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[TR] Lion's Head - Lion Tamer 10/1/2012


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Trip: Lion's Head - Lion Tamer


Date: 10/1/2012


Trip Report:


Brian and I climbed Lion Tamer on Monday. We had been up last week, but took the long approach and didn't have time to do the route, so just climbed the chimney pitch and bailed. At the time, I found the first pitch a bit spooky with some hollow flakes and committing moves in the top section. This time, it seemed quite safe, and it's definitely a bit cleaner, as we trundled lots of the loose stuff. Still a good idea to climb with caution on the first pitch, but the rock improves greatly for the rest of the route.


Lion Tamer cuts a striking line up the middle of the imposing north face of Lion’s Head. It seems the 5.10b/c grade is right on, but it definitely feels spicy in a couple spots due to position, protection, or balancy, funky movement. Rarely are you jamming up a vertical, continuous crack, but the climbing is always varied and interesting. I think the route is really starting to clean up nicely. Friends that climbed it earlier in the year ran into some wet rock, but we found the entire route dry and pretty clean.


We camped on a bench high in the talus field, just minutes below the route, finding a perfect tent site with water, great views, and decent wind protection.


It’s a great route, and you should head up and do it!


Here are pu’s notes, which seemed pretty accurate, with some additional notes:

1. 55M of 8 and 9 Chimney climbing. The 9 chimney protects well and is a tad easier than the Stanley Burgner chimney but it has a way more dramatic finish with a 10 hand crack exit and a couple more 10 boulder moves to the belay.

**belay is obvious- 3 pitons with slings and a couple rap rings (top piton is loose, but the other two are bomber)


2. Goes straight up the obvious groove and has a nice 9 layback at the end that deposits you on an ample ledge.

**Look for slings on trees, your choice of a couple good belay spots.


3. takes you up some more wide but awesome 9 maneuvers and puts you directly into some 10 thin hands and laybacks. After this little crux another 50 or so feet of 8 will set you on a giant mossy ledge.


4. Fun 9 laybacking up a wide crack to an awkward mantle. Some easy face climbing and a finish behind a wide flake.

** We combined pitch 3 and 4


5. Laird describes this as easy climbing on ramps. Kittel calls it 10 fingers and a 10 hand traverse. I agree with Kittel. Climb the easy chimney. Go straight up a thin open book with 10 maneuvering. Exit left via a hand traverse, more 10. Zig back right to a large mossy belay.

** I found the thin crack in the open book to be the crux of the whole route. from that point, It looks very hard overhead, but move a little higher and you see a perfect, bomber hand rail traversing left under the roof.


6. Now an easy exit right will get you close to the top. Low fifth.

** From the large ledge belay, there is an easy corner topped by a dirty, loose-looking 10-ish off-width that exits the big roof directly overhead. I recommend going up the corner 15 feet or so, then look for the easy hidden ramp around the corner to the right. Walk 30 feet right along the ramp, look around another corner, and you’ll see easy slabs with one pitch of low fifth scrambling to the summit.


Descent is due south via two slabby raps with one 60.

** First rap station is in a bunch of trees directly over the South Face Slab route.

To find 2nd rap station, drop directly down the South Face. with 10 m of rope left, you’ll rap over a bulge, land on a small ledge and scramble back up 8 feet to slings and a big cable around a good-sized tree.

From the base, look for the easy ramp that will take you up to the West shoulder. From here, there is another easy ramp down the North Face that will take you almost to the base of the route.



Gear Notes:

-single set of C3's from 0 to 3

-double set of C4's from .4 to 3

**We did not feel a #4 was necessary, and I did sew up the crux sections.

-Brought a set of nuts, but used them only a couple of times.

-10 alpine draws

-2 double length slings

-one 60m rope


**snow field at the base is not an issue this late in the season, but according to Zickler, an ax may be handy in early season.


Approach Notes:

Follow the pink flagging up the hill, but only for a few minutes. That route will take you too high and you'll travel over a lot of extra ground.

It's almost twice the vertical, twice the distance, and twice the time.


From the hairpin turn on Road 44, follow the ATV trail until the flagged climbers path takes off uphill to the left (obvious, about a 5 minute walk). At one point, the trail will go straight up the creek bed. Soon after this section, watch for a large tree across the path. Turn right before the tree. We travelled uphill for 13 min. (at an easy pace) to the turn. It's not obvious, so look carefully.

Now follow the somewhat overgrown, but good climbers trail, it will trend right and uphill for about ten minutes, then contour toward Lion's Head. You will lose the trail 3 or 4 times where trees have fallen across, but you'll find it again within 50 feet, just look a few yards uphill for the continuation of the trail.


Edited by coldiron
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