|The Taj Mahal
Looking down on the valley, this crack stares at the road below. You can look up and see it from the road, from there, it appears to be a fist crack splitter. Once up to it, you see that it's about 45 degrees overhanging, 45 degrees right leaning, flared, sharp, and offwidth.
It starts as hands, goes to a pod, goes through some fists, then gets too wide to use a fist right at the lip. The rock is the crumbly south platte variety but the crack is good. What it means is that you have to crack climb every inch of the route, no crimps or faceholds. It's stacking and jamming the whole time.
The rock is sharp, it's the only route in the platte that I believe tape is essential for. The quality is good, there are no loose holds or flakes even though it does rain very small pebbles. I generally end up with a cut on my left ear, left eyebrow, and right shoulder.
On to rating. I really don't know. Here is what I do know. It's quite a bit harder move for move than Belly Full of Bad Berries though shorter. It's got harder moves than Trench Warfare. It makes Squat feel like a warm up. It's light years beyond the only other Platte roof OW I've done, "Bad Juju". Long story short, I've never done OW moves on a rope this hard and can't remember doing them this hard bouldering.
I'm having a hard time swallowing the number, it seems excessive, but in light of this route's peers, I feel that 12d just might be appropriate. I think those with very very large fists would find this route easier. Height, reach, or small hands should not affect the grade.
I'm not married to the grade. I want people to repeat the route, I want a conscensus. This route was such a white whale for so long that I may have lost touch. My reality crumbled.
I feel that this just may be the testpiece offwidth in Colorado.
At any rate, this route has some of the techiest and most powerful new school style offwidth climbing you'll find anywhere. Not to mention the beautiful surroundings.
The main buttress of the Taj has thee summit steps. The namesake highest gumdrop shaped summit, the little crumbly boulder just south of it, and the large platform with a boulder on it just below that. This is the crack going through that boulder on the platform. Just a shade south of the taj summit.
It is accessible via 2 routes.
Climb the route "Meatpipe" and walk around the corner. This is a good burly warm up.
The other easier approach is on the east side. Scramble up until you are about 100 below and to the right of the block that creates this. Go up a chimney and recollect. Then lead a 5.7R slab. It's mostly super easy with a few cams and even an ancient mystery piton up high. Actually quite good. You can rap this route too off a 2 bolt anchor (1 new, 1 mystery self drill).
Hand sized pieces then up to a #6 Friend/Camalot. Double up on the #4 Camalots.
There are no fixed anchors up top!!! This is better and easier. After pulling the lip, climb/solo the OW to the top, tag the summit, and downclimb to the lip. You can pretty easily down aid with two 2ft slings. To place an anchor at the lip or on top would make cleaning the route a real pain and wreck your rope. It's impossible to TR anyway, so don't waste your time there.
|By Handsome B. Wonderful|
Jul 8, 2008
Nice Job Langston! I can't wait to give that sucka a go. How long is the business section? Have you checked out Trip Master? If so how would you say they compare?
Jul 9, 2008
Congrats John, I was wondering when you would get around to finishing it.
Jul 9, 2008
Great name for what looks to be an incredible route. Well done, maybe one day I will be in the condition to try it...
|By Kirk Miller|
From: Golden, CO
Jul 10, 2008
Way to go! Seriously sick.
From: Near Joshua Tree
Aug 8, 2008
Looks incredible, John. Glad you mentioned it to me. Someday I would definitely take you up on a visit.