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best of cc.com [TR] Incredible Hulk - Positive Vibrations 9/3/2012

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Trip: Incredible Hulk - Positive Vibrations

 

Date: 9/3/2012

 

Trip Report:

 

I concluded a really fun six week summer road trip with this stellar route. I’d done it before in 2009 but it is worth doing again and again.

 

Jed and I met up in Reno, I was driving from the Tetons where my wife and I had just had a blast climbing the Exum Ridge and Irene's Arete. Jed flew in from Chicago. We got our permit early the next morning and we made the hike in to the base in two hours from Twin Lakes.

 

Hulkamania:

 

IncredibleHulk_2012_01.jpg

 

We had enough time that we really could have done the Red Dihedral that afternoon but I figured we’d want to be feeling pretty fresh for the PV.

 

Jed started us off the next morning at first light, climbing awkward cracks with a distinct 10a crux passing a small roof.

I fired us up the next pitch, a short 10c tips splitter and some easy but runout face climbing that gains two bolts on a nice belay ledge.

 

First pitch:

IncredibleHulk_2012_02.jpg

 

 

Jed continued up the 5.8 corner above, then across the delicate traverse which ends with a somewhat spicy, but short, sideways 5.11a sequence to gain a handjam, then a jughaul to the belay, another pair of bolts.

 

Beginning of pitch 3. The crux traverse is just above the roofs.

 

IncredibleHulk_2012_03.jpg

 

Pitch 4 is 5.10c and is a great stemming and bridging corner, with two distinct bulges. Gear is anywhere you want it. I passed a set of bolts and continued up a thin and tenuous finger crack in a corner with a hard stem and crack switch right at the end, a long 50 meter pitch.

 

Jed following p4:

 

IncredibleHulk_2012_04.jpg

 

Jed took us up a fantastic pitch towards the prow of the Hulk’s west face. Multiple cracks lead to a single crack which begins wide and tapers to thin hands, a rather awkward and strenuous section that felt a little harder than the 10a rating would suggest, but soon gives way to an extended section of splitter hands.

 

Pitch 5:

 

IncredibleHulk_2012_05.jpg

 

I now tackled the crux pitch which begins in a smooth corner with intricate stemming and some pretty dicey gear; suspect tiny cams (incl. #000 and #00 C3’s), a mishmash of rp’s, and the need for long slings due to having to protect mainly in the crack on the left wall. Just after I got the gear arranged and started going for it, my foot skated and I whipped onto an HB brass nut and blew the redpoint. After a unnerving runout to the roof where you can finally get some good gear, I continued past burly underclings with crispy feet into a steep, sustained, and incredible crack that passes a bulge on thin hands. A little unnerved from the fall, I dogged it a bit through here until I got my mojo back, and then continued on up in better style as the crack becomes a stellar finger jamming extravaganza on an open wall with incredible exposure. Due to rope drag (and being a bit worked) I made a belay at a small stance just below the 5.11 crux. Up to here the pitch rates 5.10d although I thought overall it is much harder (due to being physical and sustained) than the next section of technical 5.11a fingers.

 

Jed coming up p6:

 

IncredibleHulk_2012_07.jpg

 

I led us past the 11a thin fingers and face sequence passing a wildly exposed overhang with a ton of air beneath the feet! I pressed the pitch another 15 meters higher and belayed below the next set of splitters.

 

Jed leaving the belay to start following the 11a section. Exposure and beautiful rock!

 

IncredibleHulk_2012_08.jpg

 

The next pitch begins with steep, strenuous fingers and thin hands, giving way to another incredible hand crack. The angle lets off but then the pitch gets harder, with a difficult face move to the next crack right, then cranking hard up a sustained off fingers jam crack that never seems to let up. At the end, make an improbable step down and left to gain a great belay ledge. 5.10d.

 

Jed in Splitterville:

 

IncredibleHulk_2012_11.jpg

 

It just stays awesome. The next pitch can go to the very top if you have a 70 meter rope and a lot of endurance and don’t mind spacing your pro, a lot. I took it only 40 meters before I wimped out and belayed; I was low on hand sized gear and our rope was a 60m. The corner starts easily enough but becomes sustained 5.10b hand and fist jamming up a very steep corner and past a roof. A short distance above the roof I made a belay in the crack system at a blockier area, about 10-15’ right of a solitary bolt on the prow that makes no sense.

 

Jed took us to the ridge from here, moving to the right and climbing another phenomenal finger, thin hands, then hands, hands, hands crack!!!

 

Last pitch on the wall:

 

IncredibleHulk_2012_12.jpg

 

From here, if you don’t plan to rappel Venturi Effect (70 meter rope mandatory) continue along the ridge- not entirely trivial. Apparently you can stay right on the crest and go through a chimney between flakes, but both times I’ve now stayed down and left. This is not entirely straightforward and is rather dirty and loose. After a couple ropelengths of “mostly” 4th and low 5th you join the Red Dihedral for the final 5.8 crack and the classic wormhole exit onto a bench just below the top.

 

Jed coming on through:

 

IncredibleHulk_2012_13.jpg

 

Jed on the summit, psyched:

 

IncredibleHulk_2012_14.jpg

 

This route is at least as good as the Rostrum, maybe better because it is up in the mountains, and it’s longer. The rock is flawless, if the pictures don’t already demonstrate. Go do this thing. If it’s super windy at the base, consider another route- the upper part of the route is extremely exposed as it is right on or near the prow.

 

The next day we got a more civilized start and ran up the Red Dihedral, the third time I had done this classic. Not quite as quality as the PV, but this is sort of like saying, for example, Seasoned in the Sun in Squamish isn’t as good as Exasperator. Do them both. Now.

 

IncredibleHulkRD2011_04.jpg

 

Gear Notes:

Set of stoppers including rp’s, long slings. Double rack of cams from tiny stuff (#000 or grey tcu) to #3 BD camalot, with triples from 0.3 BD to #2. Nothing bigger than a #3 needed. Could avoid some of the triples perhaps, but most pitches are quite long so you either would have to break them up more, or run it out a fair bit. 70 meter rope could be useful especially if wanting to rap Venturi Effect. I’ve heard that rope hangup can be an considerable issue if choosing that course.

 

 

Approach Notes:

Climbers trail seems to get better by the year. Supertopo beta is out of date, there’s now a good log crossing and no wading in swamps is needed. Trail begins climbing the slope well to the looker’s left of the canyon entrance, then eventually traverses into the canyon. 2-3 hours from Twin Lakes. Bikes are NOT ALLOWED any longer on the initial part of the trail.

 

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Just did this route in August and was impressed at how sustained it is! Nice work you two. That crux pitch is something else! The chimney on the summit ridge is not to missed... it's a horizontal chimney for 80 feet? which then takes a 90 degree turn and bombeys up. Simply awesome and not a gimme! Adds more to the climb for sure! Where are you off to next Mark? I'm in Boulder right now (benkunz here).

 

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Nice TR! That granite looks stellar.

 

I looked over that direction the other day while knocking choss-blocks off the north arete of The Matterhorn. Beautiful area up there...and pretty impressive how much High Sierra Choss exists just a mile or so away from The Hulk. The Matterhorn made me feel like I was back at home in the Monte Cristo Range...

 

Seriously, though. Nice pics.

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great report. makes me want to climb it again. perhaps tack on some the neighboring routes...such an incredible chunk of alpine rock.

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Just did this route in August and was impressed at how sustained it is! Nice work you two. That crux pitch is something else! The chimney on the summit ridge is not to missed... it's a horizontal chimney for 80 feet? which then takes a 90 degree turn and bombeys up. Simply awesome and not a gimme! Adds more to the climb for sure! Where are you off to next Mark? I'm in Boulder right now (benkunz here).

 

Hey Ben!

Yeah, think I'll do the chimney finish next time...the way I've gone both times is dirty and loose- not very hard mostly, except there is one boulder problem involving a rather hard pull and then mantling into a pile of very loose shit, with no way to protect the fall, which is back onto a ledge...not good.

 

I'm in Yosemite now, Utah mid October to mid November, maybe see you in the desert if you come down!

 

 

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