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The Sentinel - West Face
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Desert Song 

YDS: 5.11b French: 6c Ewbanks: 23 UIAA: VIII- ZA: 23 British: E3 5c R

   
Type:  Trad, 2 pitches, 160'
Consensus:  YDS: 5.11a French: 6c Ewbanks: 22 UIAA: VII+ ZA: 22 British: E3 5c [details]
FA: Roy Naasz and Chris Wegener, February 1970 (1st pitch only);FFA:John Bachar 1977(entire route)
Page Views: 2,076
Submitted By: C Miller on Jul 8, 2002

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Me in '83. Dig the socks.

Description 

Located on the awesome West face of the Sentinel lies this classic route which is located just right of center on the wall. It is visible as a vertical crack/seam which leads up to the right end of an impressive roof.

P1) Start right at some yucca plants and climb the steep crack/seam past three bolts and four "fixed" alumiheads until possible to traverse left to a bolted anchor. It is possible to rap from here (60 meter rope works best), but there is more fun ahead...

P2) From the belay make some hard moves with so-so pro up and slightly right then back left to reach a hand crack perched at the lip of the previously mentioned roof. Once in the crack traverse left along the lip and up until you reach a vertical crack which leads to the top. Walk off to climber's right down slabs.

This is a true Josh classic that should be done by those comfortable at this grade, but be aware that the second pitch is heads-up. The first pitch (5.10d) is popular and often done without committing to the imposing second pitch.


Protection 

3 bolts(3/8"), several "fixed" heads, gear to 3"



Photos of Desert Song Slideshow Add Photo
Russ Walling leading Desert Song nearly 25 years after the lead in other photo.  He's still got it.  No hangs or falls - just magic!
Russ Walling leading Desert Song nearly 25 years a...
Diesel Dave flashes the fear away.
Diesel Dave flashes the fear away.
Comments on Desert Song Add Comment
Show which comments
By Murf
Jan 16, 2003

Hmmmm - don't remember 4 fixed copperheads, maybe three? In any case, gulp!

By Randy
Nov 13, 2005

Two Updates/Comments:

1. Last season (Fall-2004) the Yucca Tree completely collapsed and disintigrated. The start is very hard now (12+/V6/7?). The best means of still doing the first pitch is to simply use a shoulder stand to get started (2nd batmans).

2. There are (always has been) only two small heads (alum-copper heads) on first pitch. The second protects the pitch crux. The two bolts are newer, but poorly placed (they replaced original aid bolts) near natural gear. However, the hard moves have marginal (the alumiheads) pro. I would guess that if you fell leading the crux, the pathetic and ancient heads would simply pull/break without slowing you in the slightest. The bolt/gear below would stop you though.

By Russ Walling
From: www.FishProducts.com
Dec 13, 2006
rating: 5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c R

As of today (12/13/06) there are fresh copperheads in place at the crux and they have been bounce tested. YMMV.

There is an old #2 head about half way up the first pitch that looks pretty good, and you can get a good RP nut next to it..... NBD.

For the business area, you have a bolt about 3 feet under your feet as you start the cruxy loose face/crack moves. There are 3 heads in the next 10 feet or so that protect the crux. The first set, a #2 and a #3 right next to each other, are pretty darn good. There is another fresh #3 a few feet higher, and the last one is a #3 head that is old, but in pretty good shape. Will the last one hold? Probably.... do you want to fall on it??? No way! IMO, a fall in the crux area will probably not pull any gear, and even it all fails, there is still a bolt about 10 feet below you.

side note: Randy was right... the old heads would not have held any sort of fall. The wires were pretty rusted and frayed, and the cables broke quite easily.

By Randy
Dec 15, 2006

Glad to hear that these were replaced. Good work. Now that I'm a retired and over-the-hill pentagenerian, maybe this will help me muster the nerve to lead it again.

By Russ Walling
From: www.FishProducts.com
Feb 24, 2007
rating: 5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c R

There was an ugly rumor that the heads were now gone.... as of today, 2/24/07, all the heads are in place and just waiting for some poor sap to rip onto them. I did the first pitch today and there is a large log at the base to help get you past the 5.12 start. The climbing is good and the crux up high is still spicy even with the new heads. 50m rope will let you rap back to the ground from the anchor.

By susan peplow
From: Joshua Tree
Feb 25, 2007

This route is good good good and doesn't get the play that it should. I would definitely do the route again (ok follow but you know what I mean) while in the area. Good rock and fun climbing.

~Susan

By dickcilley
Jan 6, 2011

Did the first pitch yesterday for a warm up.What a slap in the face.More like 11d than 12 but hard