Located about 50 feet left of Stinkzig, this line goes through the prominent, overhanging slot/stem box. Due to the enormous ledge between ground and the slot, it is best to do this climb as 2 short pitches though the full climb is probably only 100 feet. The guide calls this one of the best pitches of 5.10 at Vedauwoo. It is strenuous, technical, awkward, and can be made much more difficult if you don't work the back wall of the slot. I found it difficult compared to similarly graded mid-10s at Vedauwoo and Lumpy. Start in the flaring hand crack below the slot.
Pitch 1: Jam the strenuous 5.8 crack 20 feet to the ledge.
Pitch 2: Jam the overhanging crack and stem the slot (crux) on super-polished feet up and out to a 5.7ish OW finish. Belay and enjoy watching the 2nd struggle. If the 2nd isn't solid, consider placing more pro to protect the big swing out of the slot. My 2nd had difficulty getting back on after falling.
A single set of nuts and cams should suffice. Bring a #4 Camalot to protect the final OW moves. Some extra hand sized pieces might help for setting up an anchor on top.
This route has been my nemisis at Vedauwoo. Its the huge arching overhang in the middle of the Nautilus. The second pitch is definitely technical, although the first pitch is short and easy. A better start is the crack in a corner to the right around the end of the higher ledge. On the second pitch the leader needs to go through the offwidth and back over the top of it to belay. This can cause some rope problems (read shreded and stuck)because a cam in the offwidth finsh will flip over if its weighted from where the belay is above and behind it, especially if the second falls. The best option here is actually a Big Bro (size 2 or 3), which will keep the rope running cleanly without moving. This route is kind of a pain in the ass, but the climbing is really fun!
Most people swear up and down that this is one of the biggest sandbags at Vedauwoo. If you try to on-sight this climb, think more like a sport climber than a crack climber. This route is very sequential and probably the most important moves on the climb are face moves. There are some excellent rests on this climb so keep your eyes open.
I have the utmost respect for this climb. I simply didn't think I could climb it from the base, but utilizing both walls I was able to squirm my way to the final offwidth, where I then proceeded to weenie my way to the top. I was still breathing hard when my partner reached the belay bolts. Great route-a little hard for the grade!
Sent this last Saturday, had always had wanted to get on this climb. Looking at it from the trail, you wonder how it could be 10b? You have immediate vertigo upon looking up from the start of this and wonder what you've gotten yourself into. The last half was a battle, pure determination not to fall off - mainly 'cause I didn't want to reclimb to my highpoint. At the end, felt nausea and I think all the blood had left my arms. About gear, I'd agree with the 3.5 if you have the old school BDs, it was the last piece I placed. The best way for rope to run is bring a #2 Bigbro. I hung down a bit & placed it after I'd already made it to the anchors. Rope drag was no problem. 10b?, that's Vedauwoo I guess!
FA by Doug Cairns with Diana McWilliams belaying, in the '70s.
By Dan Dalton From: Boulder, CO Apr 20, 2008 rating: 5.10c/d6b+21VII+21E3 5b
I have to agree with the previous comments. I tried to onsight this, and while I got to the top, it was not a clean redpoint. Very cool fusion of sport and trad climbing techniques, but very stout for the grade. Hardest 10b trad I've ever led! Easy to see how it is a classic.
By Marc H From: Lafayette, CO Sep 12, 2008 rating: 5.10b6a+19VII-19E2 5b
Great route. I don't think any single move is harder than .10b, but it's definitely .10b the whole way! When I weighted the rope to lower off (I belayed the second from the intermediate ledge) it flipped one of my cams 90 degrees so that the broad side of the lobes (instead of the narrow side) were against the rock.
Compare this pitch to the first pitch of Friday the 13th, which is 10a. This pitch would then, at 10b, be suggested to be only a little bit harder than the other.... Whatever you do though, don't rock the status quo. Good luck, if you can only lead a real 10b.
Friday the 13th is a bad climb to compare to, because it is so popular. Seems counterintuitive, I know, but bear with me. First, Friday is super polished, to the point that it will feel two or three letter grades off depending on the temperature and relative humidity. Second, tons of out-of-state climbers and non-regulars get on it first, so its grade is pretty well settled in a national sense. Flying Buttress, on the other hand, sees somewhat fewer ascents, and is therefore more subject to the area-wide sandbag tendency.