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Aid practice areas north of LA? More options please.
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By randy88fj62
Apr 18, 2012
Thunderbolt Peak in the Palisades

Looking for more local places to aid practice just north of LA. I currently practice on the Jesus wall at Stoney Point (not after rain) and Point Magu Rock. I live in Santa Clarita near Magic Mountain. Are there any other local areas within an hour for good aid practice? Bigwall.com has a mini guide and I want to check out the two pitch aid route at Stoney Peak. Has anyone tried that? Doing a wall in Yosemite this July and I need to make sure my jugging and aid pitches are smooth and quick. Bolt ladders or natural cracks, whatever.


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By Tristan B
From La Crescenta, CA
Apr 18, 2012
Hanging out on Royal Arches

You can aid climb the potholes crack at Stoney too. Millard Canyon near Pasadena has a fun bolt line. It's closed, but you can walk around from the top. Also the TR wall at horse flats has some stuff you could aid but I think it's still closed for little bit until the snow melts. Maybe this one at Devils punchbowl? mountainproject.com/v/107190348


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By randy88fj62
Apr 18, 2012
Thunderbolt Peak in the Palisades

Tristan B wrote:
You can aid climb the potholes crack at Stoney too. Millard Canyon near Pasadena has a fun bolt line. It's closed, but you can walk around from the top. Also the TR wall at horse flats has some stuff you could aid but I think it's still closed for little bit until the snow melts. Maybe this one at Devils punchbowl? mountainproject.com/v/107190348


Devil's punch bowl is a litle far. Which one is pothole crack? Near Nabisco or the backside? I'll have to check my guide book.


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By Tristan B
From La Crescenta, CA
Apr 18, 2012
Hanging out on Royal Arches

Yeah punchbowl is a little far but there is some multipitch there too to help get your systems dialed, hauling, ect.

Potholes is on the far left side of the backwall.
mountainproject.com/v/potholes-crack/106093523


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By randy88fj62
Apr 18, 2012
Thunderbolt Peak in the Palisades

Tristan B wrote:
Yeah punchbowl is a little far but there is some multipitch there too to help get your systems dialed, hauling, ect. Potholes is on the far left side of the backwall. mountainproject.com/v/potholes-crack/106093523


There is a new hive forming on the back south side at the moment. Looks like a fun little aid practice spot.

I have never been to devil's punch bowl but the multipitch aid is appealing.


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By kevin deweese
From walnut creek, ca
Apr 18, 2012
don't throw rocks

If you want to get your systems dialed and practice aid, you're not going to find anything in your area that works as well as Riverside Quarry. Since I got a significant other down in Burbank, I've been climbing there during the day on weekends while she DPs various projects.

Various reasons why Riverside Quarry is so good for aid practice.
#1: Bolts everywhere.

You can practice a hook move here and there with a nice bolt right at your waist, same with trying out various levels of C1-C3 placements. It's really hard to trust a C2 and reeeeally hard to trust a C3 placement when you're up above a bunch of gear that seemed great when you were on it but somehow feels less and less sound, the higher above it you get.

#2: Multipitch.
Many of the routes that can be easily aided have intermediate bolted anchors that you can practice your hauling and docking of your haul bags. In addition, you can learn how to then rap with your bags attached to you which you'll need to do to get down the east ledges or the Leaning Tower Chimney Gully.

#3: Granite.
I've looked all over the hills north and south and west of Burbank and most of what you're going to find is sandstone. It's not appropriate to hook on if it's established as a free route, and the feel of the rock is not really going to prepare you for what's possible in the C3 range on granite.

#4: Approach
5 mins on flat ground with stairs if you want to climb on the upper sections.

#5: Soloing
There's plenty of massive boulders around the base that you can use for your bottom anchor if you can't find a partner to practice aiding with (probably the hardest part of aiding)

#6: Nailing
If you're looking to get on the hard thin nailing lines in Yosemite, Riverside Quarry has lines for that as well that are not currently free lines so you wont get in anyone's way (rurp romp and pucker power in the bigwalls aid guide come to mind.)

If you're only looking for clean practice then I would suggest Vertical Vee, Stay of Execution, and Unexpected Difficulties (in that order) all found in the Bigwalls Aid Guide

overall, the benefits of practicing there far outweigh the 45-60 mins of extra driving when compared to the smaller and crappier "crags" closer to you.


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By randy88fj62
Apr 18, 2012
Thunderbolt Peak in the Palisades

Kevin,
Thank you for the breakdown. That is very useful information. My gf and I will have to take a day trip down there. I would love to practice some nailing. There are no options in my area due to the sandstone.


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By JCM
From Golden, CO
Apr 18, 2012

Although it is a bit further of a drive, it is certainly worth going up to Idyllwild at least once; many good routes on which to practice aid climbing. The granite in Idy is very similar to Yosemite, so that will be good preparation. The Pirate is a classic clean aid route (or heinous slabby free climb...your pick)


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By randy88fj62
Apr 18, 2012
Thunderbolt Peak in the Palisades

While we are on this subject. I plan to go to the valley at least twice before heading up a big wall. I plan on doing Royal Arches just for fun one weekend and I have a second weekend open. What would be an easy overnight aid wall? Preferably 5.9 C2 / A2. Or any good day routes.


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By kevin deweese
From walnut creek, ca
Apr 18, 2012
don't throw rocks

Obviously South Face of Washington Column is a good 1-2 day route. Skull Queen is just as good but suffers from the same crowding that South Face will.
West Face of Leaning Tower is an "easy" route as well but also will be busy.

Both have a great bivy ledge. (Washington Column has the best views and space but can be a death zone if people are climbing above you while you're there)Both also have an equivalent approach that is relatively short and easy.

Gold Wall:Ribbon Falls and SWFaceLiberty Cap will have less people but Liberty Cap has a much longer approach (easy trail though) and Ribbon Falls has an approach (i'm told) that will leave you panting when you get to the wall.


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By J.J
Apr 18, 2012

I've done rocky peak roof a couple times. Wont be back around there until at least a month though. PM me if you have any questions about it.


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By randy88fj62
Apr 19, 2012
Thunderbolt Peak in the Palisades

J.J wrote:
I've done rocky peak roof a couple times. Wont be back around there until at least a month though. PM me if you have any questions about it.


JJ,
I'm assuming its easy to find via the description on bigwall.com?

Thanks for all the great info everyone. My gf and I may hit up the quarry this sunday.


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By randy88fj62
Apr 19, 2012
Thunderbolt Peak in the Palisades

I cant find stay of execution on my mountain project iphone app.

Are there any good hooking routes?

Any good spots to practice nailing at the quarry? I don't want to piss off sport and free trad climbers.


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By J.J
Apr 21, 2012

randy88fj62 wrote:
JJ, I'm assuming its easy to find via the description on bigwall.com? Thanks for all the great info everyone. My gf and I may hit up the quarry this sunday.

It's fairly intuitive, but there is a chance for adventure if you mess up the approach...and on the climb. Watch out for rattlers, it's their territory out there and the approach involves brush-wacking.


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By randy88fj62
Apr 21, 2012
Thunderbolt Peak in the Palisades

Kevin,
I got out to the quarry today. Lead vertical vee and it took me 45 min total. I got a lot of work to do to move faster. The second half of the pitch moved a lot smoother once I was in sync with my gear.


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By Mike Watson
Apr 26, 2012

I've been to the quarry once to sport climb but haven't practiced aiding out there. Any of the routes go clean?


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By randy88fj62
Apr 26, 2012
Thunderbolt Peak in the Palisades

Mike Watson wrote:
I've been to the quarry once to sport climb but haven't practiced aiding out there. Any of the routes go clean?


Mike,
Vertical Vee can go clean. I recommend bringing a mid size to large cam hook to speed things up.


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By kevin deweese
From walnut creek, ca
Apr 26, 2012
don't throw rocks

Stay of Execution can be found in the Socal guide, not on MP.
www.bigwall.com/scag_rc.html

MOST of the routes at the quarry should go clean. You can usually figure it out by bolts. If there's bolts within clipping distance, treat it as a clean climb, if there's no bolts nearby, there's a good chance that it might be a nailer, but check the socal aid guide or the older Riverside Quarry Guidebook to be sure. Hooking is one of those weird things. Probably shouldn't hook on random flakes near the free routes, but hooking in the drilled pockets is totally fine.


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By randy88fj62
Apr 26, 2012
Thunderbolt Peak in the Palisades

kevin deweese wrote:
Stay of Execution can be found in the Socal guide, not on MP. www.bigwall.com/scag_rc.html MOST of the routes at the quarry should go clean. You can usually figure it out by bolts. If there's bolts within clipping distance, treat it as a clean climb, if there's no bolts nearby, there's a good chance that it might be a nailer, but check the socal aid guide or the older Riverside Quarry Guidebook to be sure. Hooking is one of those weird things. Probably shouldn't hook on random flakes near the free routes, but hooking in the drilled pockets is totally fine.


Kevin,
You lost me on the hooking part. I thought that since the rock is granite that hooking is ok. My thought is that granite is hard enough to handle cam hooks without wrecking it for the insane 5.11d free climbers.

What do you mean by hooking in drilled pockets? Like old bolt holes?

Anyone know any good nailing routes? I'd like to practice some of that my next time at the quarry and I don't want to wreck the free routes.


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By kevin deweese
From walnut creek, ca
Apr 27, 2012
don't throw rocks

Cam hooking is normally always fine on granite.

Hooking (using grappling, cliffhanger, talon hooks) is a different matter because hooks place a considerable amount of pressure on small flakes when compared to what the hand or foot does when freeclimbing. For this reason, once a route is setup for free climbing it's normally considered an ethical nono to practice hooking on that route because the chances are greater that a hook can tear off a flake that could be essential for free ascent.
(There's a route up at the Peanut Gallery at Donner Pass that used to be a mid5.10 face climb that some aid climber practiced hooking on and ripped all the flakes off and now it's probably closer to upper 5.11 - Thank dood.)

You probably noticed that Riverside is a chipper's paradise and there's drilled pockets and chipped holds everywhere. (Made by the free climbers, not the aid climbers) Drilled pockets are juggy pockets that usually are between two fingers and 4 fingers wide and just HAPPEN to show up right where the climb needs them to for a clip or whatever. Since they are rilled an inch or so deep you can hook them without worry of damaging the (already damaged) rock. Pretty bomber hooking too. Gets you used to being on a hook with almost no chance of it skating off unless you're jumping around.

Based upon the Socal Aid guide, these are the nailing routes I've climbed at Riverside
Pucker Power. - Maybe 1 pecker and some hooking with fixed gear on pitch 2 everything else goes clean (with some hooking)
Rurp Romp - follows an arrow and pecker crack out and over the roof. Very fun.
Stay of Execution - mostly clean, but I only did the first 2 pitches
Fowl Play - Mostly clean as well but only did first two pitches
Dunlop Bolt Ladder - usually goes bolt, hook in pocket, bolt, hook, etc
A Thin Seam - Peckers. Fun.
Unknown (right of Thin Seam) - Free with cam hooking and hand placed peckers.

Pursuit of Pain looks like a lot of fun but it climbs dirty rock that traverses over a loooot of routes so I've never been enough of a dick to climb it. Midweek early is your best bet.

---
To get the most out of Riverside, don't be afraid to do a few free moves and then lower back down to sus out C2 and C3 placements back up to the bolt. That and bring some free shoes, sport lead to the anchors then toprope the route to figure out the C2 and C3 placements.


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By Greg Howland
Apr 27, 2012
The Nose

+1 for the Quarry. Good training ground for the valley. I was just told today the FA team of Wings of Steel practiced their aid there. Another really good option is to take a day or two in the valley to aid before you get on the wall to help adjust to the rock. First 4 of the nose goes at C2 and should be empty in July. Take a look at the guide book and you'd be surprised how many El Cap routes have easy 1st pitches to practice on.

Erik Sloan's site might give you some inspiration (and is a perfect plug for a great guy): Yosemite Big Wall


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By Fat Dad
From Los Angeles, CA
Apr 27, 2012

I grew up in OC, so hit the quarry myself (way before it was a sport climbing area). I found it really good practice, though some of the dedicated aid routes, if there are any left, may have some loose rock. I remember putting a stopper in a seam and then watching a big crack form around it when I weighted it. Sketchy, but even sketchier for my belayer, who was kicking back right below me, oblivious to the fact that he was about to get creamed. I managed to unweight the piece before a three foot block sheared off. We found something else to climb.

There are lots of good places to practice aid in the Valley, but I'd say that the first 4 pitches of the Nose is not one of them. There's almost always someone on them, even in the midst of a heat wave. If you show up and no one's there, go for it. But there area many other good things to practice on though at El Cap's base without crowd issues. There's also the Stigma on the Cookie (clean only) and Kat Pinnacle has a couple of aid lines.


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By kevin deweese
From walnut creek, ca
Apr 27, 2012
don't throw rocks

Greg Howland wrote:
I was just told today the FA team of Wings of Steel practiced their aid there.


Most of the dedicated aid routes at Riverside were established by Mark Smith and Richard Jensen (Wings of Steel FAs) such as Punish the Puppy, Stay of Execution, Fetal Rearrangement, Pucker Power, Fowl Play, others) So there's an element of coolness there as well.


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By x15x15
Apr 28, 2012

a great place to learn, and practice, is chileo. located in the angeles crest. nail to your hearts content, or clean aid if you want, no one is around to care. i learned the art of aid here, and it carried me to the walls of yos, bugs, zion, sierra, cascades, anderson river valley, etc...

its been many years since i have been back and i have no clue what the last fire did to the area, but when the creek is flowing, and you're hanging out on the overhanging walls next to the falls, you get the feeling yer a real climber...

there are at least 7 established routes. bolts are crappy, bring rurps, hooks, lost arrows, baby angles, offset brassies,and bashies, etc. and have a blast...

if it is still open...


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By randy88fj62
Apr 30, 2012
Thunderbolt Peak in the Palisades

x15x15 wrote:
a great place to learn, and practice, is chileo. located in the angeles crest. nail to your hearts content, or clean aid if you want, no one is around to care. i learned the art of aid here, and it carried me to the walls of yos, bugs, zion, sierra, cascades, anderson river valley, etc... its been many years since i have been back and i have no clue what the last fire did to the area, but when the creek is flowing, and you're hanging out on the overhanging walls next to the falls, you get the feeling yer a real climber... there are at least 7 established routes. bolts are crappy, bring rurps, hooks, lost arrows, baby angles, offset brassies,and bashies, etc. and have a blast... if it is still open...


This sounds enticing as it's a lot closer than teh Quarry for me. Unfortunately I believe this area is closed due to fire? The forest service website that describes the campground says its closed. Can this area be accessed currently with no limitations? I can camp elsewhere or just day trip out there.


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By Fat Dad
From Los Angeles, CA
Apr 30, 2012

Re hooking at the Quarry: the rock isn't Yosemite solid. Places that haven't seen alot of aid action could be suspect. That same trip I described above where I almost killed my belayer ended on the next climb. My partner, now leading another route, hooked a flake, which sheared off when he tested it and cut a gash in his shoulder. Again, I'm assuming the place had had enough traffic in the 25 yrs. since, but you don't want to inadvertantly pry off a key hold on a route that now goes free. Just sayin.

Also, x15x15, had not idea Chilao was so extensive (relatively I mean). After the fire though, I'm assuming there would be lots of wading through that heinous poodle brush to get to it.


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