Falconlore is a fun route, perfect for winter, with some great climbing in the middle and some bad rock on the last pitch and a half. The crux pitches have mixed climbing on bolts and gear, with generally well-protected but sometimes committing climbing.
If you start early and climb fast, it would be easy to link this route to another 3-4 pitch route on the main face of Entrance Dome, making for a 7-8 pitch day.
Bob Kerry's Backcountry guide has good beta on the climb. If you want more, continue reading.
There are two ways to start the route. One can scramble up and around onto the bushy ledge and skip the first pitch, or it's possible to do the "unprotected 5.5" pitch that Kerry describes. I didn't think this pitch was too bad, and there were plenty of placements. Follow one of several vague weaknesses up to the brushy ledge. Belay below a right-leaning seam with a bolt (this is NOT the second pitch). P1 is about 150'.
Now move the belay about 40-50 feet up the brushy ledge until beneath the second right-leaning, pocketed seam with several visible bolts. There is a higher, small ledge that makes a good belay spot with some placements, or one can belay on the main ledge.
P2 follows the seam with committing climbing for the first 40 or 50 feet, and sustained 5.10 for the first 100 feet. Great climbing. The last third of the pitch is much easier. This pitch is a bit under vertical the whole way. Belay up and left on the large slanting ledge with slings through a hole. (5.10d, 160').
This pitch has about 6 bolts with 3 or 4 other spots to place pro--stoppers worked best for me.
P3 doesn't go up the obvious right-leaning crack, but rather up and left via a bolt line with several placements as well. This pitch seemed like sustained 10-, with a solid 10 crux getting up to and over the roof at the top. As Kerry says, the rock deteriorates here and remains lower-quality for the rest of the climb. Still, very good vertical to overhanging climbing on this pitch. The best belay seemed about 15-20 feet above the roof (all gear--take care setting up this belay due to the poor rock and the limited options for gear beginning the fourth pitch). (5.10, 140'--not 80' as described in Kerry).
P4 offers a lot of possibilities, but the rock doesn't look great (and Kerry describes it as dangerous). I went straight up 15-20 feet from the belay, then up a vague weakness quite a ways right, and finally straight up a crack to chimney (not visible from the belay) to finish. (5.8, ~100'). This worked well; it isn't anything to write mom about, but keeps your attention. I belayed at a tree just below where you hit the ridge, which is chossy and doesn't offer great belay options. You can unrope and scramble the unexposed right side of the ridge to the top of the little pinnacle that marks the summit of this sub-buttress.
The route ascends the light-colored face right of the obvious, crescent-shaped arch that marks the Big Sleep and is the most distinctive feature on that side of the face. This is on the large semi-detached face that makes up the lower right side of Entrance Dome. There are two obvious right-leaning, pocketed seams on this face, which border either side of a prominent green overlap; the route ascends the left of these seams.
From the main trail to the Wasteland, look for cairns that up cut up to the lowest point of the dome. There's not much of a trail. Beware also that there is a "false" low point that could add an extra pitch to your climb. If you locate the bolts on the 5.5 first pitch of Full Circle, you're in the right general area. From there, scramble up the ramp to the right until brush would force you out on the slab to the right. We started here, but you could continue up the ramp/slab and cut back on the ledge below the 2nd pitch.
There are several options for the descent. The best, per Brian Benedon, uses a double-rope rap to the east, off slings around the tree that marks the last belay spot. From the end of this rap one can scramble back to the base. As far as I can tell, Kerry does not describe this descent but it seems to be the best option.
Another option is to scramble down the gully that faces west, and do a one-rope rap off of a tree. This put you on the "grand traverse" ledge, with the option to do another route such as Echoes or Whores of Babylon. From here one can rap the first three pitches of Full Circle with two ropes, but another short rap or an exposed traverse will be necessary to get to the anchor atop P3. One can also continue across the grand traverse ledge (very exposed and slippery in one or two spots) to an obvious wooded gully that cuts back toward the base of Full Circle. This gully can be downclimbed, but most will do at least one rap. This descent only requires one rope, but takes a while and is kind of annoying, although the grand traverse ledge is a really cool spot to visit.
A single set of nuts and cams to a 3.5 friend worked for us. We brought tricams and thought they'd be more useful than they turned out to be, but we did place a couple. Long slings are very useful. Pitches two and three each have about 6 bolts.
|By greg k|
Jan 20, 2014
2nd & 3rd pitches really make this climb. the pockets on the 2nd pitch were quite spectacular