We have one bottom to top line established that has some of the finest granite crack climbing you're ever likely to find in the south coast range. Some of the cracks are perfect razor cut flush face cracks to rival anything on the Rostrum or Cookie cliff. The stone is remarkable clean for around here and tends to require minimal gardening or scrubbing.
I will attach a topo here but here's some beta:
Turn off Duffy lake road at NJC FSR. 150 meters later take right hand spur road. The drive in is 2WD except for the final 1/2 km at 4WD. A new trail has been cut and can be found starting at the very end of the FSR (beyond obvious creek washout). Look for yellow flagging tape and odd cairn to stay on track. It does a gradual ascending then horizontal traverse across alternating talus and slide alder on the right side of the valley. 99% of the trail is cut but take a hand saw for the final alder patch. 2 hours to base of crag. a ski pole is handy.
The climbing: The existing route is 11 pitches, all pitches being 3 star or better except for the first two. These two have a distinct mountaineering flavor and should weed out the sport twinkies. If anyone would like to do a huge community service some alternate starts look much more attractive but will likely require bolts. We stopped at the snow leading to the summit and rapped the route almost exclusively from trees. Some pitches have a fixed pin otherwise a rack of doubles to a blue ( including small greys and purples) and a single set of wires works for everything including stations. The existing route took 16 hours car to car but you can rap off from anywhere. I compare it favorably to Sunshine on Snowpatch spire!
Ethics: Nothing out of the ordinary so far. I think that bolting will have to occur at some point as many of the potential routes may wind up in cruel shoes sort of terrain. That said i suggest a minimalist approach. The stone quality is so good that i think a no bolt ethic would be silly. The other thing is if you would be so kind as to respect others projects, no matter how tempting. The only things we currently request that you stay off for now are the obvious sweet looking cracks off the main ledge at pitch 4. We have invested some scrubbing and flying time into them and would like our just deserts. Anyway theres other options.
ugh... how do you insert a photo?
Thanks for posting up about this new area of alpine rock. Sure sounds nice. And some pics would be awesome. It's not too hard. You need a web photo hosting service like Google picasa, Flickr or Phtobucket. I recommend Picasa because they make it easy to manage, email and edit your photos with an online photo editor. It also integrates nicely with gmail and other google services. Regardless they all offer some free storage space for your albums.
Once you have one of these services they have instructions on how to share or create a web link to your photo. Copy the link and paste in your post inside the Img tags (locate on the bar below the subject space when posting a new message).
I'd you have any questions let me know.
And thanks for the new route.
When you reach the top, keep climbing -- Zen proverb
The route is much bigger in person, and as Bruce says is quite good. However dont go up there expecting bolted belays and such.
The little greys and purple cams Bruce suggests to bring are the metolius kind not the BD ones, the thin pitch is as advertised; thin.
If you go I would suggest beefing up some of the raps with tat/rap rings maybe a nut or two as well.
Route finding errors and some easy bergschrund wrestling gave us a 16 hour car to car trip
The trail is an amazing amount of work, which clearly did not impress the alpine gods. They made sure to let it pour rain on the hike out so we could fully enjoy the talus fields and the remaining alder. Dont try it at night, finding the trail through the alder patches is impossible with out daylight.
we placed a couple of red flags on a couple of cracks at pitch four. We also made a foray up the "hanging flake" feature on the left side of pitch four but ground to a halt in blank features up higher.
climbing was grainy, scaley and a bit wet.
we also tried a different start up a bit in the gully to the left which goes at 5.8 or so but is hardly any improvement in quality . A higher quality start still needs to be established and there is now a fixed static line hanging roughly where it ought to go. If any one wants to work on this feel free to use the rope.
Anyway if anyone could flick the rope to the south around the arrete so it reaches the ground I would much appreciate it. If you could also note as such either here or to me directly .
Saturdays weather looks good (hint)
You guys have done a remarkable job at clearing the approach trail... and I'm sure it will continue to improve as the route becomes more popular, as I'm sure it will.
Once at the climb, we got off to a bad start. Rather than battle the snow with my rock shoes on, I tried to traverse into the route from the centre of the bottom buttress. I think I made at least 3 attempts at upward progress before I finally traversed onto the route proper. This lead to some pretty gnarly rope drag so I cut the pitch short and built a belay... great reminder of how vital it can be to start in the right place!
We ended up making 3 pitches out of the first two. Had a good laugh as the true meaning of "mountaineering flavour" became apparent. A bit of loose stuff and some tree wrestling too.
Beyond the ledge at the top of pitch two it's all pure goodness. Stellar 5.9 pitch followed by a cruxy corner and equally cruxy face crack. Should note that I clipped the suspicious looking pin near the top of the pitch 4 corner but never touched or weighted it. When my partner followed up the pitch he grabbed the pin and it pulled out effortlessly in his hand.
Made a critical route finding error near the top of this pitch. Kept following the face crack past a super scary flake with a lot of flex and built a station where the crack petered out. The actual route goes right below the small roof, but I didn't see the station until we were rapping off. By the time my partner got up to me, darker clouds had rolled in along with a chilly wind... enough for us to justify our deeper felt desire to call it a day and begin our decent.
We (over)built a masterpiece of a station to rappel down to the ledge where all the supercracks leave from. It was only once we pulled the rope that I realised that our beautiful station would likely prove very misleading for future parties... I hope the next parties read the topo better than I did and move right before ascending the face crack on P4 to its end.
BK, we flipped your static line over to where it reaches the ground and rappelled the same way. I think a direct start up that steeper wall will be fantastic.
I'll definitely be back to do this route properly. The pitch above where we stopped (P5) looks beyond good. I really think the whole area has potential to be some of the best alpine granite climbing within day-trip range of Vancouver. Well maybe one night plus one day.
Thanks for all the work you guys put into this - the approach trail in particular!
13 hours car to car (rapped after pitch 6)
Kudos on the the approach trail effort, that must have been one major pain the arse, way to leave cozy Squamish and find something new.
I would like to organize a casbc trail day up there sometime to really improve the trail
Took us 2 hours up and 1.5 hrs down.
My suggestion for pitch 1 is go right up the face and put in some bolts, there's some nice rock there, I could even be convinced to come do it/help out.
As is currently, a full 60m rope stretcher, starts up a corner crack(?)
Pitch 2 does suck, but not too many other options (maybe up the wall from the gully on the left?)Cannot get to the belay for the start of the next pitch with a 60m rope, otherwise simu or just scramble up unroped.
Pitch 3 nice 5.9 crack Ledge gear belay
Pitch 4, techy flary corner, but does take good small nuts, especially if all the pods get cleaned out, no pin required. Then straight up off hands, to hands, then bust right when approaching the roof system. Crazy traverse on the most unlikely but highly convenient holds. Fixed gear belay, partially hanging, this should be bolted IMO.
Pitch 5 blue camalots to then very small cams at the end. Bring 3 or 4 blues unless you can run it out or bump, solid 5.10 jamming. This pitch should be broken in two, there is a ledge almost exactly halfway, and would make the finish feel easier. Otherwise it's a 55m rope stretcher to a hanging tree belay. If you go a few more feet you can belay on a big ledge but the gear belay ain't great.
Pitch 6, gear protected slab climbing up a thin crack with a pin, this pitch is funky to protect and you would do well with some RP's and/or 000 C3's or equivelant.
Finally, I think a lot of the belays should be bolted. Yes, I realize it's the pine and all, but the tree's really aren't that great (kinda small). Regardless, some great climbing, and lots of potential, not bad for just off the Duffy. Thanx to Bruce and Jim et al for the efforts!
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