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I think this is the only route on Mt. Lemmon to have graced the cover of Climbing Magazine (in fact, there are two more pictures of it in the feature article, “Hard Rock on the Lemmon” (No. 91, Aug 1985)). It shows Jim on the third pitch, dramatically palming a sloper and grimacing at the next move – in hideously checkered yellow lycra. Those were the days, uh? (And, no, Ma’adim didn’t make the cover just because I was the working at the mag at the time; it was the editor’s call).
Vying for the hardest multi-pitch climb in Arizona in the early 1980s (Coming to Grips may have had a more fearsome reputation), RR and I made a number of attempts over several years before putting it together. Part of the reason, besides the sheer intimidation of the Sea God’s overhanging red walls, was figuring out how to protect the thing – RR at one point came up with a home-made 4-5” cam (the largest Friend we had was a no.3) to protect the first pitch. The cam was ungainly looking and had a tendency to tip out, so climbing past it took a certain amount of sacking up, particularly knowing that the next piece was a ways up and the pump was coming. I think that part of the climb is protected by fixed gear now, but I bet it’s still an exciting lead.
(1) Gain and climb an overhanging groove/crack to its top, then work right along and past two small roofs (the second protected by a bolt) to a sling belay at a pin. This pitch overhangs by about 15 feet in 100 (5.11c/d). (2) Link features past two pins to a face protected by 3 bolts (the bolt protected face is Jim’s variation, which EFR says is superior to the original route; the original went left to a loose, right-facing corner, then traversed back right to the line). Above the bolts, climb up and right past two more pins to a ledge system. Parsifal in the Climbing article said of this pitch, “a bizarre series of overhanging face moves, dancing on toetips in a frozen pirouette against a backdrop of granite….” Goes with the lycra, I guess. (75’; 5.12a, maybe harder in light of the direct). Someone should combine pitches 1 and 2 to eliminate the sling belay – making the climb really “free” – but thoughtful use of runners, or double ropes, will be key. (3) Layback up the left-facing, left-leaning corner above to its top, then hand traverse right past a pin to a three-bolt belay off a small ledge. (60’?; 5.11c). (4) Follow a right-diagonalling crack to near its end in the vicinity of a pin, then work straight right past a bolt to easy ground and the summit. (60’?; 5.11b).
Some of the pins may not be necessary in light of today’s gear (i.e., microcams and offsets). If they are crucial, I’m sure RR would agree that if someone wants replace them with bolts (but with an eye toward retaining the climb’s character), please do so -- they’ve had nearly 30 years of freeze/thaw now. In case you’re wondering, Ma’adim is the Hebrew name for Mars.
Follow the descent down the scary 3rd-class gully on the north side of Neptune until the huge corner of Jaws is above. Head towards the cliff and catch the 3rd-class ledge that separates the Sea Gods into lower and higher buttresses. While still under the red wall, look for a few pins and a bolt protecting the first pitch, left of the bolt-line for Catch the Wave. EFR’s 2000 guide has a picture of the first pitch.
Standard Tucson trad rack; consider tripling up on the smaller cams (to 1”). I recall a no.1 tricam being useful on the 4th pitch; with today’s gear I doubt it is necessary.
View from pitch I belay, wildly overhung.
Climber on pitch II. Notice his tag line dangling ...
Belayer on duty at the base of Ma'adim on a very c...
Climber on pitch 1
Climber rappelling from the top of pitch 2. Note ...
A couple of the old pins that were recently replac...
|By 1Eric Rhicard|
Sep 30, 2011
Geir Hundal with help from friends and hardware donated by ASCA has replaced the old fixed pins and old anchors with new stainless steel bolts and hangers. Can't wait to get on it again.
Thanks ASCA and Geir.
From: Tucson, AZ
Sep 30, 2011
rating: 5.12a 7a+ 25 VIII+ E5 6a
Eric actually helped get the gear by making arrangements with the ASCA. Additionally he provided a lot of guidance and labor to get this done. Dave Merin also helped replace hardware and was the person who got me psyched about the route to begin with. Thanks Eric and Dave for helping make this happen!!
This is a fantastic route. It has challenging climbing up great features, sound rock, and great exposure. Don't miss this one if you enjoy hard adventure routes.
Oct 1, 2011
David, Geir, Eric... thanks... you've done a great service. Sounds like a lot of work.
|By 1Eric Rhicard|
Oct 16, 2011
It has been 23 years since I climbed this route in 1988. Wow. Back then I didn't appreciate what an impressive line John and Ray did. I do now. First second and third pitches are stellar with good pro. The traverse to the anchors at the end of the third pitch can cost you the redpoint and seems as hard as any other moves on the climb.
A #4 Camalot is nice to have for the first pitch just after the second bolt. A rack of doubles to 00 cams We used two stoppers a fat one and a finger sized one left by Geir on the third. No #3 camalot needed.
DON'T READ THIS IF YOU DON'T WANT BETA
We did the direct and I would suggest you traverse right on a good green camalot in a horizontal rather than moving up to clip the bolt used on the original route. It can be done going that way but it is harder. The last pitch takes away from the overall experience. Safe tenuous moves lead to a long traverse right with grainy rock, a bad stopper and a committing move to reach easier ground. A whipper might lead to a meeting with your belayer. This is a true test piece for the AZ badass.
An old #4 Camalot or an old 3-1/2 is nice to have for the first pitch just after the second bolt. A rack of doubles to 00 cams We used two stoppers a fat one and a finger sized one left by Geir on the third. No #3 camalot needed.