|259 page views|
|Type: ||Trad, Sport, 4 pitches, 600 feet, Grade II|
|Consensus: ||5.9 [details]|
|FA: ||Krist Jensen, Larry Fielden, Dave Cehrs, Mike Brennan Feb. 1976|
|Submitted By: ||J. Albers on Feb 9, 2012|
BETA PHOTO: Topo of Tollhouse Rock with the route 'Balls' show...
Balls takes a direct line up one of the largest sweeps of rock at Tollhouse Rock. All four pitches climb distinct types of rock which makes for continuously interesting and varied climbing. The technical crux comes early on with reasonably well protected friction and smedge climbing. For most, the psychological crux will be the runout 4th pitch. Elegant and rewarding climbing throughout.
1st pitch (~130 feet; 5.9; 5 bolts):
Delicately edge your way up to clip the first bolt and contemplate the next 30-40 feet of crux friction and smedge climbing. While not wildly runout, expect to climb 15-20 feet between bolts with solid friction and smedge climbing on high quality and beautiful white granite; make sure your belayer is with you for bolts 2 and 3 because the ground is quite close given the bolt spacing. After the first half of the pitch, the climbing difficulties decrease slightly and the bolts become more spaced. Excellent pitch.
2nd pitch (~85 feet; 5.7; 2 bolts):
Climb straight up from the belay and clip the first bolt 20 feet up. Spot the second bolt (~30 feet or so) and wander your way upwards; from the second bolt head towards the anchors at the bottom of the crescent arch corner above. The climbing on this pitch is runout, but the climbing is no harder than 5.7 with many small features, dishes, and knobs (not pure friction climbing).
3rd pitch (150 feet; 5.9; 5-6 bolts):
This is the secondary technical crux pitch. Leave the belay and climb the right-facing arching corner (protected by small nuts and cams) until you pull up and left on the face at a good sized knob and clip the first bolt (alternatively, you can climb straight up from the belay, clip a bolt, and then traverse up and left to the first proper bolt...however, do NOT continue climbing straight up, this is a variation called "Brains" which is 5.9 and looked to be quite runout). Next, wander your way upwards on fun, semi-runout, but fairly secure climbing; you will eventually trend up and left to a left facing roof/corner. Just below the apex of the corner/roof, clip a bolt out right on the face above the corner and climb up over the roof and continue upwards to the anchor. There are a fair number of bolts splattered here and there on this pitch. I believe I clipped 5 or 6 bolts without wandering too much. Another fine pitch.
4th pitch (~150 feet; 5.8; 3 bolts):
Likely the mental crux. Climb friction straight up from the belay for 25-30 feet to the first bolt. After clipping the first bolt, continue friction climbing upwards for 40 feet to the second bolt. Continue upwards past a third bolt and belay from gear at a nice ledge.
Variation: If you are not up for running it out 40 feet on 5.8 friction, you can take a bit of gear with you and climb a variation to the right (this variation is shown in black on the route topo). However, doing this variation without heinous rope drag will require judicious use of long slings and/or double ropes. Climb up and right (maybe 15 feet) from the belay to bolted anchor at a ledge. Traverse the ledge to the right and clip another set of anchors. Now climb up and right to merge with the crack system (the Upper Traverse route) and follow the crack back up and left passing one more bolt until a roof is reached. Traverse and climb over the roof on the right and continue straight up to the two bolt belay at the base of Munge Master.
Exit pitch (~200 feet):
Either exit up and left on 4th class or continue upwards and finish on Munge Master (see Munge Master description).
Begin maybe 60 feet to the right of Tollhouse traverse. Make sure you are to the RIGHT of the tree at the base because there are other bolted routes between Balls and Tollhouse Traverse. See topo for details.
6-10 draws for the bolts and gear on the third pitch. Bring a set of small wires and cams for the third pitch; supplement this with a set of cams up to 2-3 inches if you do the fourth pitch variation.