This route climbs a singular crack system on the left side of the headwall on the west face of Merriam peak.
P1 - 5.10 - 60m. We 4th classed up the gully and then did a long pitch of dirty and wandering climbing. It is probably best to start on the Croft/Rands route but split right after the first belay. This will take an extra pitch but will improve the climbing.
P2 - 5.11, C1 - 65m
From the ledges on the right side of Merriam climb up until you reach a clean wall. Climb the nice arching finger crack using creativity when it gets thin. As the angle steeps the difficult picks up since footholds are hard to find. A six foot section of tips crack (probably 5.13) leads to a face hold and the ability to work into the right crack. Stemming and use of both cracks grants access to an alcove and a semi hanging belay.
P3 - 5.11, C1 - 30m
From the alcove work up a very flared crack with finger tip seam in the back. It could be possible to layback the flare with difficulty. The crack gradually gets wider before becoming hand size. A few well wedged chockstones lead to a steep section of hands and another alcove where you can belay.
P4 - 5.11a - 55m
From the belay head up perfect hand sized cracks ignoring the flaky rock for the first 20 feet. This initial section will clear up with more traffic. A brilliant section of clean rock leads to a good ledge (perhaps a better belay). Continue working up the crack, passing a cruxy section of flared fingers (5.11a) until the crack eventually becomes a more climbable size, 5.10. The final crux starts above small ledge on two opposing seams. Exciting climbing up these two "cracks" grants passage to a large ledge with a few loose blocks. Belay here about 50 feet below the ridge line.
Summit Traverse - 5.5
Follow the traverse on the back side of Merriam used by the North Buttress and all other routes. One pitch leads to a good stance where it is smart to belay due to rope drag. Another pitch downclimbs to a sandy gulley that leads up to the true summit.
This climb is an open project that could potentially be freed at hard 5.12 or 5.13. I am happy to change this page to reflect the new name/grade upon the first free ascent.
The route is named in honor of Dr. Clinton Hart Merriam and The Oatmeal
The route lies on left side the right headwall of Merriam Peak. It is the right of two twin cracks.
We approached via the gulley and one pitch of less than stellar climbing. A better option will be to take the Croft-Rands start and then break right to access the ledges below the right headwall.
Single Purple C3, #4 Friend.
Double set of cams from Green C3 to #3 Camalot. Extra finger size and a #1 or #2 camalot
Small nuts useful. No fixed anchors.
BETA PHOTO: Photo Topo for the Dr. Bear Love Project
BETA PHOTO: Close Topo of the upper pitches of Dr. Bear Love
Looking down at the 3rd pitch of Dr. Bear Love