|431 page views|
Peter Jackson’s version of Baradur, courtesy of Wi...
A number of us locals were competing for the FA of this line in the late 70s, a right-facing, right-leaning corner that just disappeared into an apparently blank face. Until Steve’s lead in 1979, those of us who tried it didn’t even make it to the end of the crack. Some of us called it the Crack of No Return, which doesn’t make sense now, but seemed to then – something to do with what appeared to be oblivion waiting at crack’s end. Steve didn’t have an easy time of it, though, taking several falls on the crack and hanging from a slinged ‘head to work out the crux face moves. Because Steve was in a different league from the rest of us, and maybe because he and Paul named it for the heart of the black land of Mordor, the route didn’t see a second ascent for five years (having the benefit of knowing it went, clad in better footwear, and wanting to impress the Verm, who was belaying, I barely squeaked up it first go -- ah, faded glory).
The first pitch is the business; belay from slings at two bolts (hanging). The second is moderately run-out 5.10, protected by a lone bolt and some gear, to a ledge just after a short left-facing corner. The third and fourth pitches are 4th or very easy 5th class. I suspect that the first and second pitch can be combined, which would make for a lead worthy of Sauron.
When walking along the base of Rappel from the west, skirt past an obvious right-slanting 3rd class ramp until the wall gets steeper; Baradur is the longest crack system before reaching Helm’s Deep.
Standard trad rack to a 3” cam (I think). Be sure to include runners capable of securely slinging chickenheads.