On top of that, you'd still need to replace the old belay bolts, because there isn't really a reasonable protection option there (otherwise, why would there be bolts), so you'd have to clip the old bolts on lead. Just seems to make more sense to replace the old bolts and keep the belay at the same spot, which would also avoid the retro-bolting concern.

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Valhallas,

 

Good points. I don't remember rope drag being an issue but I didn't lead that pitch so I can't comment on that particular matter. I just remember hanging at that belay and thinking: this sucks -- and I wondered whether stopping below that "top crux on the second pitch" might have been a better idea.

 

As to the retro-bolting question, it sounds to me as if the belay bolts are very likely retro-bolts. There is some possibility that the chockstone may have been the original pro and maybe the FA party belayed here; maybe not. Does anybody have any information about this?

 

I've only climbed the route once and I am not advocating for any particular action here. I am just wondering...

 

If somebody goes up there with a crowbar and drill kit and is intending to replace the belay bolts and looks carefully and concludes that the belay is not in the "right" place, would it be a good idea to move it? (Up or down or left?) Or replace only one of the old bolts and expect climbers to know where the "better" place is that might be a gear belay rather than the obvious 2-bolt hanging belay? Or publish their "recommendations?" Or ???

 

I think these are questions that anybody replacing bolts might consider.

 

Thanks, Bob, for the history.

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Dear All,

 

As I was keying in my short bit of history yesterday during my lunch break at work something was nagging in the back of my mind about Jim Madsen's death on El Cap in 1968, but ignoring the voice in my head I kept keying in my words. I awoke this morning recognising the voice. I stated yesterday that Jim died as part an ill-fated (and as it turned out un-needed) rescue from the top of the Salathe Wall. I was wrong, it was from the top of the Dihedral Wall (hope I am right this time, otherwise this is going to get embarassing). My apologies if anyone felt mislead--not my intent.

Also one of my co-workers is a guy whose first name is Rodney, thus the nic-name "Rod." In my story there are a few times when I keyed in "Rod" meaning "Ron." Again I apologize for not proofing my work more carefully before submitting.

We are all fortunate in life if we encounter someone who helps us with our life's journey. That mentor can mean a lot. I am fortunate. I have had some good teachers and mentors. For a brief period in my life as a young, impressionable climber, Ron was an encouraging mentor. He saw potential in me as a climber when I did not necessarily see it yet in myself. His encouragement was the main reason I made an early trip to Yosemite--he told me that is where I would hone my crack climbing skills and find adventure--which was true. I have tried to "pay it forward" by mentoring a few times over the intervening decades, but I doubt I was as successful as he.

The thing I might leave you with about Ron was the part I mentioned in a prior post. At least during the times I shared a rope with him (I was a minor climbing partner in the waning years of his climbing career so I am not claiming to be authoriative--just my limited knowledge) he really walked the talk about it (climbing) not being an ego based activity. When we climbed I got the impression he was deeply at peace with himself--he radiated a certain "calm." I got the sense that climbing was just fun for him and a way to deepen his understanding of himself and the mystery of life.

Toward the end of the 1970s as I was getting more into climbing, he was withdrawing from climbing. I think he and Cindy were tired of living on the financial edge and he wanted a regular income with some financial security. He was older, and was exploring and finally did become a Christian, so his church was becoming a bigger part of his life.

I think part of the reason his climbing was minimalist, ex.,using threaded chockstones, swami belt, etc. (aside from never seeming to have much money), was the climbing philosophy of the time which was a mixture of and placed an empahsis on: a) climbers being stewards of the environment (tread lightly--keep your impact on the rock to a minimum); b) boldness, purity of style, "character-based" climbing--how you climbed said something about the person you were; and c) honoring his trailblazers--Robbins, Bonatti, Brown, Pratt, etc., would have been his influences, plus the use of threaded chockstones on lead, etc., goes all the way back to Mummery or perhaps earlier.

I suppose I am just rambling a bit but perhaps out there, there is a younger climber or two who wants to know a bit about the lives of some of the people who helped blaze the trail for the rest of us. I think he would be pleased to know that something he did over 40 years ago is still of interest to the current generation of climbers.

 

Peace and Cheers to all,

 

Bob Loomis, Spokane, Washington

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