|West Ironing Board
This is a very serious route and it is dangerous of Rossiter to give it a mere "S" rating. There is a 300' section of rock with no decent pro at all (there is one ancient, worthless-looking bolt, see photo). This climb begins a few feet left of the Crescent Crack, and heads straight up the face between the SE ridge crest and Crescent Crack. The rock is smoother than average Flatiron rock, but it is solid and the position near the ridge crest is magnificent. This would be a popular route if it had any pro (too bad it is not a little bit steeper or Erickson might have put some more bolts on it!).
The first 30' of the face are the crux. After that, you can place a good cam in a downward crack. Cross your fingers now, this [used to be] the last decent pro for the next 300', at least it is only 5.6 from here on up. At 120', you will run into the [formerly] ancient bolt, this bolt is 10-20' above the summit of the tower to your left (Rossiter calls it The Dolomen) [this bolt was replaced by a bomber 2 bolt anchor in 2007]. From here, head up the face 200' to a belay on the left end of a crack/ledge (the 320' anchor). After this, the climbing becomes easier and you can actually find pro, too (move right and finish as with Crescent, or head left behind a big flake to the easy upper ridge).
There are at least 4 ways to climb this route:
(1) free solo (elegant and simplistic, but potentially fatal),
(2) simulclimb the first 2 pitches, then belay everyone up conga-line style (more dangerous than free soloing for a party of 2, but this technique has been used by larger parties and is safe once the first climber reaches the 320' anchor).
(3) Climb Crescent (large cams recommended) and toprope each pitch individually from that route.
(4) Climb Crescent to the 320' anchor and set up a "toprope". To find this anchor, climb 2 pitches up Crescent and find the first ledge/crack which extends left to the ridge crest. Where this crack hits the ridge is the 320' anchor. Set gear (medium-size cams) and do a single rope rap down 200' to the worthless bolt, then rap down another 120' on another rope (back bolt up to first rope!). You now essentially have set up a toprope on the crux section.
Standard Flatiron rack.
Looking down at Mark at the 320' anchor while on t...
Mark Oveson rapping off ye old historic bolt (back...
Mark Oveson about 100' up Smoother.
The view down the blunt arete that is Smoother.
|By Bruce Hildenbrand|
Oct 7, 2007
Bruce Hildenbrand and Dale Haas replaced the old, 1/4" bolt on Smoother with two 3/8"x3.5" SS Rawl 5-piece bolts. The extra bolt was added with permission from the first ascent party and a permit stating such was approved by the OSMP. Note that the two, well-camouflaged bolts are located about 5-6 feet left of Crescent Crack about 110-120 feet off the ground. The bolts were provided by the ASCA (www.safeclimbing.org); the hangers were provided by Larry Arthur at Mountain Tools (www.mtntools.com).
|By Phil Lauffen|
From: The Bubble
Sep 1, 2008
Interesting climb. After bushwhacking around the area, we actually ended up behind the West Ironing Board. After some discussion, we decided to just go up a likely looking crack on the back. After the first ascent of Cobra Fang Power(5.7+), as christened by my partner that lead it (Probably not a FA but it's fun to pretend), we ended up on Smoother pretty much right below the two bolt anchor. So we skipped most of the hard, runout part for a juggy overhang with decent pro. After that it was pretty straightforward for four or so pitches before we ran into class 3 terrain and the downclimb. Fun climb, but I can't really claim we ascended it. Oh well.
|By Roger Linfield|
Apr 22, 2010
I've only climbed this route once, as a free solo. Past the first 20 feet, it does indeed ease up to 5.6. However, it felt like there was a lot of 5.6 in the next 300 feet.
From: Salt Lake City, UT
Jul 10, 2010
I am about 530 miles away form this climb, but I have to say that after reading the description of this route, I want to get in my car now and make the 8+ hour drive out there to get on it! Sounds like a great line. What really sold me was the 4 ways to climb this route... sounds like you need to sack up tie a chalk bag around you waist and go for it! Nice....