|By Jordan Ramey|
From: Calgary, Alberta
Jul 31, 2011
Length: 205m, 6 pitches
Sun Exposure: receives a lot of sun
Time: most parties take 2.5 - 4 hours to climb the route
car-to-car: 5 - 7 hours
Difficulty: 5.10a or 5.10b (variation on P6)
Rack: Micro cams to 3" (#3 camalot), nuts
Pony Express climbs mostly excellent grey rock and follows the rib, arete, and face just left of the Unnamed (The Great Pumpkin) route. The 5.10a section is short and protected reasonably well with bolts. The rest of the climb usually has good gear or bolts whenever needed.
Start about 40m left of the ramp that starts Unnamed (The Great Pumpkin, noted for the large painted pumpkin visible on the last pitch) in the West End area.
P1 5.8 45m: Climb the short left facing corner to a couple of bolts and gain a scree ledge. continue up the steep face, passing several more bolts to a nice ledge w/ a 2 bolt anchor w/ rap rings.
P2 5.easy 30m: Climb up a few feet, then walk / scramble left across a ledge and behind a large block. Pass an anchor, then a 2 pin belay (Great Pumpkin route), and end at a nice 2 bolt anchor just left and down from the Pumpkin Route weakness.
P3 5.8 30m: Climb up and left past a micro cam placement, make an awkward move and continue up past several bolts and bypass a bulge on the left. Finish at a nice 2 ring-bolt anchor on a ledge.
P4 5.9 30m: Climb straight up the prickly face with a mix of gear and bolts. 3 closely spaced bolts protect the crux. Finish at a ring-bolt belay. P3 and P4 can be linked.
P5 5.10a 35m: The crux pitch. Head up the slab and place some gear in a hidden crack on the left. Head up to the arete and place small wires / cams in the obvious seam on the left. These protect strenuous moves to a bolt. Continue straight up the pillar past 4 more bolts and overcome a bulge to end at a nice ledge w/ a 2 bolt anchor.
Alternatively, if you wuss out at the crux (below the bolt), you can move right and join the Unnamed (Great Pumpkin) route and finish on the last 2 pitches of that climb (5.6).
P6 right variation 5.9 35m: Head straight up, clipping 3 bolts and gain a finger crack out right. Place good pro high in the crack and make a few left traversing moves to circumvent a roof and climb into a slab / groove. Follow this to the top and find the 2 bolt anchor just shy of the top on the left.
P6 left variation 5.10b 35m: Use of slings and good double rope technique will make this pitch much more manageable. Climb straight up off the belay, clipping 3 bolts. Move left and clip a 4th bolt to gain a shallow corner and finger crack. Use crack for protection and face climb to a ledge on the left. Head left to a wide exit crack and commit to an awkward mantle into a bulging corner to clip a hidden bolt on the right. Climb steeply past another bolt and follow intermittent cracks to the topout belay.
Descent: Walkoff the normal west side descent.