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BETA PHOTO: Pitch 1. We started up the gully/corner leading to...
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Described in Mike Hill's guidebook (pg. 83). His narrative describes this face as having a couple of options that can keep the climbing anywhere from 5.6-5.8 or harder (hence, the route name). His topo shows even a few more options not mentioned in the text.
We opted to try his described 5.8 line that generally follows the left-most lines on his topo (the solid lines, not the dashes), and here is what we found:
Start up a gully that leads to a left-leaning fin/ramp-like feature. At about 60m, a newish two-bolt anchor occupies a platform on the left. Aside from being harder than it looks, this pitch is loose and brushy and doesn't come with much to recommend it.
To reach the 'large grassy ledge' at the route's midpoint, you now have to pursue a hard-right ascending traverse, which is fairly blocky, and easy (and brushy).
From the left side of the large ledge, a strikingly clean open book ascends. Two fixed pins lead up this superb, but all-too-short 5.8 corner, and then you're back in the jungle. To get to the top, follow the broad corner straight up through some enjoyable hand and fist jams, although the rock quality deteriorates right at the top.
With a 70m cord, and some simul/soloing, we got out in four pitches. YMMV.
Presently, Smorgasbord is the rightmost reported route on the Shield. After the catwalk approach, walk around a buttress and come to the big left-facing corner in the face of the Shield. Find some place to start from here.
The clean-looking 150-foot corner just to the right of where we went up looks stellar! It might take some bigger gear, though. It has a slung tree at the top which you can see from below.
A typical Sandia backcountry rack (doubles from micros to gold C4, and one #3 C4) worked for us. There is a two bolt anchor atop P1, and two new-ish pins in the open book. Trees slung for rap stations abound all over this face.
BETA PHOTO: Smorgasbord (5.8, by the way plotted here), The Sh...
Nov 1, 2012
Cool to see one of the more obscure routes posted. The first pitch you have marked is also the first pitch of Last Dance 5.7 A3(which is a fun line with a short steep aid section and a super cool crystalline pitch up high).
I climbed the big left facing corner solo last fall. I thought it had been climbed before, but I trundled several loose rocks which were un-avoidable. So I don't think it has been climbed before. Almost finished with a new route that starts in the big corner.