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[TR] Chimney Rock - West Face Direct. West Side Girls (TR) 9/9/2012


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Trip: Chimney Rock - West Face Direct. West Side Girls (TR)


Date: 9/9/2012


Trip Report:

Did the west face direct yesterday with Dave Fulton. Good fun route right up the center of the west face. It's a little different than the usual lie back stuff on chimney. There's a short bit of off width and chimney type action. It protects well and is lots of fun. I suggest you bring a standard rack and one #4 friend or equivalent. RP's proved useful.

On the way down we TR'd west side girls and twin cracks. I thought maybe a lead of west side girls would be sweet. The book suggests thin gear. I have lead on thin gear before. The book should say attempting to place gear is a waste of your time. Dave informed me that Burns "lead" aka free soloed this puppy with Dufford and Purdy way back when. Although it is fairly secure when PROPERLY stemmed it is committing. Good on ya Dane.

Also, It appears the recent rock fall activity took out Black Cat and possibly the top of Bergs Breeze. Greystoke ledge has a fuck ton of death cookies on it that could stand to be trundled. Too much hiker traffic yesterday for us to safely mitigate that hazard.

All in all it was another spectacular day at Chimney Rock. Perfect weather and some good theater. Go get it before it falls down.




Gear Notes:

RP's to #4 Friend.


Approach Notes:

West side hike. Easy.

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Fulton (yes the international AWARD winning film producer now know only as Mr. Fulton) high in the corner photo below. Crux imo is right off the ground in the corner although there are two other bits of 5.8 above the corner on the next pitch. Bomber, drop in, nut (or so-so cam) placement 3/4 way up the corner on the outside (left) just before you pull out of the corner.




Funny Randy and I argued about that rating when Randy, Jay Koopsen and I sat down and rated all the harder climbs for that guide (the second btw) in my GF's living room. We settled for a published 5.9-. Lets not start changing the previous published ratings or forget the +/- designations. They were origianlly added for a reason. Laird simply copied our original published ratings for the most part including the -. All but one of the 5.11s on Chimney were my ratings as I was the only one to have done all of them at the time. To be really accurate it was more a comparison of difficulty than letter ratings. Not a lot of folks doing trad .11s bitd. The ones I knew got dragged to Chimney any chance I had;) Bigger or smaller hands/forearms would change a number of the ratings. Super skinny fingers would likely make Illusions, 5.9. Fat fingers and it might make .11+.


Ron Burgner (ya *THAT* Burgner, .11d in 1969 at Index and the FA of the S Face of Prussik, 1968, 5.9, among others) and Thom Nephew (Ron's early '70's, .11 Yosemite/Selkirk partner) called WFD 5.8 the day before I did it in '73. Roskelley rated WFD 5.8 in his "Off Belay" guide in 1972 previously. And the East Face 5.9 in the same guide. Easy comparison to those two today is Damnation crack on Castle rock...early 5.8 (FFA 1960) now up graded to 5.9 as well. FFA of Damnation was done by TM Herbert and Ed Cooper.


Just to mess with ya some more...Ron Burgner and Jim Madsen did the FFA of Easter Overhang on Midnight in 1967. Just above Damnation in the Canyon. It was still rated 5.9 when I first climbed it in 1977 on hexs. Damn hard 5.9 in 1977! And I had done a lot of 5.10s in the Valley by then. It is rated solid 5.10c today. And nothing has changed except sticky rubber and the fact it is way, way easier to protect with cams now.


All of those involved on these FFAs had done a bunch of 5.9 cracks in Yosemite prior to the climbs on Chimney.


Just for the sake of discussion. I always thought W. F. Direct was harder than the Cooper-Hiser technically. Just way, way less exposure and better pro in the right places on WFD.


The interesting part to me is just a perception having climbed Damnation, WFD and the Cooper Hiser all in the same summer of '73 and many, many times since. I think they rate (rated) in difficulty in that order, the most difficult, Damnation, then WFD and finally Cooper-Hiser. No question Dihedral at Minne is harder than any of them technically. But the Cooper-Hiser was a big step up in mental commitment from the other two.


Not unusual to have the first guy to "print" sway a generation or two on ratings. Or a little friendly competition between FFA parties to define what is "harder".


FWIW there was some serious ratings talk between friends when we did WFD last summer (2011). The 5.10a number got bantered about a LOT ;-) 5.10b was discussed and dismissed.


No question when I look back at all the rock I have done over the years, WFD was my first, real, technical rock climb. Full value then and now FWIW. But still 5.8 and enough of it to keep your attention.


Bottom line at Chimney? It is a hour or so walk in, the climbs are fun, generally well protected and not always as easy these days as the "old school" rating might indicate. It aint no gym, thank goodness.



Forgot. West Side Girls? Thanks Joe. All this talk of ratings had me pulling out the old guides. I had rated WSG .10a X. As in *no pro, you'll deck kinda X*. Some how Laird decided to change that to a "R" for seriousness. Likely I would have never done it by myself. But the peer preasure of following and shooting the photos on the 2nd of Yahoody with Max and Purdy floated me up the thing with little hesitation.


Dumb in retrospect.


I've heard stories of a minor brawl, tears and some spilt blood that happened years ago in front of the Hydra in Sandpoint over just these kinds of comments.


This splitter was even more of a shit storm or may be the real cause of the shit storm that followed ;) Something wrong in my book with people naming climbs long before they can/do climb them.




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Ah yes, the scuffle outside the Hydra. Them were the days. As far as tights Joe them's ain't even close to what we used to wear in the day but if it works for you like the #4 Friend I didn't use at the bottom of that corner than so be it ;)


The next important thing will be who will get 'that' crack on the newly remodeled east face. Not me unfortunately, I'm back in the UK and will have to get by on dreams of finger locks while racking up some gym time at the new plastic pull-down near me oddly named White Spider.

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