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The Flagstaff Amphitheatre
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Direct Route 
East Crack 
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Mongolian Cosmonaut 
Overhanging Hand Traverse 
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Mongolian Cosmonaut 

Hueco: V9 Font: 7C

Type:  Boulder
Original:  Hueco: V10 Font: 7C+ [details]
FA: Skip Guerin
Page Views: 3,140
Submitted By: Peter Beal on Apr 12, 2004

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Horan repeating the Cosmonaut.


On the high left side of the amphitheater, tunnel underneath an overhang to a short very undercut bulge. This is Mongolian Cosmonaut. Start low with the right in an OK pocket/edge and the left on a pebbly cluster under the bulge. Punch up and left to a sloper then up crimps and pebbles to the top. Fun moves, solid rock,safe landing. There is a true sit start (John Stack FA?) at likely V12 that starts with the small pebble cluster for the L and an undercling on a pebble low and right. Jump for the pocket and continue.


Crashpad or two to pad adjacent boulders.

Photos of Mongolian Cosmonaut Slideshow Add Photo
Rock Climbing Photo: Jonathan Lantz on Mongolian Cosmonaut
Jonathan Lantz on Mongolian Cosmonaut
Rock Climbing Photo: -
Rock Climbing Photo: -
Rock Climbing Photo: -

Comments on Mongolian Cosmonaut Add Comment
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Comments displayed oldest to newestSkip Ahead to the Most Recent Dated Mar 23, 2010
By Chip Phillips
From: Broomfield, CO
Apr 12, 2004

Good contribution Peter. Hope you don't mind if I add my 2 cents.

A number of folks have recently confirmed that MC is in the neighborhood of V9. Some still argue for V10. Small pebbles continue to dislodge from the underbelly of the boulder.

A few years back, Rob Candelaria did MC from LOW sit-start starting with both hands underneath the bulge. Rob called it V10/11 and projected it for a long time. According to John Stack, he never did the LOW start. There is also the higher start that more people are trying which begins LH on the slopey gaston & RH in the shallow pocket (this eliminates the crux first move).

One thing is for sure, this is one of the safest lines on Amphitheater's Left Side. A pad (and maybe a spotter) is all you need. Most of the rest of the lines, regardless of their grade, will have you crying for your mommy and Paulie's Big Bertha.
By Chip Phillips
From: Broomfield, CO
Apr 12, 2004

Hey Matt ... yeah like a lot of Flag afficianados I've got a broken hold on my mantel.

Anyway, the history, banter and grade-mongering on MC is about as bad as it gets on Flag. We've certainly done little to clear it up. Looks like we should agree that MC is somewhere between V8 and V11 depending on what holds you start on. Pick some holds and have fun.

Mongolian BBQ huh? Sounds like a low start from those edges around the corner to the right up underneath the lip up into Pat Ament's High Overhang topout. I did High Overhang once and hope to never be anywhere near that topout again - disturbing at best. Thanks for the beta.
By Colin Lantz
From: Nederland, CO
Apr 20, 2004

OK, Mongolian Cosmonaut esoterica revealed. Don't bother to read on if you don't revel in curious drivel and mind-numbing obscurity. I've seen Skip do the problem a few times. He started it right hand in the pocket and left underneath the bulge. The hard move being the left hand going to the _sloping thing with the finger divot_ (Samet) alternatively referred to as the _left-hand sloping gaston_ (Phillips). This start made sense because the FA was done in the b.p. era (before pad). Sitting on the ground (not on a pad), it is not possible (for most) to start left hand on the _sloping thing with the finger divot_. This new soft V8 start must be the result of stacked pads. IMHO - MC (in it's original sequence) is now V9 and getting harder as the right hand pocket-edge keeps deteriorating. There used to be a little bit more of a cutter edge in the pocket (little crystals keep breaking away). The reality is that the left hand isn't doing much in the original start. Getting that move is all about doing a one-arm pull on the right hand, popping to the sloper/divot with the left and resetting on it as you crank for the slopey pebble.
By Colin Lantz
From: Nederland, CO
Apr 20, 2004

BTW - somewhere in the mid 90's I did an sds to Ament's High Overhang problem that Samet refers to above and called it Mongolian BBQ. The landing is scary but it is possible to spot. The scariest part is probably being the spotter as you stand a good chance of being knocked of the top of the block in the event of a fall. I cannot recall much about the difficulty but it could not have been more than V3 or V4 considering the time spent on it (an hour or so).
By Chip Phillips
From: Broomfield, CO
Apr 20, 2004

Colin - thanks for the shedding some light on how Skip started MC and the disintegration of the starting pocket.
By dudarino
Apr 16, 2007

Has anyone climbed the M.C. in the past 8 months? It seems that the last of the doable feet have broken off. It seems way harder now than a year and a half ago.
By Justin Roth
Jan 27, 2008

Lowball Flag choss classic -- gotta love it. To answer question about recent attempts: feet seem fine and good as of tonight (big right pebble for right toe and big left pebble for left, with a slight back step twisting the right hip up). Friction was good, and a friend and I put some laps in on the version where you start left up on the sloping thing with the finger divot. Soft for 8 for sure. Perhaps more like 7. Conditions dependent, of course. Tried from the sit w/ left down on scrungly pebble cluster pinch and found it quite hard. Prolly 9 or so. So, my superspray 2 cents based on about an hour and a half of dicking around: 7+ from the high start, 9 from the low. God knows what from the lowlow.
By Peter Beal
From: Boulder Colorado
May 29, 2008

I updated the grade to the current consensus. I think V9 is appropriate at this point.
By Peter Beal
From: Boulder Colorado
Jun 12, 2008

Having just repeated this problem after many many tries, I would propose a low V10 grade as a plausible option, especially if it's warmer than 60 degrees out, however ridiculous that may sound. The left sloper gets very slippery to hold and move off of so that even if the first move goes well, you can fall higher on the "easy" climbing. Visit my blog mountainsandwater.blogspot.com... for video of the problem.
By Lubar
Mar 23, 2010

Does this start underneath the bulge on the two finger pocket/pinch with the LH and the pod above for the RH?
By Chip Phillips
From: Broomfield, CO
Mar 23, 2010

Matt, I would like to think most of your Qs about MC can be answered here:


When you get there, use the miniguide for Amphitheater - Frontside to sort out the three versions of MC.

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