Ho Chi Minh Trail
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Ho Chi Minh Trail is a variation to the upper two-thirds of the DNB and avoids the chimneys by linking features up the wall just to the right. There are still some "adventure" sections of climbing with loose rock and mandatory tree climbing, but mostly the climbing is steep and interesting. Pro is generally excellent. The length, star rating, and difficulty reflect beginning with the first six pitches of the DNB (which include the best climbing of that route and it's crux -- a trivial two-move affair).
Climb pitch 1 through 5 of the DNB.
P6: Begin up P6 of the DNB, but where that route begins to traverse left to a belay on the top of a ledge system formed by huge flakes, continue up and right. The route face climbs and ascends a left-facing corner to a bolted belay on a pedestal. The anchor here is new, and it can be spotted from below which helps with route-finding. This is the P7 belay in the Reid topo. 5.9, 190'.
P7: Locate a significant, huge left facing corner (difficult to see) capped by a huge roof (obvious) high above. Your goal is a belay near the base of this corner. Traverse up and right off the belay passing a bolt. Continue up past an optional belay ledge and into an S-curving left-facing corner. 5.10c, 180'.
P8: Pass another bolt off the belay to the right, then continue up to a belay ledge on a large sloping ledge system below a huge diorite chimney/gully feature. This is the pitch 10 belay on the Reid topo. 5.10a, 180'.
P9: Climb up into the chimney (slightly wet in places), then traverse wildly around to the right and continue up the headwall to belay on a ramp feature below some large trees in a mossy chimney. 5.10a, 190'.
P10: Traverse right on knobs around a pillar, and continue into a right facing corner. Up this past some lichen-covered liebacking (good climbing though), and up to a belay at a good stance. 5.10c, 180'.
P11: Head up and left on easy, loose blocks, then up twin cracks to a belay just above and to the left of a long roof. This is the pitch 14 belay on the Reid topo. 5.9.
P12: Climb out right and up an unprotected slab, using the tree to finish the last scary move. Continue up a corner/groove to a belay at the Turret ledge. 5.8.
P13: Climb up nebulous terrain, cracks, and loose rock up and to the left. Belay below a left-facing corner with a blocky undercling roof at the top. 5.8.
P14: Climb the corner and move left through the juggy roof - a cool pitch. 5.10.
P15: Up an airy flake/face to a difficult move stepping left, through a small roof, and up a thin crack above. Dirty and difficult. Belay or continue up loose rock above. 5.10.
P16: If necessary, continue climbing to a huge ledge below the top of Thirsty Spire. From here, a short 5.7 hand crack up the center of the Spire leads to 100' of 4th class to the two huge trees that mark the start of the Kat Walk.
...or something like that.
Double set from 0.3 to #2 Camalot. One #3. Wires.
By Rob Dillon
Oct 12, 2008
That two-move sequence is scarcely 'trivial'!
By alix morris
From: Berkeley, CA
Sep 30, 2013
In Reid Guidebook, P19, is described as 5.8 loose...It was certainly loose and definitely WIDE. We only brought a rack to three, but if you want to safely protect this pitch, bring a five or six. OR face traverse over to an easy flaring chimney in a left facing corner that protects with a #2 or #3. [unless we were off route]
Also, I would bring doubles to three, not two. They were very helpful for the climb and belays.
By david s wilson
Oct 12, 2015
This is stellar route that needs some more traffic. We linked it up into 12 pitches last Saturday with a 70 meter rope. The photo overlay posted by Clint on a Suoertopo thread was very useful in the route finding. I'd say the rack is fine above. If I added anything it would be a few extra cams in the 1" range to ease on linking and making belays.
The most tricky route finding for us was the next to last pitch. After you do the pitch with 2 10b sections indicated you arrive at a belay with a single bolt. Above here you look up from right to left at: a left facing squeeze chimney, a prominent right facing corner, discontinuous cracks leading to a 4" crack that splits a steep section on white rock. You want to stay left and head up to below the 4" crack and then bust left around the corner in an improbable traverse. With a full 70 you can go to the top in this pitch