|Big Ben Tower
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Pitch one: 5.6 or 5.10a. Either climb a mellow slab to the base of pitch two, (we didn't) or climb Dead Baby Bubbas (10a) on the left to access the same point. DBB feels hard for 10a and wasn't that awesome. Definitely some choss. (the slab might be a better option)
Pitch two: 5.12a. Spectacular, hard, cryptic, and very, very atypical of Smith climbing. Start up some easy choss and clip the first bolt. Two more bolts of easier stemming and palming lead to the fourth and final bolt. Clip the bolt and pull into a bizarre sequence of overhanging groove climbing to gain the aesthetic corner above. Still pumpy lie-backing and jamming will eventually take you to a two bolt anchor on an excellent ledge.
Pitch three: 10d. Jaw-droppingly good. From the top of P2, you can just crane your neck far enough back to see a wildly overhanging crack system traversing out to the left of the corner above the belay. It looks improbable and difficult to access, but ties together incredibly well. Mellow moves up the corner lead to a techy traverse left that gains a leftward trending ramp with bolts. Mantle onto the ramp and and commit to a wild undercling traverse up a thinning flake. Clip the final bolt and pull into an incredible sequence of long moves on huge holds that takes you to a final crux on gear. Belay at a two bolt belay on a sloping shelf.
Pitch four: 10a. The escape pitch. A thin slab move on bolts leads to easy climbing and a slightly manky bolted anchor on the summit. There is a brief stretch crap rock at the top of this pitch.
Descent: walk back along the summit towards a small cairn looking for a bolted rap anchor the sends you into the gully climbers right (east) of the summit. Two single rope raps drop you into the gully where you'll have to walk down to another two bolt anchor that will shoot you to the ground in one more single rope rap.
Look for the prominent left-leaning slab with a steep corner skyrocketing up the face above at about half height.
Gear to 2.5 inches.
BETA PHOTO: Big Ben. Alpen Symphony climbs right up the gut o...
Looking down the crux pitch.
Mike on Pitch 4.
|By Mike Rowley|
From: Boise, Idaho
Feb 21, 2013
Great write up Max! Pitch two was BURLY, and very awkward movement. This entire climb overhangs just a little, but every belay is at a good to great stance! Super fun! Cant wait to get back on it next season.