|Picnic Lunch Wall
What to Expect
Oregon's first big wall now offers great free-climbing to the top of Smith Rock's most intimidating wall. Expect a first rate soft-rock adventure that delivers 5 distinct pitches of mostly solid rock and protection. Hard cranking, mega-exposure, and surprisingly classic climbing will be encountered while scaling this Cathedral of mud. The ability to confidently climb on questionable rock over questionable gear is a pre-requisite.
Pitch 1: Polishing The Turd: The crux comes 12ft off the ground with an arguably un-protectable boulder problem that cranks a poor finger lock while surmounting an awkward roof (V4). Continue up banged-out peg scars that offer some pretty fun, and pumpy sport-type climbing and reasonably decent gear. Flow past a few bolts (redpoint crux) and then enter the ugly. A section of dirty, shattered rock, with a sweet guano fist jam through the worst rock encounteted on the whole wall. It was cleaned extensively, but how long do you spend polishing a turd? Skip the rap-hangers to the left of the crack, and above the rock and climbing improve considerably for the pitches' ending. Clip one historic pin (an angle, leave it for nostalgia!!!) and end at the great belay stance with updated, bomber anchors. 135' 5.12
Note: freed mid 1980's by Bob McGown the morning after a rageing wedding party. Alan Watts hid and watched from a distance to validate the ascent! 12a has crept to about 12c from repeated nailing- no more nailing!
Pitch 2: The Muddy Traverse: head straight right across the obvious shelf, clipping a couple of updated bolts, and then carefully placing cams that I would be nervous about hanging a hat on in the peg scars in the roof's underclings. Thankfully its only 5.7 here. When the foot shelf disappears and the exposure heightens, updated bolts appear for the clipping. The pitch culminates with the amazingly exposed "Lose Your Lunch" boulder problem that cranks the air fantastic with 200ft of massive overhangs tugging you toward the Crooked River below. It doesn't get much more exposed than this! Commiting, explosive and nauseating- unforgettable! (v5/6) Pass a couple more updated aidin' bolts to another sweet b-lay stance. 85ft traverse 5.12d
Pitch 3: The Clean Corner: Looking at this section of rock from the ground below, I would have sworn this was going to be a vision quest pitch-au contraire! Nice creamy stone (like on Monkey Face), plenty of bolts and a bit of gear see you through a great pitch of fingerlocks, stemming, and arÍte grabbing. Crux comes at the end with taxing stems in a precarious position. Carefully place gear here and avoid the ledge fall. Another ending at a sweet little belay stance with rap hangers. 70' 5.12
Pitch 4: The Airy Vari. to the High Tech Corner: On this pitch, the corner immediately above the belay was mostly an aid bolt ladder, and the pin scars that did exist were worthless powder, so I did what any free climber would do: I found a variation :) Climb right from the belay onto the purple/red face with some cryptic and delicate climbing on cool features that protects with 4 added bolts and don't affect the original aid line in any way. Rejoin the corner about 30 feet higher. The corner is clean, hard stone, with cerebral stemming, technical footwork, and cranker 1 finger locks in pin scars. A couple of beautifully updated bomber bolts are your buddies here, but the crux is still protected with natural gear that has to be placed when the heat is turned way up high. Don't expect a picnic. Power and finesse your way up to the 4 foot roof above, pull the roof into the above corner (redpoint crux)and then traverse right on some beautiful red stone to a semi... well, mostly hanging belay with ASCA hangers. The belay was placed here under a little overlap to protect the belayer from any potential falling rock, and still allow visual contact with the leader for the final pitch. 75' 5.12d
Pitch 5: The Dead End Corner to the The Mud Butt Traverse: Decipher a section of 5.11 past a couple of updated bolts, and then reach a surprisingly clean crack in the right-facing corner that protects well and clocks in at about 5.10d. Natural gear for 60 feet or so, and then right when the rock starts to turn evil, its time to get off this wall- traverse right for 25' on a very technical and delicate muddy face of knobs and crimps- a casually exposed 500 feet off the ground. Don't shit your pants! Four 1/2" by 8" bomber glue-in bolts have replaced their ancestors on this traverse. Sneak around the corner to a belay in the trough. 100' 5.12a- You just climbed the Picnic Lunch Wall!
No bolts were added to the aid line. 21 bolts were replaced, many un-needed junk bolts were removed, and the anchors have all been updated. This wall should never again be nailed. Go free, go clean, or go home:)
The pin scars eat nuts like a...squirrel? At a minimum take a set of nuts and double up on the medium sizes. Doubles of cams from tips to hand size, one big hands size cam. Many draws and many slings. A 60 meter rope works perfect but some back- clipping is required should you need to rap and bail. Worst case scenario you can fix a single 60m and retreat from the top of pitch 2 rapping the single line. It is also possible to rap the entire wall top down with two 60m ropes; there is an anchor in a somewhat hidden notch/ledge at very top of the wall directly above the dead end corner.
The route begins left of center at the base of the tallest section of the Picnic Lunch wall. A right-leaning seam with banged out peg holes and a roof at about 10 feet marks the start. From the top of pitch 5, scramble right and up for a 4th/5th class exposed gully finish. Decend down the Misery Ridge Trail.
From: Morrison, CO
Jul 12, 2010
Damn Brad, nice work!!
From: SL UT
Jul 14, 2010
Thanks Mark! It did take a lot of work to prep this thing- at least 40 hrs! I destroyed a crowbar ripping out so many antique bolts! Ryan Lawson really helped out with the bolt and anchor updates! It always takes so much longer than you expect. I've enjoyed and repeated some of your Zion walls, I hope you can climb this next time you're in the Park!
A big thanks to Metolius for donating the hangers used for the bolt upgrades!
|By Peter Franzen|
From: Phoenix, AZ
Jul 15, 2010
This sounds awesome!
Any hope that it will clean up significantly after a few seasons, or is it always going to have flaking/muddy/kitty litter sections?
From: SL UT
Jul 17, 2010
Certainly it will get cleaner, but its good to go, today, right now! It's a Smith Rocks wall...perfection is a state of mind.
|By Ian Caldwell|
Apr 5, 2011
Has this been free climbed? The description makes it appear that it has been free climbed but there is no FA listed. There are conflicting rumors.... please set the record straight.