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South Rock
Routes Sorted
L to R R to L Alpha
Agent Orange T 
Airy Scary T 
Alias The Martian T 
Eagle's Nest T 
Eagle's Nest (original) T 
Rainy Daze  S 
Surface Tension T 
Unknown (South Face Left) T 
Unknown (South Face Middle) T 
Unknown (South Face Right) T 
Yikes Dikes T 
Zig Zag Man T 

Airy Scary 

YDS: 5.11- French: 6c Ewbanks: 22 UIAA: VIII+ ZA: 22 British: E3 5c PG13

   
Type:  Trad, 1 pitch, 130'
Consensus:  YDS: 5.11- French: 6c Ewbanks: 22 UIAA: VIII+ ZA: 22 British: E3 5c [details]
FA: Bruce Holthouse, late 1970s
Page Views: 633
Submitted By: George Perkins on May 2, 2008

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Mike Stewart low on the route c. 2000
Some rocks in this area are on private property. Property owner requests signed waiver. MORE INFO >>>

Description 

The name says it all. (Although it originally had no name.)

Start below a small triangular roof, pull up to a solid-looking 1/4" bolt. Face climb up to a roof (pro in crack) and traverse right on solid flakes, or take a more direct line with scarcer pro, to a roof below a piton. Turn the roof which is surprisingly easy and protects well with a nut. From the piton to the next bolt up and right is the technical but well-protected crux with off-balance moves (AIRY!). Up from here past a 2nd piton leads to a series of knobs that lead to a deadend up and right, and the realization that what you need to do is leave the good knobs and take off on a slab traverse to the left with hands on a down-slanting "rail" about 10-15' above the pin (5.10R, SCARY!). My guess is you're looking at 30' fall if you came off on this section. Don't do that. Join the finish of Zig Zag Man through big plates/chickenheads to the top. Build a belay where convenient. Scramble right to get to the rappel anchors.

Excellent fun climbing, with intriguing moves at the cruxes and interesting route finding, but in my opinion a little bit scarier than most other climbs at the 5.11- grade at TP.


Location 

Airy Scary is near the left side of the south face of South Rock. You can pick out the first bolt above a triangular roof near the ground.

Descent: 1 rappel from the top down the south side, near Eagle's Nest, with a single 60m rope.


Protection 

Cams to 2", nuts. You pass 2 bolts and 2 pitons on the way.



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By Mike Howard
Administrator
May 27, 2008

FA: Bruce Holthouse, ?

I bet Bruce thinks you're mad climbing above that old mank. Those 1/4"ers and pins were as good as they were ever going to be on that day he placed 'em around thirty years ago. You hang big sack long time.

"Airy Scary"...not his name for it he reminded me, he never named those routes. But he laughed hard and full when I read it to him..."that's good", he chortled. I could see the clarity of the first ascent in that pin sized pupil through his squinted eyes. I knew he meant that crux move was all that when he sent it more than thirty years ago. That is what this is all about. The unknown of a ground up first ascent and that sliver of success now, forever vanquished in the grade we read in advance in a guide. The moot-point. 11-, PG13. Risky, but do-able. No one knew then. The man's still got moxie at 60.

By George Perkins
From: Los Alamos, NM
May 27, 2008

Thanks, Mike, I really appreciate you sharing this story. It's fun to hear when someone like Bruce is happy when a fitting new name gets put on one of his climbs. This was among the best climbs I've done at TP, had me glowing for the next week. It's too scary to be truly classic. Too bad I can't touch Bruce's harder routes.

[I feel a little guilty for reducing the next person's adventure.. but I figure people who want that don't visit websites designed to share beta.]

Fixed gear description:
1st- 1/4" bolt. Looks in good shape about 20' up. Protects 5.10- climbing, no harder than Better Red Than Dead. If you're falling here, it's best if you stop now instead of going higher.

2nd- angle piton in horizontal just below technical crux (11-). This appears bomber as of May '08, and I tested it when I fell on it when my foothold broke (removing the last piece of loose rock on this climb). If you fall on this crux, it's not a big deal. It's about 8' farther to the next big bolt.

3rd- big bolt. Just after technical crux. This is not a 1970s original. To whoever replaced the original with this one, THANKS! This one will keep you from hitting anything if you fall anywhere above this.

4th- crappy upward-driven knifeblade piton. "Protects" the psychological crux. You need to make 5.10+ slab moves about 10 or 15' above this, and I wasn't confident that it will hold a fall (but I couldn't pull it out by hand). I don't think there are any other options for gear on this section. You're looking at about 20 to 30' fall (if it holds), and 10-15' more if it doesn't, but the bolt below it is big. I looked at this slab for a long time before going for it.

Both my partner and I fell once at the 5.11- crux, but got the slab at the top without coming off. We usually fall on TP 5.11a.

By Souljah
From: Northern NM
Jan 30, 2010
rating: 5.11- 6c 22 VIII+ 22 E3 5c PG13

All of the fixed gear was old when we did this line about 9yrs ago. I think I remember placing a couple small , but useful tri-cams hither & dither and the pins needed resetting.

Good climbing!

  • A couple of takes figuring out the .11- (led off the couch).