North Face (a.k.a. Wyrick-Merrill)
5.4 C1 R
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Climbing the dubious bolt ladder on pitch one.
Pitch 1 - Climb a museum-quality bolt ladder up the face and into a chimney finishing at a semi-hanging belay. This pitch is a bolting history lesson complete with buttonheads, star drive-ins, 30 year old 1/4 inch machine bolts etc... (C1)
Pitch 2 -Continue up the mud chimney past an old ring angle climbing mostly free. When the chimney pinches down, work up to the right onto dirty ledges. From here, the route traverses up and right on the dirty ledges until you are below another obvious chimney. Aid a small bulge using an old fixed pin and continue up the easy chimney to a bolted anchor. (5.4 R, C1)
Pitch 3 - Scramble along the top of the tower to the gap that separates you from the summit. (4th class)
Pitch 4 - Rappel 25 feet into the notch and climb out the other side via a chimney which pinches down to offwidth at the top. (5.8 or C1)
Descent: Reverse the Route.
A large set of small nuts for leaving on the old bolts on the first pitch. 1 Set of cams from black Alien to #3.5 Camalot (#4 Camalot optional). Doubles in #.5 - #1 Camalots. Tri-Cams: 1 Pink, 1 Red, 1 Brown. A few Tie-Offs. Butterfly Rivet Hangers are nice to have.
|Photos of North Face (a.k.a. Wyrick-Merrill) Slideshow
BETA PHOTO: North Face Route
A typical example of the quality fixed gear on the...
Looking down at spooky, 5.4 climbing on pitch 2.
Ben K, leading the 1st pitch.
BETA PHOTO: View down the nasty mud gully (1st pitch). What a...
Raw terror is expressed at the shaky belay by Aaro...
|Comments on North Face (a.k.a. Wyrick-Merrill)
|By Joe Forrester|
From: Palo Alto, CA
Dec 15, 2005
The bolts truly are very old on the first pitch. I couldn't help but laugh as I was climbing. This was a fun little climb and has less commitment than any of the fishers down river a bit. There is another variation that continues up the chimney on pitch 2 and then just traveses along the top of the tower. Climbers who are unfamiliar with archaic desert bolt ladders might find this climb to be a bit scarier than the typical c1 route. Be prepared for zest.
|By Bryan Gartland|
From: Helena, MT
Dec 15, 2005
So, is the free climbing 5.4 or 5.8?
|By Ben Kiessel|
Jun 18, 2007
I totally agree that the 40 year old bolts you are forced to use in the desert add to the experience. But does it make it a better or worse experience?
|By Ben Kiessel|
Apr 8, 2008
Sorry Cam. It won't happen again.
From: Colorado Springs, CO
Apr 11, 2009
rating: 5.6 C1 R
Wow, my first desert aid climb, my first mud tower. Also my friends first aid climb ever. It took us three days to top it out. Grade III means three days right? The first day we drove out there around noon and had trouble looking for a road to drive towards it. Turns out the road is closed and by that time we decided it was too late to start up anyways. The next day we came back a little earlier and after carefully picking our way through the desert terrain for several hours we finally made it to the base. I let my friend lead the first pitch bolt ladder and after freezing for a few hours he exclaimed, "I can't do it, I'm just too tired. Fortunately I could lower him down and I finished up the pitch but by the time we were both at the anchors it was getting dark so we fixed both of our ropes and rappelled all the way past our previous approach difficulties. The next day we ascended to the anchors and I noticed the 4th piece of the anchor was moving. So quickly moving into the 5.4 R/X section I slowed down to enjoy the fact that I could possibly die. Reaching the anchors I did the rest of the climbing. The exposed jump across to the only good anchor in my opinion. Rapped down into the notch and climbed the weird summit block. Set up a tyrolean. Basically did all the work, while freezing. This would be a good summer route. Scary and an education in different kinds of crappy fixed gear and scary climbing. Probably a good intro to the Fisher's, guess I'll find out.
P.S. The nice slings, biners, and lockers on the first anchor are mine. We did a double rope rap from the false summit in the dark and none of us were able to reach the first pitch anchors. My theory on why it was left there I'm guessing the second thought we were going to have to rap off there so they left the gear. We brought webbing to replace the green tat we cut off. Instead we left more expensive stuff. Oh well.
Apr 12, 2009
rating: 5.8 C1 R
Pffft...piece of cake, right? My first aid lead and it was on a solid 130 feet of quarter-inchers with wingnuts. I pumped out before reaching the first anchor, so a buddy finished that up.
Topping out on the summit via a tyrolean traverse was fun (scary). The rock is considerably better after the first two pitches. I mean, it's no longer mud at that point.
If you have two 60m ropes then you can rap all the way down from the top of the third pitch anchors (skipping the scary-as-shit first anchor). It's very close, though, so make sure you stay left in the chimney on the rap down. Otherwise, you'll have to swing left to the ledge at the start. Tie knots on your ends just in case.
Feb 18, 2012
Two wingnut rivits blew out on Feb. 12th. The first one was passed using a tomahawk in the dimple and the second forced us to rap off... equlized two horrible ring wafers (tied off) and bailed. The next party should take a drill to fix the highest pulled rivit at least. I still have the first rivit, it was in about 3/8ths of an inch. It blew out after I was on it for a minute. No bounce testing either, just your standard Fisher Towers "ooze" from one peice of fixed mank to another.
Edit: the first blew out just about where the climber is in the picture marked "Climbing the dubious bolt ladder on pitch one", the second about 3 moves higher.
|By Jeremy Aslaksen|
From: Albuquerque, NM
Feb 20, 2012
Don't bother with this pile...go do The Flow or Rasta Wall if you want to climb River Tower.
Let the bolts fall out.
Feb 20, 2012
What Jeremy said....
80 ft bolt ladder of rusted crud to muddy 5.4 chimmney. Although the ridge climbing is sort of neat.
and they will fall out, some sooner than later.