This is an interesting route with some good climbing. The name relates to the long, fully enclosed tunnel on the fifth pitch. Two ropes are needed for the rappel.
About a hundred yards to the left of the Frigid Air Buttress, a rounded whitish apron leans against the lower wall. Scramble up ledges on its left side for a few hundred feet to a rope-up point where the rock steepens.
Pitch 1: On the right, climb a convoluted offwidth crack formed by the left edge of a huge flake (5.9). The easier chimney above is unprotected. The flake rounds off to a good belay ledge (which is also the ledge beneath the 5.9 handcrack halfway up the Frigid Air Buttress route).
Pitch 2: Avoid the FAB crack, and instead climb the left-leaning jam crack in the clean varnished wall on the left. (5.8)
Pitch 3: A short pitch up and left to a big ledge.
Pitch 4: Move to the back right corner of the ledge and climb a varnished corner, then go left and belay among broken rocks in the main gully system.
Pitch 5: Climb to the back of the gully then go up a dark, tight, fully enclosed vertical chimney tunnel.
Pitch 6: Easy climbing leads to the top.
Descent: Scramble left to the standard rappel route (2 ropes) down Burlesque.
Big cam for the opening offwidth
Very clean jam crack on pitch 2 of Middle Earth.
By John Wilder
From: Las Vegas, NV
Oct 8, 2005
rating: 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a
This was a good route. The first pitch is burly at the grade, I thought, but then, what offwidth isnt?
The handcrack is a delight to climb- heck, it was the inspiration for the rotue!
Thanks for this one, Larry, glad I got to be a part of it.