All American Hand Crack
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This route is located on the South face of The Babylon Crag. It is a little ways up a gully and at close range reveals a very parallel, almost Indian Creek quality crack (for the first 15' or so, anyway), that gradually widens from rattly fingers to wide hands in the space of 25 feet. The steadily overhanging face gives way to a scooped ledge that continues up a perfect low-angle hand crack to a horn. It felt pretty sandbagged at the grade to me, so perhaps a more modern, pussified consensus awaits.
The problems start at the horn, as there is no anchor other than a natural one to belay off. The new John Jackson Tahoe guidebook (our road map to this little adventure) suggests either rappelling off the horn, down climbing a shorter hand crack into a gully, or an X-rated exit up the unprotected arete. We chose down climbing (lowered partner, down led on gear he placed), but did not spot the 4th class exit (it may have been down to the left, rather than the right where we looked). After this we continued up an 80' pitch of 5.5-6 climbing (a bit of fun, really), topped out the crag, and then climbed down a 4th-low 5th class gully to the East of the route.
South face, up the hill from Far East.
A finger cam or two, singles to 1" and doubles in 2" - 3" Camalots will work. The anchor I made consisted of a shoulder length sling on the horn and a 2" Camalot. A double shoulder length sling would allow tying off a lot bigger chunk of the horn.
Joe Lee Sizing up the overhang
|Comments on All American Hand Crack
Jun 10, 2012
One of The Best Climbs I've ever done at Babylon!
|By Patrick Mulligan|
Jun 11, 2012
rating: 5.10a/b 6a+ 19 VI+ E2 5b
Headed out here after reading both the praise in the new guidebook and several comments from folks calling the route the best ever. After a hard off finger start solid overhanging jams end at the ledge after about 25'. The rest of the climb is far easier although one wishes it far longer. I'd believe the route is the best at the crag but thought the hype was undeserved.
After sitting on this one for a while I do think this is a beautiful crack. I still question it being listed in many "best crack in tahoe" lists, but its a great climb. I left a nice heavy duty rap ring hung off of a nice 7mm cord so getting down, while still of a horn is a much easier proposition.
I also plan on adding a bolt to the face above so one could link the top of the slab to the broken cracks leading to the top in a single pitch.
|By Colonel Mustard|
From: Reno, NV
Jun 17, 2012
I hope I didn't overhype it, Patrick! I thought it was a good climb, but certainly not great. Like Etahoe said, it is the best climb we got on at Babylon though!