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pope

IT'S A SANBAG, SON.

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What's the biggest sandbag around? What single pitch punched you right off your proud pedestal and left looking for some fatherly guy to say, "Here, kid, have a lifesaver."?

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I'm new to rock climbing and my experience is very limited. Having said that I say this "The Hammer" at Brouton Bluff kicked my...! I attempted the crux until I almost ripped the skin off my fingers. I then regrouped and tried one more time later; Hammer 2, me zero! The people I was with said the route is MUCH harder than the grade (5.7). Since I flashed The Sickle at 5.8 I'm inclined to agree. That's my rookie input.

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The Hammer is only a sandbag when compared to new sport climbs. When compared to other climbs at the same area ; Classic Crack, Sesame Street, Gandalf's Grip, Shear Stress and others at Broughtons and Beacon, it fits in fairly well. Look at it this way, if you can learn to handle 5.7s like the Hammer you won't be spanked when you travel and run into the same kind of thing somewhere else.

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Five pitches come to mind right away:

Trial by Fire - 5.8 in the Church Bowl, Yosemite. A flared squeeze chimney with a hand-fist stack crack in the back. Felt like about 5.10 the day I was on it, but it was about 100 degrees too. Probably realistically it is 5.8 if you're tuned on valley chimneys and smeary stuff.

A 5.7 Royal Robbins route at Josh right on the edge of the Hidden Valley CG, it's this weird right-angling crack over kinda near Mama/Papa Woolsey. Completely weird, terribly off-balance. CAlled Toe-Jam maybe? I can't remember.

Pitch 3 of the Kor-Ingalls on Castleton. The infamous 5.9 offwidth sandbag. I'd say the face sequence when the crack pinches (before the real offwidthing starts) is probably 5.10 with the offwidth probably being 5.10 too. No problem though, just toss in that #4 Big-Bro and layback the whole damn section.

Pitch 1 of the same (K-I) is rated like 5.4 or something, but it's a grunter squeeze chimney, feels a good bit harder.

The 5.9 face pitch of Royal Arches (where the pendo is if you bypass the crux). Easily 5.10 in my opinion.

Hey Pope-on-a-Rope hows about a thread on the biggest overrated routes?

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Check out the flared chimney on Aries, at Index. I've seen people who lead 5.11 sport routes whimper and retreat from it. Unless you are a truly bold trad climber who specializes in such things, I bet you won't think it is 5.8!

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Sandbag #1: Pitch 5 of Swim on Upper Town Wall.

I've tried it two different days and never even got up the thing, let alone getting it clean. Stopped at bolt number 3 on try one. I know other people who have tried, it, all strong climbers, stopped at the same bolt.

It's just barely less than vertical to vertical. Bolt three involves (as I recall) a sick reach and/or mantle.

One of my prouder achievements (sadly . . . ) is that on the second try I got two bolts further than anyone else I know. At bolt five, it's the same angle, but you are hanging out on dime edges. Literally no bigger than the edge of a quarter - hands and feet.

I would guess that once someone figures out the technique, it probably doesn't take any more strength than what it is rated, but I sure couldn't do it. Of course the upshot of this post is that I'll find out how many people got further than me and there goes any sense of achievement, I'll probably have to head back up . . .

Sandbag #2:

The "fourth class ledges" above the pocket glacier approaching Slesse's Toe bypass. (At least when wet.)

Sandbag #3:The short steep section on Giant's Tears (Not sure of the name - It's the other climb listed in Selected Cascade Climbs on the Green Gian Buttress beside's Dreamer). I followed that one and couldn't even pull the moves.

Hmmmm . . . These are all less than vertical to slightly less than vertical. Wonder if there's a connection . . .

Matt

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Will strickland:

The Joshua Tree route you're talking about is "Buissonier." Definitely STIFF for 5.7 (like many JT routes).Kind of a barn-door sort of affair all the way up -- but the pro is definitely great, all the way.

Many 5.7's at JT were put up in the old days, and are harder than 5.9's at JT that were put up later.

 

My sandbag pick: Bale-Kramar on Careno Crag. WAY HARD for 5.10b or whatever they call it. The "boulder problem" start is quite thin, and the crux crack is awkward, balancy, and strenuous to adequately protect in a few spots near the ground. In short, way harder than nearby climbs also rated 5.10.

Steve

 

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quote:

Originally posted by mattp:

Check out the flared chimney on Aries, at Index. I've seen people who lead 5.11 sport routes whimper and retreat from it. Unless you are a truly bold trad climber who specializes in such things, I bet you won't think it is 5.8!

Ditto on that one! I would say that if you have flawless flaring, overhanging offwidth technique this would be a 5.8! This climb sticks out as one of the most awkward I have ever tried.

 

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Second that on Josh routes. At many, the first one or two moves aren't rated and the first clip is often 12 feet off the ground.

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I second the Aries chimney as a sandbag at 5.8, and definitely agree that the boulder start of the BK route is harder than 5.9.

I don't know if it would be a sandbag to everyone or if it was just me that day, but let me take you back to a day a couple years back, on a sunny day, in the month of May...

I'd climbed Davis-Holland-> Lovin' Arms and felt all proud (led, onsighted, the odds). Even though we'd been out of water for the last 3 hours or so we still wanted to climb something else and thought we'd go against all the bad press and try "The Back Road".

I nearly soiled my pants on the first "5.8" move. Only made it after excavating a new hold from below the moss. I wimpered on the following paper-thin flake. Then I got up to those zig-zag (5.7) flakes and could not pull over on the last move. After a couple of tries I was trashed and resorted to shameless aiding.

Maybe I was trashed from the last climb and/or the lack of water. Maybe that pitch really is hard? I sorta doubt it.

Anyway, at the belay, I say, "That first move sure was hard for a 5.8!" My supportive partner replies, "It wasn't that hard".

Chuck

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Mattp – You bring up a good point with regard to ratings. I lead the Aries Chimney when a 5.9 lead took all day to get psyched up for and cams weren’t around. In the last few weeks I lead several sport climbs in good style in the 5.11 range yet (head hung low as I write this) I grabbed pieces on every 5.9 traditional lead I attempted last weekend. One of the greatest things about climbing is the diversity of skills and experiences available. The ironic aspect is that as I have climbed less and less my decreased overall skill level encourages me to climb routes with a higher YDS difficulty that require a narrow skill set. (ie sport routes!) This is of course exacerbated by the general trend for soft rating on many of these routes as well.

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I third that opinion on the Aries flaring crack thing. I led that last month for the first time and I didn't whimper, but I did yell a blue streak. The next set of moves under the roof made it all worth it though.

Also Whodunit at Taqhuitz, add a number grade onto every pitch and you are about right.

miker

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quote:

Originally posted by Peter Puget:

Mattp – You bring up a good point with regard to ratings. I lead the Aries Chimney when a 5.9 lead took all day to get psyched up for and cams weren’t around. In the last few weeks I lead several sport climbs in good style in the 5.11 range yet (head hung low as I write this) I grabbed pieces on every 5.9 traditional lead I attempted last weekend.

 

Sport Captain mentality.

Team Gander Mtn Director and members of the KTK were just talking about this stuff at the sport crag this morning wink.gif I was talking about a pouter that got spanked out in Tieton this weekend. Apparently the guy thinks he can climb 5.11 bolts but groveled and lowered of the 5.8 crack I did tongue.gif

 

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quote:

Originally posted by Cpt.Caveman:

Poor technique homey! The problem with the offwidths is that everyone avoids them at the crags most of the time. Then when they do them they got no technique which goes a long way. Also which way you face when climbing is critical.. I say if you are bad at offwidths go do some laps on Damnation Crack and something like Battered Sandwich for starters. I have semi poor technique on them but this year I have been working on them. I often find that even though an armbar or something feels in secure I later toprope and test it finding that it is rather secure to move up on. Plus when climbing OW you usually get bomber cams that are better than anything you can ask for.

Yeah I'm gonna work on that. I just got the new Offwidth model hangboard by Metolius for my room. Problem is it's about 10' feet high and is made from about 400lbs of plastic. I'll get it to fit though godammit!

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quote:

Originally posted by jblakley:

Yeah I'm gonna work on that. I just got the new Offwidth model hangboard by Metolius for my room. Problem is it's about 10' feet high and is made from about 400lbs of plastic. I'll get it to fit though godammit!

 

Right on Sport captain! Work on that chickenwing and heel toe while you are at it. Metolius is a killer company. Maybe they will make a model of the Pressure Chamber from Hyperspace so I can practice my alpine grovelling technique! Yippee! Now wouldn't that put the gyms out of business?

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Did a 5.4 at JTree called Penelopes walk. Had a 10 foot overhanging fist crack with a smooth concave underside. I suppose Wilt Chamberlain woulda had some good feet... Pitch 5 on Swim I know the spot. There used to be a sharp crystal I would impale my middle finger on to pull myself up. It ain't there anymore. How about the start of Zoom or the 5.10 on the right side of R&B cliff at Index.

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Speaking of yosemite . . .

Two words: Braille Book. CRAZY HARD for 5.8, thought I was gonna pitch off that thing, ended up backing off one pitch like a whimpering child.

Finished it in the dark, though, cruising the section called "knob mania" by moonlight. Pretty cool route, but HARD for the rating.

Anyone agree???

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Some more sandbags:

Thin redline--pitch 1

Carnival Crack in Leavenworth. Harder than 5.11ow's or squeezes in Yosemite or Squamish that I've lead.(and I like shoving my lame wretched carcass into the wide stuff).

Swim- Index. Also- most of the sport routes at the upper town wall have been lost to the black lichen these daysand are harder then they once were. Nobody wants to do the same crimp for every hold on 85 degree slabs.

 

 

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Will, you want a thread listing climbs with inflated grades? Couldn't that be achieved by scanning the guide book to that I-90 cliff?

I've got to agree with comments about J-Tree and Yosemite. After a couple of trips down there, you have to question all of these guys who think Index is a tough place (for a given grade). I mean, these are completely different styles of climbing, but take Pressure Drop, an Index 5.11a (joke), and compare it to Midterm on Arch Rock (5.10a). Maybe I've got to quit going down there in August..maybe those slick walls aren't so bad in cooler temperatures.

[This message has been edited by pope (edited 09-06-2001).]

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of the many classic climbs I've thought underrated when compared with Yosemite "representatives", I'd give the grand prize to the Durrance Crack on Devils Tower. At 5.6, I found it substantially more difficult than the Bastille Crack in Eldorado Canyon, which I've heard has been uprated in the ensuing years. Had it been climbed in the eighties, instead of in the thirties, it probably would have been rated 5.8...

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Aries is easy if you've got some technique. What about Easter Overhang rated 5.9. Now there is a climb that can kick a few asses.

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Alpine, that's one of my favorite pitches in Washington. I've seen a guide that calls it 5.10c, but I think the truth is some place in the middle. Anyway, when I was a kid, I watched a guy climb it from the top of Castle Rock. When he worked out to the jugs at the end of the roof, he cut loose his feet and hung from what appeared to be fist jams, swinging wildly like a monkey. I was so impressed by this spectacle; when I finally climbed it, it was every bit as cool as I imagined it to be.

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quote:

Originally posted by goatboy:

Will strickland:

The Joshua Tree route you're talking about is "Buissonier." Definitely STIFF for 5.7 (like many JT routes).Kind of a barn-door sort of affair all the way up -- but the pro is definitely great, all the way.

Steve

Yeah, that's the one alright, not any hard pulling, but just awkward as hell. Everyone I saw on that thing while we were camped there took a LONG time leading it and it's only maybe 50 or 60'. I guess most of the J-tree routes went up in the winter when everyone was dialed from a summer in Yosemite, hence the solid ratings.

Another route at Josh I felt was a little stiff was Blue Nubian, rated 10b I think. I was not psyched pulling the crux on the filthy, cheese grater tips crack. Almost pitched just to get out of the pain it was inflicting. It's probably right on for the grade when it's clean, but I don't think it had been climbed in a long time when I led it. (If you ever do this thing, take a 3.5 and 4 camalot to build an achor at the top)

Hell, the Right Ski track on Intersection had an eye-opening bouldery sequence on it down low, probably not a sandbag, but there's definitely a better sequence than what I used.

The worst 'bagging I've encountered is not from ratings, but from other climbers confusing lines or a topo showing a crux somewhere it isn't. Again at Josh, there's a 5.9 crack to a chimney on the back of the Old Woman, it's called Orphan or something like that. Topo shows the crux in the hand/finger crack. I cruised up the crack started up the chimney and soon found myself bagged, it didn't help that I managed to back-clip a cam at the crux and got to climb the crux, downclimb it, then climb it again all wondering when I was gonna grease out of the chimney. My first time at Broughton I had led several pitches and was looking to finish the day off with one more pitch. The girl I was there with suggested Classic crack. "It's easy 5.8" she said. I start up, get about halfway and begin wondering why the jams are so shallow and then I miss the face holds out left altogether. I get up the thing thinking, Damn! I'm outta shape big time, only to get to the ground and watch her crank the face holds, a quick guidebook consultation confirmed my suspicion - 5.9+

I guess we could all just do first ascents and get out of that problem.

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Yosemite, N.E. Buttress of Higher Cathedral Rock - IV, 5.9

This climb kicked my butt. I thought this climb would be a cruiser and instead I was beaten to a pulp. There is a 5.6 traverse down low that totally freaked me out. Up higher on the route I remember this chimney with a crack in the back. There were tons of cams stuck in it and all I could do was stuff, clip and go, just like the rest of 'em. I consider myself a trad climber and enjoy chimneys but the chimneys on this thing just go on and on. This is not a forearm pumper-- it's a total body work out. IMHO this is 5.10, but as a non resident of the valley everything is harder than it's rated.

I've done the Kor-Ingalls on Castleton. I remember it being hard, but think the NE Butt of UC is a full grade harder.

Royal Arches is such a fine route. Mmm. I grabbed the webbing on the pendulumn.

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