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Approaching the p1 crux on Le Plie, August 2009.
Mention Le Plie to climbers familiar with the Near Trapps and they will often groan. It is known for its awkwardness, and is perhaps underappreciated. It is one of the few climbs that are easier if you are short. When I climbed it the other day, after the brief moment of disorientation and panic as I pulled the crux and squirmed on the cramped shelf, I had to laugh. This climb is a trip, completely unlike any climb you'll ever find in a gym. Do it, at least once.
Pitch 1: Start at the thin vertical crack in the middle of the slab beneath a large chockstone. Climb up to the top of the crack and then angle left to the left side of the chockstone. Find a way to pull up onto the slanting, cramped shelf to the left of the chockstone (crux). Somehow squirm left about 10-15 feet to a much more comfortable, easy ledge. Traverse left another 15 feet or so on this easy ledge, to a rat's nest of slings. I was told that many people simply rap here from the slings, but you shouldn't, because (a) the slings are total junk/faded/partially worn through, and (b) you still haven't finished the pitch! From the rat's nest of slings, work your body up onto ANOTHER slanting, cramped shelf (easier than the first), worm your way to the left to a good stance and belay. 5.7-, 90 feet, much of it traversing.
Pitch 2: This is a good, if short, pitch. From the belay, move up and left on a great footrail to a notch in the small overhang, move above the overhang (nice 5.6 crux), and then traverse easily right until easy rock will take you to the top. I think we may have traversed too far to the right, because when we headed up it was just a step or two to the bushes. 5.6, 70 feet, again much of it traversing.
The start: this is one of the first climbs in the Nears as you enter off the trail from the road. You will see huge roofs over your head as soon as you get to the cliff. Above slightly to the right is the giant Kansas City roof, which often has fixed gear hanging from it. Le Plie starts at a slab with a vertical crack running up the middle to a large chockstone.
To descend: as mentioned in the description, there is a rat's nest of slings about 2/3 of the way through pitch one, but I do not advise using them to descend. Instead, finish the climb and do the one-minute walk-off.
Standard rack. The pro is very good. You can thread a sling at the chockstone for bombproof pro at the crux, and there is a good cam on the first slanting shelf right after you get yourself up there. The rest of the climb has pro wherever you need it.
BETA PHOTO: The start of Le Plie.
My partner squirming his way onto the second awkwa...
By Steve Moulding
From: New York
Jun 9, 2012
I'm 6'3. Definitely found this one awkward!!!
Jul 24, 2015
The rat's nest of slings has been replaced with static rope. Also, this route should be called "Deep Squat". Stretch a bit before starting up.