Wire Tap

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Optimally-Primed
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Wire Tap

Post by Optimally-Primed » Wed Sep 16, 2009 4:46 pm

Damien McCombs, Brock Wilson, and I have just finished work on a new climbing area, called Wire Tap. The area is shady and north facing (ideal mid-summer) and is located on the left side of Oleson Creek Wall, which is accessed from the upper Chief parking lot and a 10-minute hike. Wire Tap is a 5-pitch, 10a varied route (mostly crack). All stations are fixed; and one 70m rope gets you back to the packs in 4 raps.

At the base is a crag in itself, with 6 routes so far developed. All the routes are long (in the 30-35m range), almost pure crack climbing, and range from 5.8 and up. Protection on all routes is intended to be friendly to leaders who are near the edge of their comfort zone. Let us know if you have any suggestions in helping the area realize that vision.

- Two of the routes---Float like a Butterfly, Sting like a Bee & Eavesdrop---remain projects. Please respect that; we'll update the topo with grades and beta once/if we prevail.

- We will likely add an anchor at the 30m mark of the first pitch of Wire Tap, so that the first pitch (to that anchor) and Rumble in the Jungle go at 5.8. Right now, there's a 10a move at 33m height.

Here it is: DOWNLOAD A TOPO

And some eye candy:
Arriving at the base (10 mins from the parking lot). Ali Pillar with Thriller on the Pillar (10b) is behind Damien. Wire Tap and all the rest of the climbs are to the left.

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How to get there? Walk up the backside trail, and up the longest set of stairs. Most of the way up, look to your right for this sign. Take the right, and cross a bridge on the Shannon Falls trail.
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About 30m beyond the bridge, turn off the Shannon Falls trail, heading uphill (here). After a short while, pick up a flagged trail, which will lead you to the base.
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Me on Wire Tap, pitch 1. This is a cool pitch, with a full 35m of crack climbing. Most of it is 5.6 to 5.8 with a 10a sting in the tail finger crack at the end (plenty of gear). Left of the pitch I'm on is Hearsay (10b). To the right is Eavesdrop (project), Rumble in the Jungle (the blocky corner with a dark chimney... easier than it looks; 5.8 soon), and Float like a Butterfly, Sting Like a Bee (project; the overhanging face with a barely-visible finger crack)
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The memorable belay atop P2 of Wire Tap
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Pitch 3 (10a) on the first ascent of Wire Tap. Starts as a locker hand crack, then gets technical (bolts) before an interesting finish.
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Pitch 5 (5.9) and the top of the wall.
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If the weather's any good, we'll be out there this weekend, trying to send. Feel free to climb the other routes and hang out! And let us know what you think.

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Post by Axel » Wed Sep 16, 2009 7:23 pm

Awesome guys (girls)! Good on ya!! Can't wait to check it out!! Looks like you guys put a lot of work into it. Much appreciated!

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Post by smallman » Wed Sep 16, 2009 8:09 pm

i always did wonder why olsen creek had few routes. looks great for hot sunny days!

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Post by pinner » Wed Sep 16, 2009 9:01 pm

Looks fantastic Jer and crew, nice work!

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Post by Dru » Thu Sep 17, 2009 2:01 pm

That looks really good Jer.
Isn't Candle in the Rain in that area somewhere?

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Post by Optimally-Primed » Thu Sep 17, 2009 4:26 pm

Thanks for all the positive feedback. In developing a route, it's so hard to tell the quality of the rock. By the time the thing is clean, I've invested so much energy into it that I can't help but think it's the best thing since unsliced bread. So Damien, Brock, and I are looking forward to some feedback from observers less invested. Our hope is that it becomes a popular area, one of those once-a-year routes.

Dru, Candle in the Rain... don't have a guidebook in front of me. But there's a 5.9 corner route about 40m to the right of the Wire Tap area. And just right of that is an overgrown Barley route (another one of those 5.10/11, A0 lines). On the hike up, you cross a boulder field. The climbs are straight about from there. Wire Tap is another minute yet.

FYI, Wire Tap is at the very left side of the wall, in an area was previously *covered* in moss and dirt. Cleaning work was pretty intense at time. Here's a photo showing the final moss section waiting to be removed.

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Post by Optimally-Primed » Thu Sep 17, 2009 8:27 pm

Now with a guidebook in front of me...

McLane's guide, page 166, shows "Olesen Creek Bluffs - Main Wall" (the location of Wire Tap). Return of the Grim Warrior is a 4p Barley route at 11b/c, A0; and is overgrown. It rises above the boulder field on the approach. A little to the left is the one-pitch Candle in the Rain (5.9), up a pink dihedral. Wire Tap is about 40m to the left again.

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Post by dberdinka » Fri Sep 18, 2009 1:24 pm

Looks beautiful. Out of curiousity how man man/woman days of scrubbing went into that? Something tells me P5 was not always a gleaming highway of white granite.

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Post by Optimally-Primed » Fri Sep 18, 2009 2:46 pm

Looks beautiful. Out of curiousity how man man/woman days of scrubbing went into that? Something tells me P5 was not always a gleaming highway of white granite.
Good question. It was all "man" hours in the end. Damien kept more precise numbers. But my recollection is that I put in about 8 or 9 days; Damien put in about 10; and Brock put in 3. So 22ish man-days.

P5 was licheny and mossy, but scrubbing slab is quick (that's maybe why Robin Barley does it so much). It had some problematic dirt mats that took some time. So maybe 4 person days there. P4 was pretty quick (1 person day)... and while P3 was totally filled with dirt and shrubs, it's a shallow enough crack that it all came out quickly. The major work was on P2 and down. P2 has a dirt ledge on it, where a root from a tree comes in from the right. That area was a lot of work.

And the lower crag was filthy. Every crack was jammed with dirt and shrubs. Trees grew all over the place (we ripped 5 out, including a cedar that Damien used to use as a rap anchor!). It was so vegetated that we didn't even know that the final 10m of Wire Tap had a crack. At one point, I pulled back a mat of dirt and hollered up to Damien "there's a splitter under here, y'know". What more, one could only see about 20m up the cliff as a wall of trees and dirt mats blocked the way. We went to town on all that... Thriller on the Pillar was 2 full days of hacking away at roots for me. Aside from a few meters off the ground, the entire crack was grown over. We didn't know that it was there until we investigated. And Brock spent an entire day hacking away at the beginning of P2. There were several trees there and the mother of all dirt ledges. We did the best we could... but wow, that Big Green Machine is quite something.

We hope it was worth it in the end.

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Man and Woman Hours

Post by damien » Fri Sep 18, 2009 5:38 pm

I kept track of the hours and tallied to date is 229 hrs of work. For the record, Daniela logged 2 hrs of work and frequently lent me her car! Thanks!

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Post by bigwalldirtbag » Fri Sep 18, 2009 8:59 pm

good stuff jer! keep em coming! great alrounder work you've been puttin in lately!!!!

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Post by smallman » Sun Sep 20, 2009 9:20 pm

hey jeremy: Wow, that is a huge amount of scrubbing! How deep is the moss pile at the base of the route? how far is this from oLSEN creek itself? Could a pressure washer be potentially used in the future? I would agree in my experience that the mossy slabs are relatively easy to clean; the moss peels off in mats. It is dirt that is the worse, especially in cracks.

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Post by Optimally-Primed » Mon Sep 21, 2009 8:43 am

Float like a Butterfly, Sting Like a Bee: A Twip Report

Note: I've updated the topo. The link at the top of this thread accesses the new topo (you may need to clear the cache on your browser). Here's the link again.

DOWNLOAD UPDATED TOPO

Damien and I did some final touch-up work on the area on Saturday (in the rain). Damien rapped Wire Tap, managing bolts (2 new ones added to P3, and an anchor added at the top of Rumble in the Jungle) and sawing off a lingering stump. Meanwhile, I worked on the trail. While doing so, I received a visit from a large, healthy-looking black bear, who didn't seem perturbed by me yelling at him. Once he got within 20m (he was just sauntering along his merry way), I decided that it was time to leave the area. That's the second time I've ran into black bears in the area.

The upshot of this bolting is that: (1) P3 of Wire Tap had some flaring gear placements. These are now bolt protected to make the pitch more reasonable for the 10a leader. (2) There are now two 5.8 routes at the base crag. Rumble in the Jungle (30m) and the first 30m of Wire Tap P1. We hope that the greater variety of grades (5.8 to 11c) makes the area more interesting to a greater number of people.

On Sunday, my friends Kelly and Katy joined me to project the arete making up the left side of Ali Pillar: Float like a Butterfly, Sting like a Bee. The thing looked challenging to me. After TRing it to figure out where the line and bolts should go, I drilled it up and Kelly roped up and sent. The line is super aesthetic, following a steep arete before exiting left onto an overhanging crack.

Starting just left of Thriller on the Pillar, the climb goes up some easy cracks before hitting the arete proper. On the right side of the arete, a few 5.10+ moves on rails (2 bolts) leads to an overlap. Here, get gear in a horizontal, then step to the left side of the arete. Iron-cross side-pulling and pinching past 2 bolts is the 11c crux. Past the 4th bolt, the arete gets juggy and even has good gear. At a point where the arete becomes sharpest, step left onto an overhanging face. A finger crack rail splits the overhanging. Good gear (sometimes small) protects powerful and cool 11a moves. Big jugs now and then make for good rests. The final move over the lip is fun but not harder than 5.9. Pretty cool route!

Sting like a Bee variation climbs the 5.8 corner of Rumble in the Jungle before stepping right for just the overhanging finger crack rail finish.

smallman, We used all the moss at the base to fill in the terraces that we made. There was a lot... The crag is not more than 30m from Olesen Creek (good to note for hot days in summer... climb and go for a dip). Come to think of it, a pressure washer could have worked well at this crag. I'll give that some thought for any future work. Good idea! Moss came off in mats on ledges; but the face was just plain hard work. And digging dirt, plants, trees, and roots out of cracks is the toughest of all. We spent hours ripping out trees on Wire Tap and Rumble in the Jungle.

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Post by smallman » Mon Sep 21, 2009 10:06 am

Yeah the pressure washer could work but I wonder if the crag is above the water intake for the chief campground. If so then the pressure washer could wash sediment into the creek contaminating the campground water supply and filtration system. Which would be bad. It was just an idea anyway.

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Post by harihari » Tue Sep 22, 2009 4:36 pm

Nice work Jeremy. I'll go there if my own route ever gets done. Now how does one post a photo on here?

chris

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