|West Ironing Board
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This is a fun route but requires lots of big cams to protect well. I doubt anyone owns six #4 Camalots for this one, thus the S rating.
Start in the large crack a few feet right of Smoother. This crack curves up and right and is rather striking from afar. Unfortunately, the crack is an offwidth size and is awkward to climb and only useful for protection. It is even awkward to protect as the easiest climbing is on the face a few feet right of the crack (where you can't reach the crack), and you may have to reach far inside it to place a #4 Camalot.
After about 120', you reach a sort of pod, and above this the crack narrows to about 3" for a short section. You can belay here off a #3 Camalot, or continue. After 30 more feet, the crack starts to lean right significantly and the climbing becomes much easier. After walking right 50' (using a 60m rope from the ground), you will discover you are out of rope (and the crack is still 8"). My second had to climb up about 10' so I could reach a section where the crack narrows and I could belay (save one or two big cams for the belay).
The next pitch follows another wide flarey crack which continues up. This crack is friendlier and offers several placements for small pro, although one section is filled with grass. Move left at a horizontal crack, traversing until it is easy to go up (this point is about 30' right of the "320' anchor" on Smoother). Continue up and right beside another large crack to the ridge crest.
You can do one easy pitch up the ridge, and downclimb or rap the Green Chimney, or continue two more pitches (when in doubt, head left) until the ridge become broken and very easy, and then walk off west. The actual summit of the West Ironing Board is just north of here and can easily be scrambled up from the NE.
The first pitch is a crack which is 4-8 inches wide for 200' (except for one spot at 120' where it narrows to 3"). To protect this pitch well would require many #4-#5 Camalots. Giant hexes and #7 tri-cams would also work.
I can assure you it is G rated if you have this ra...
The top of the first pitch.
Topping out on Crescent.
Looking down the 1st pitch.
Heading up Crescent.
BETA PHOTO: Upper Crescent from the Eastern Ironing Board.
|By Anonymous Coward|
Aug 24, 2002
My partner and I did this on the morning of August 6th, before I had to go to work and he had to leave to drive to the East Coast. It really is a spectacular wide crack, though I mostly just face climbed next to it, only squiriming into the crack once in a while to place pro.
Here's my advice for this route:If you happen to have any 11 Hexcentrics, bring them along. Lots of partners have mocked my cowbells, but this is one route where it was really nice to have a couple big hexes. If your plan is approach this route in the dark and get up it before work, I'd recommend scoping it out ahead of time. Looking at the West Ironing Board from the summit of the Third, you really can't appreciate what a character-building experience the hike in will be, especially on-sight, in the dark. Luckily, my employers are pretty cool about this kind of thing, because the whole endeavor took something like two and a half hours more than we expected and I didn't show up for work until 10:00.
You can see this route all the way from Baseline, so it's a good one to have under your belt to impress attractive non-climbers in town.