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The first half of this route is wide open slabs. Landmarks are few and far between, and it is apparent that the first ascentionists drilled the few bolts on lead, mainly because there aren't very many. For the first 300 ft, there are two drilled belays, and only one bolt in between each. As for other protection, you may find a creative placement behind a shallow sounding flake, but don't expect much. The upper portion has a pitch of beautiful cracks, which finally let you use some of your gear, before the final 1-2 pitches of mostly unprotectable slab climbing.
P1: Start about 50 ft below a small overlap, where a single bolt is clearly visible. By starting in from the left, you can place a supplemental piece or two before reaching the overlap. From the overlap, climb directly up over 5.7 slabs without protection to a two-bolt anchor, ~80ft. If 80 ft without protection isn't you idea of a good time, trend right a bit past the overlap where a few small pieces can be placed in a shallow right-facing corner.
P2: Climb straight up the open slab, ~5.7. Pass by two dike-protrusions that angle up and left, at the second one, clip the one bolt of the pitch (~80ft). Another 50 ft gains a two-bolt belay. A more protecable variation trends right where some more shallow right facing corners offer up some tiny placements. If you take the variation, you end up reaching the second pitch belay of Bearwalk, a comfortable scooped out ledge.
P3: Continue 180 ft of 5.6 climbing passing a few shallow left facing corners that surprisingly do not offer much protection. Belay at a nice stance under a large flake.
P4: Climb around the left side of the flake and then run out for 50 ft over a smooth slab, 5.7, until you gain a small crack system underneath a large headwall. After a few small brush, there are two beautiful splitter cracks which lead to weaknesses in the headwall. The right hand weakness goes at 5.8. The left hand weakness is a pretty dihedral, with finger-tip lay-backs, and feels more like 5.9. Finish at a small pine tree growing out of a large crack.
P5-6: Continue up the rhine-stone studded slab above, with very little protection, but easier climbing (5.5) to the top.
A hundred feet left of Normal Route at the base of the wide open slabs. Find the start by looking for a small overlap with a bolt under it. The route generally trends directly toward the small tree spied at the top of the head wall above. Descend by hiking around off to the south(?), class 4 or harder depending on how you manage it.
Overall this route doesn't offer many protectable features. A full set of wires and small cams up to knuckle sized will be all you need, although there is a place or two for your large stuff should you choose to bring it. All three bolts of pitch one (including the anchor) are new looking. 2 of 3 bolts of pitch two are new (one old 1/4" bolt at the anchor).
|By Aaron Hobson|
From: Las Cruces, NM
Jun 1, 2008
In response to Karl Kiser's comments: I brought drill and hammer with me and replaced two of the bolts on P2 yesterday. The only old 1/4" bolt left on the route now is the one I left at the top of P2, but at least there is a new one next to it. All the bolts on the first pitch were shiny big 1/2" studs.