Classic crack climbing in a wilderness setting. Sound familiar? This route is a great example of why people climb in the desert in the first place. Generous amounts of fist jams, wavy hands through a steep bulge, a few feet of offwidth keeps it scrappy before busting some face moves, thin hands crux (ring locks for my paws-tight #1 C4s), with a roof directly above for some juggy, but sandy fun. Easier after the roof. Since the route is rarely done, it's a bit crunchy, but if you wanted stonker granite, you wouldn't be bushwhacking around the least climbed side of Mescalito, would you?
Finding the route is the crux of the day-the best I can tell you is that there's two side-by-side cracks going through a roof, they look sexy as hell from the wash, and you should pass CITH, walk another 100 feet, and start looking for 4th class access trending up and right towards the chimney "sit start." The area is very brushy-wear a longsleeve and jeans for the scrub oak if not the fist sections. A helpful hint if you can locate Crack Rock's finishing headwall crack (overhanging chocolate thin crack waay up there)-these cracks are down and just left of that route. I saw a fixed rope hanging up there while that route was being worked, so that would be the landmark for me.
Standard rack would leave you high and dry on this one-I brought the creek rack, and used a lot of it my first time on the route. Placed one #10 stopper, a blue TCU above the roof, and the guts of the rack would be a .75, two or three (more if not used to desert sandstone) #1s, 2s, and 3s. You won't regret having a #4 as well for the burly fist start, but the big cams are more useful on the route directly to the right. UPDATE: there is a shared anchor that popped up a year or 2 ago which gets you down with a 70, looks like a good way to do these routes if you're not going higher than the splitters. If continuing past these chains, a second rope and some bail webbing and/or nuts are probably key.
Dec 25, 2007
A good thing to know about both these routes is to keep an eye out for the anchors after pulling the roof. My buddy was leading OB Fist (close enough for him to snag my #4 before I headed through the roof) beside me, and he ended up in slabby, no-holds, chossville nowheresland until herculean fighting the rope drag and shite for pro got him over to the crack system holding the fixed nut anchors. There is a second pitch above, but it looked really short-40 feet short. Also looked piss easy, but that might just be me.
Dec 25, 2007
I replaced the crusty, rotten slings with a hole in them at the anchors. Enjoy the brand new slings when you get there.
On a pesonal note, I revisited this route twice last year, and found a double rack suited me fine. Members of my party had varying thoughts on the grade, but everyone enjoyed the route. The second pitch anchor was funky, eroding nuts. Matter of fact, the first pitch anchor was funky, eroding nuts. There's now a shared anchor with chain between the two OB routes that allows rapping with a 70. If going higher than this anchor, bring double ropes and slings to replace them, this area gets a lot of sun.