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North Country 

YDS: 5.10 French: 6b Ewbanks: 20 UIAA: VII- ZA: 19 British: E2 5b

Type:  Trad, 3 pitches, 500'
Original:  YDS: 5.10 French: 6b Ewbanks: 20 UIAA: VII- ZA: 19 British: E2 5b [details]
FA: Charley Jones, Victor Marcus, Jim Orey, C Stanborough, 1975
Page Views: 942
Submitted By: John Robinson on Sep 27, 2010

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BETA PHOTO: Information on getting to an Alcove where you can ...

Seasonal Raptor Closure MORE INFO >>>


The first pitch is interesting and a bit of an adventure (for a description of the first pitch, see comments below) The second pitch can be done without doing the first pitch. (See Beta Photo or read Location information below) The second pitch is excellent hand and finger jams and takes gear well with a couple of fixed pieces also. I know nothing about the 3rd pitch or beyond (there are comments regarding climbing beyond the second pitch in the comments below).


This route (I am only referring to the pitch of North Country that starts at the ledge where Dragon Back and Absolutely Brilliant start - See Beta Photo) and others (second pitch of North Face, Absolutely Brilliant, Dragon Back, a 5.9 unnamed OW (just right of North Face), and Wall Flower) Start in (or Near) an alcove (Wide flat bench) at the base of the second pitch of North Face. To get to this alcove you can go up Stem Mister then continue up on easier terrain or do the first pitch of North Face. This is a great place to spend the day climbing away from the public. You might even mow the lawn that is there. To access Absolutely Brilliant, North country and Dragon Back you will need to 3rd class down and right from the alcove (previously described) approx 40' and then up an easy section to a bushy ledge that you can traverse along. For information on accessing this climb see Beta Photo herein. To do the First Pitch and third Pitch (and beyond) of North Country refer to the comments section below.


Standard Rack

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By caughtinside
From: Oakland CA
Jun 4, 2012

The third pitch of this route takes the prominent vertical crack on the headwall and goes straight up. The crack thins down and you go past a couple good pins before trending up and right on dikes past a bolt to a belay. Great pitch.
By TradladReno
From: South Lake Tahoe, Ca
Jun 3, 2015
rating: 5.10 6b 20 VII- 19 E2 5b

So Caughtinside describes a third pitch, which my partner and I found to be identical to our second pitch. This is one hell of an adventurous route, accompanied with huge loose blocks, obscure route beta, mossy cracks, lichen-covered smears, loose holds, stout mantels to incredibly bushy ledges, creative route-finding, and one hell of a long "third" pitch. Go try it if you're down for adventure. Stellar route. The only piece of advice that I will pitch forth is this: Don't try to do it in three pitches, four is more realistic, and five would give you a great warm-fuzzy. I was crippled by rope drag on the last pitch.
By Colonel Mustard
From: Sacramento, CA
Aug 1, 2015

This a memorable route. The quality pitch (2nd or 3rd, as described above) is continuously vertical with jams and face climbing. If it were slightly more buffed up and on the ground, it would be very well known and traveled.

Pitch 1: The 5.7 approach pitch as described by John Robinson. Belay on bolts directly under the distinctive, right leaning crack of North Face.

Pitch 2: Down and to the right, then up a column to the bushy ledge, clipping the two anchors for Absolutely Brilliant, then Dragonback, then down a bit and around a bush before going back up to build an anchor on a slung block and several finger to hand pieces. Sling long on this pitch. 5.5.

Pitch 3: The money. It was over 35m of climbing to two beefy metolius rap hangers. Two rope rap could get you down to Dragonback or Absolutely Brilliant anchors where you could then rap with just a 70m for two raps to the ground using the Cheap Shot anchors. Fingers to hands, three pitons and a bolt. 5.10.


Pitch 4: 65m-70m of climbing. Expect Lover's Leap in its pristine, ungardened state. Yes, you will use the hummock jug. We took a bushy system of cracks straight up and left around an overhanging dihedral. Left after getting over the obvious exit to the bulging section, then up to some pretty rotten rock. Finally, a decision to continue up and left in slabby gully, or up and right on interesting fingers to hands. I chose the fingers to hands and believe it was probably 5.9/5.10a climbing with a fair bit of choss, vegetation, rope drag, and sandy ledges thrown in for good measure. A good chunk of rock fell here. The belay left me with 10'-15' of the 70m rope remaining. Fingers to a #4 camalot, several pins. Bring lots of slings. 5.9/5.10a.

Pitch 5: One last, bouldery pitch trending left, then up, taking care to avoid loose blocks. ~40'. Finger to hand size pieces. 5.8/5.9.

It was a cool way to explore the upper reaches of The Main Wall, as you will be well above the finish of corrugation corner. Great exposure on this route, you will really feel the height of The Leap.

EDIT: As Sal points out in his inimitable style below, I want to be clear that the first two pitches I describe are a variation to the original route. Do check out the North Face bowl though, there is a lot to climb in this area a 150' above the corrugating crew.
By Salamanizer
From: Vacaville Ca.
Aug 2, 2015

The route described in this beta section is not North Country, it's a variation that skips the good climbing for easier but dirtier and less memorable climbing to avoid the mid 5.10 first pitch and short bulge on the second pitch. It does get you to the the "money" pitch all be it with much trouble, route finding and gardening, but in reality, you only actually climb one pitch on North Country.

North Country is a pretty direct line. You only traverse about 15 ft right at the top of pitch 1.
By Colonel Mustard
From: Sacramento, CA
Aug 2, 2015

I would disagree on several counts. Certainly, what I characterize as the "money pitch" is mid-5.10 climbing. It is also good, and memorable climbing.

Second, if you actually top out the climb, you shall - as near as I can tell - encounter several pitches of much "trouble, route finding, and gardening" no matter what you do, so good luck with that.

I will admit to not spotting the proper line to the money pitch from below. I did want to do the original line, but what I thought looked like the line is bristling with several newer looking bolts (one with a carabiner a dangling). It is not Yankee Dog, I am familiar with the line, but about 15' to the right. Not knowing what the hell I was looking at and believing the hype of the "money pitch" and rain coming down, I went for the admitted variation I knew would go. To be clear, I'm not saying I didn't do a variation. Sorry to once again sacrilege a route description, Sal, LOL! Serious bidness here?! Cheers, you Tahoe hardman!

In the end, I had a fun, adventurous time, though watching the helicopter short haul another fallen victim off The Line was not such.
By Salamanizer
From: Vacaville Ca.
Aug 2, 2015

Na! I just saw that the route description for North Country was not for the actual line, but for a variation that skips the first two good pitches and lands you at the beginning of the third "money pitch". Which is the last good pitch on the route before you get into all that easy ledgy stuff.
I'm not saying the variation totally sucks, but it's not North Country anymore than walking around to climb only the second half of Travelers Buttress without starting at the bottom - is climbing the route "Travelers Buttress" Na' mean?

Alas! I feel compelled to point out that you did not "Disagree" on any counts, least several of them. In fact, you agreed on all accounts be it that the "money pitch" is quite good, and you admittedly did climb the variation which avoids the first half of the actual route. Which was the original intent of my post good sir!

Now, on to more serious matter in that knowing you did not climb the entire "actual route", one must feel compelled, even overwhelmingly so to go back and give this one "another go" as it were. Whence that time comes I should feel compelled to offer you, unimpeachable beta steadfast in its resolve with the most delineation possible in its clarity.

Being that as it were, I shall summarize a brief pictorial of the actual start of said route for you, thus you shall not fail at another attempt and be forced to return thrice.

Brief Description

Approximately 5' to 8' left of "Absolutely Billy", you will spy the wide (bushy) and quite obvious crack that is the start of "The Slash". Beyond this crack you will look up to see a shallow right facing corner approximately 12' to 15' feet to the left, which appears to lead to nowhere. At it's base, which is approximately another 5' to 8' beyond "the Slash", there is a steep "ramp like" feature which hides a piton amongst a very thin crack midway up this short (10' to 15') precipice. From here you will clip a bolt hanger with your preferred accoutrement before stepping out left into the previously stated "left facing corner". Perhaps this is where your stated "bolt line" is, as there is a newer route of much difficulty that cuts through the headwall among seemingly absent features least only a few feet right of the main corner one wishes to be in should they wish to follow the route "North Country". Follow this steep nearly overhanging corner until you reach an overhanging section defined by seemingly loose blocks, which in all reality are quite solid. Which is more than one can say for the next section. That is; traverse from just beyond this precarious overhang to ones right, stepping down and finding the most suitable avenue from which to complete this traverse. Which is an excitingly exposed traverse tiptoeing across "less than desirable conditions" before one finds possible exit by once again ascending skyward to a gentile and spacious ledge which hosts a most agreeable two bolt anchor on it far northward (climbers left) position.

From here, one climbs the second pitch beyond a piton through a crack most un-pleasurable to the eye from below. This is "the bulge", but not to be feared. When one ascends into its midst, the most agreeable features appear and ones loathsome attitude quickly is replaced by much joy, though only to be brought back down to normalcy by the expended foliage ridden trough that lies above. However, do no be discouraged by this "trough" as it's character is neither particularly agreeable nor disagreeable.

Beyond this trough is a precarious purch from which to build an anchor. Beyond this perch is the long sought after "money pitch" of North Country.

I hope this description bids you well in your journeys. Good day sir!
By Colonel Mustard
From: Sacramento, CA
Aug 4, 2015

I truly appreciate the route description, you smart ass!

I'll have to get on those pitches next time.
By John Robinson
From: Elk Grove, ca
Apr 28, 2016

Salmanizer and Colonel Mustard: I made changes to my Description and Location section. If you two can come to an agreement as to what is appropriate for changes to the information I provided I will be happy to make changes.

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