Stairway to Heaven
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Overview of the route
Stairway to heaven:
Hike from the campground at the base of the chief, turn left near the shelter at the back of the campsite, traverse along a trail at the bottom of the cliff until a gulley appears on the left that allows you to scramble to a fixed rope. Cruise up the two fixed handlines to the base of the Slot machine. Women in comfortable shoes starts about 60 feet to the left.
Woman in comfortable shoes 10a
p1 10a go straight right (back towards Slot machine) following a small dyke feature for your feet, and occasional micro crimps for your hands. A tough start to the day, especially for the outside of your left foot.
p2 8 Continue right past a bolt and over the top of slot machine (optional #2 camalot), when reaching the offwidth flake, head up another 15 feet to the anchor. A short pitch.
p3 10a continue up small crack for about 10 feet, then head out onto the slab for some good ol fashioned padding. Share the anchor at the top of slot machine.
Xenolith dance 10b
p4 10b a very fun pitch, but sustained. Follow the series of nubins, edges, and pockets out and left then straight up to the anchor.
p5 10a some additional nubbins lead to padding to the top. A nice finish for this two pitch section.
Walk up the obvious trail and then head off to the left towards the main face of the grand wall. The trail ends at that fixed line across an exposed 15ft ledge getting you to a bolted anchor.
Land of freedom 10a
p6 10a start in a dirty corner with roots and a tree stump. Clip two bolts then take a delicate step out and left to get to another diagonal dyke that heads up and to the left. Continue on to the anchors and enjoy the view.
Continue up the obvious trail up and left until you find a fixed rope that takes you up a 6 foot cliff band. Climb the old ratty rope and continue left for another 20 feet to the obvious flake.
p7 9 Climb up the crack using nice jams and good feet (optional #2 camalot). Clip the bolt and move out onto the face up to the tree anchor at the top.
Continue hiking up and left towards a nice trail at the top of Tantulus wall. While quite exposed, flip-flops worked just fine for the hike. Find the correct trail to get you out onto Bellygood. There is a set of anchors in the corner.
Belly good ledge 5.root-pull
p7a not really much of a pitch, but the first 5-10 feet are a little airy and dirty. After that, walk the ledge out past a bolt until you reach the anchors at the base of millennium falcon (near a tree, ~120 feet).
The next three pitches provide the hardest climbing on the route, with good distances between bolts.
Millennium falcon 10c
p8 10a a nice pitch, although there is some distance between the bolts. Head up and right following generally good holds. The pitch is fairly sustained, but there are good rests in-between the individual cruxes.
p9 10c the crux pitch of the route. Head out right then back left on some delicate edges to a large crack. Follow the crack for another ~30 feet of fairly easy climbing (#2 camalot optional). Make the step up on the large block before you can clip the bolt, then head out and right to some difficult moves over a jagged roof.
The universal key 10b
p10 a hard and sustained pitch, some distance between bolts. Start up the dihedral with positive but reachy holds till the roof above your head forces you out and to the right. A difficult padding move gets you onto a dirty ledge. Continue right until you hit the first of two cracks. Make an exciting step across (again, very reachy) then head up to a surprising finish. I thought the was the hardest pitch on the route.
Traverse of the gods 9
p11 start by walking left on a nice ledge until it pinches off and you are forced onto the slab. Pad across the slab until reaching the start of a dyke feature passing the first set of anchors you see, stopping at the second belay. Described in the guidebook at 5.9, its really a 5.8 (see next pitch)
p12 continue on the dyke feature passing bolts that are very hard to see until you are almost on top of them. The climbing has a very similar feel to women in confortable shoes, just a grade easier. Traverse to the black dyke, then head up and left to an anchor below a large roof near a tree. Described in the guidebook as 5.8, its really fairly sustained 5.9.
The upper black dyke 10a
p13 head out onto the main black dyke feature climbing exit 38 style rock, clipping bolts along the way. The crux of the pitch is no particular move, rather its finding the good holds that allow you to move up. Watch for the loose rock not only for your partner, but the several routes below on the main grand wall.
Continue up and left to Penthouse Wall. Walk past a memorial to Mr. Ciechanowski, then take a short fixed handline down to the trail. The first route you come to (about 30 feet) is the next pitch.
Mr. Ciechanowski 10a
p14 - (right most route on the Penthouse). Easier than it looks, follow nice jugs over the roof to a nice series of edges up to the anchor. Reachy again.
Walk left to Raven's Castle (starting on the very far left side and up a gulley, start out the dyke heading across the wall)
Joe's Dyke 5.6
p15 easy padding past a few bolts. A short pitch. You can start waving at the tourists from here on.
Ladies First 10a
p16 Head out and left from the anchor to a small ramp that leads to a flake. This pitch provides a little sting in the tail of a nice long route.
Starts near the bullet heads, ends at the Raven's castle, traversing the entire right side of the Chief.
12 bolts, optional #2 camalot (or a #2 link cam)
|Comments on Stairway to Heaven
|By Kenn Sippell|
From: Vancouver, British Columbia
Sep 4, 2012
This route is not on the grand wall and should likely be classified as being in the bulletheads or bellygood. Nice to leave the rack at home. A great day out.