This fantastic route is another one of the classics out at Humbug Spires. This climb has jamming to face climbing to offwidthing to chimneying in 5 pitches. While no move is harder than 5.8 the route is rather sustained in nature and packs a bit of a punch. Shares the first pitch with the also excellent Mutt and Jeff.
Pitch 1 - 5.7
Climb the flake aiming towards the two side by side bolts. Marvel at how unlikely it is that the 1/4 pinhead bolt will actually hold as you traverse into the crack to the right of the small roof. Climb up and follow the crack for about 25 feet until you notice a couple of horns and knobs to your left that lead into a small dihedral. Climb up a few feet to protect and then put your big boy pants on. Traverse the 20 feet left into the dihedral and then continue up to the crack until you reach some webbing. Sling out your placement that you place once you hit the dihedral or prepare for suicide inducing rope drag. Bring extra webbing and a #1 camalot to back up the anchor.
Pitch 2 - 5.8
After climbing up around 20 feet take the right crack that leads to the right corner of the cyclops eye. Just before getting to the chimney step left to a small ledge that has 2 bolts on it.
Pitch 3 - 5.8
Step right off the belay ledge aiming for the chimney formation that takes you to the right of the cyclops eye. Clip two terrible looking bolts and then sling a nut on the third, using the attached wingnut to make sure it stays on. Ask yourself what the hell you are doing and then continue up the chimney. If you are wearing a backpack I'd suggest trailing it before braving the bowels of the chimney. Continue up the chimney until reaching a vertical crack. Continue on this vertical crack until a horizontal crack appears on the left (takes a great #2!) and then traverse back into the chimney. Continue up until there are some large wedged chalkstones that make for a great belay spot. This pitch can be a bit intimidating as the rock can get rather "kitty littery" if you get even a little off route. Hold on tight.
Pitch 4 - 5.6/7
Continue up the large crack for 70ish feet. Stop here to belay or if you are feeling brave and don't mind the rope drag continue to the summit. Build an anchor on the ridgeline of the formation.
Pitch 5 - 5.3/5.4
Get your slab runout face on! Really easy climbing with one placement in the 100 ft of climbing. Heels down and mantle your way on up until you reach the anchor bolts at the top. Marvel at the view! Contemplate how the hell you will get down!
The descent is possibly one of the scariest parts of this climb. Head north towards the mountains following the ridge. Crane your neck and you will see in the distance along a thin 3 foot knife edge a bunch of bolts. Your goal is to get to these. Stay roped in for this maneuver; it is a lot weirder than it looks. Poo yourself a little as you walk across the knife edge and look for a couple of placements along the way. Clip on in and breathe easy. A 70 meter rope will just BARELY make it to the ground if you are fat. If you are thin the last 5 feet of this rappel is going to suck. If you don't have one of them fancy 70 meter ropes then there are intermediate bolts for you use. Enjoy the 4 mile hike out!
The route is in a gorgeous valley about 4 miles down the trail from the trailhead. From the trailhead follow the trail until you climb a rather rough switchbacking section. Just make sure to stay left here and continue following the obvious trail. About 1/2 a mile before the end of the trail the wedge will come into view from a large meadow. This climb starts approx. in the middle and heads left at the large roof (Cyclops Eye) and then goes out of view. The base of the climb is at a large flake and you can see a singular bolts about 60 foot of the deck below a small roof. See above for descent info.
View from the top.
Gear to 4 inches. My example rack : singles #2 C3 -.4 camalot, doubles .5-#3 and a single #4. The #4 could be left at home but I placed it on every pitch. Single thing of nuts and slings to reduce drag.
BETA PHOTO: Topo for Southwest Face
Hangerless bolts should always come with wingnuts.
|By Matt Wenger|
Jul 1, 2014
Pitch 3 gets runout (25-30ft) moving out of the chimney until you hit the horizontal crack. Step carefully.
Aug 5, 2014
The pitch 3 description here states: "Continue up the chimney until reaching a vertical crack. Continue on this vertical crack until a horizontal crack appears on the left (takes a great #2!) and then traverse back into the chimney." I chose to continue straight up the vertical crack for another 30-40 feet or so past the horizontal (as is shown in the '95 Falcon guide) until it ended, where I made a face traverse left to a nice belay ledge. This eliminated one pitch and provided what appears to be much better climbing. The second can be reasonably protected for the traverse.
The pitch 3 runout Matt is describing can in part be protected with 1/2 to 3/4 inch cams.