Against The Grain
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Against The Grain is a tremendous line up somewhat hidden section of cliff. This route allows for safe/difficult climbing on a fractured, gear protected face at first, then a sweeping arete littered with bolts.
Hard moves off the deck lead to some difficult exit moves to the first ledge (optional anchor). More hard moves off the ledge lead to balancy, bolt-protected arete climbing to the anchor. When last I climbed this, I left as though I could have skipped a couple of the upper bolts, as they are fairly close together.
After the initial chossy rock, this route yields some fine schist (oxymoron?!) to the top.
Tucked into a right facing corner, roughly 150 feet to the left from where the main face ends and the Rose/Thorn face begins.
Single rack, making sure to bring a #3 Camalot, and a few large Stoppers.
By Derek Doucet
Jan 25, 2011
rating: 5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c
A great looking line that is sadly flawed. It is broken at half height by a huge ledge, requires deliberate avoidance of a big chossy corner in places, and doesn't really climb the stunning arete that appears so compelling from below. It's really more of a face climb in close proximity to an arete, with some poor rock thrown in for good measure. The two sport routes just to the left are much, much better IMO, and of roughly the same difficulty (.10a to .11a). Certainly worth an ascent if one has never done it, but not a route I return to more than once every few seasons. Just my opinion, of course!
By James Simone
Jun 24, 2013
Derek, I absolutely agree with your assessment of the route. It's funny - I had read your comment more than a year ago when first exploring Upper West, but I only got on this line yesterday for the first time. It felt very much like something straight out of the Adirondacks, but mostly in the F&D, D&D sense - it didn't quite climb like it looked that it did, and several of the sections were alarmingly chossy. While both cruxes on the route protect well, it took a great deal of self-belief to come out of the rotten corner to attack the upper crux, which basically entails figuring out how to get to and then move from a large pocket. I would go back for the send, but I don't see myself doing this one too often. Paradox is a far more enjoyable climb - it's too bad it doesn't continue to the top as well!