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Helen's Dome
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Fractured Fairytales 
On the Bus 
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Sticks 'n' Stones 
Unknown on South Face 

Sticks 'n' Stones 

YDS: 5.9 French: 5c Ewbanks: 17 UIAA: VI British: HVS 5a

Type: Trad, 7 pitches
Consensus:  YDS: 5.9 French: 5c Ewbanks: 17 UIAA: VI British: HVS 5a [details]
FA: P1-4: Mabe/Juth, P5-7: Mabe/Hubbel, summer 2005
New Route: Yes
Page Views: 2,351
Submitted By: Darren Mabe on Feb 28, 2007
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BETA PHOTO: Basic Topo of Sticks'n'Stones. First half climbs H...

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While either can break your bones, Sticks 'n' Stones is a dual personality route -- part bolted slab, part trad. The "Sticks" part climbs the right side of Helen's, in 4 slab pitches, and continues to the "Stones" part, which actually climbs the right side of Acid in 3 trad pitches. It may seem annoying to drag all that gear up the first half, but it is well worth it for the rest of it. Especially the surprise ending...an overhanging thin hands V-slot; an excellent 5.10+ pitch on an otherwise moderate route. You might be able to avoid it, however, by traversing off to a gully (some loose rock).

This route was established on lead, onsight, and free drilling stances.

P1: Start just right of the big ledge. An ascending, leftward traverse along excellent intrusion features. Belay at a 2 bolt anchor on a small ramp. (5.8) 75' 7 bolts.

P2: Steep, slab moves lead up and over a small overlap. Work up the slab to a large hueco you can stand in, and follow the worn water runnel to a ramp belay at the start of a right-facing dihedral. (5.7) 120', 9 bolts.

P3: Amazing how things work out like you want them. Follow the dihedral to a point where you commit to the exhilirating step around. Continue on well featured edges to an 'oasis' belay ledge. The difficulty here drops considerably, as does the bolt count! (5.6) 165', 8 bolts.

P4: no bolts. From the oasis, continue up and left around the corner to the top of Helen's, belay from gear (#2 Camalot suffices). (5.4) approximately 100', no bolts!

Now, the hike. Go across Helen's summit slabs and work your way up the saddle to Acid rock. On the far right side of Acid, right of the large corner (this is the large, RF corner of the raps of the Unknown and Divine Miss M), is a series of low-angled dihedrals and flakes. The "stones" part of the route....

P5: get yer rack out. Climb the connecting right-facing overlaps and corners until they disappear. Double up your last piece and commit to the face (5.9) up to a bolt, then fire up more slab to a suitable belay ledge. I hand-drilled this bolt on lead. (There should still be a DO NOT REMOVE sticker on it.) 120'.

P6: climb the bulge right off the belay via thin hands flake (5.9), slightly dicey move leaving the crack and working into a long and wide right facing corner. There is a large loose block on this pitch, so be careful, you can climb around it. Continue laybacking up a flake, (a #4 Camalot is nice to have) exit the dihedral to the left to a good belay ledge. Small TCU placement and single bolt for a belay. (5.7) 115'.

P7: interesting and exciting! Although there is a crumby lookin' wide crack above, I opted for the seam traverse straight right and around the corner. At the top of this corner, move back left to the overhanging thin hands tight V-slot #0.75 and #1 Camalots (5.10). Watch for drag on this pitch. -OR- it may be possible to avoid the v-slot finish traversing right on some severely decomposed and broken terrain to a gully and Acid summit (5.6?).

Descent: boogey to the Acid/Helen's descent trail. or for full value, continue to velcro wall, and summit sheeprock, for over 1000' of climbing fun. Allow for a full day due to all the adventure hiking and descent logistics.


This is located in the center of the far right, south-facing flanks of Helen's. Hike as you would to Fractured Fairytales, but keep going. If you get to a huge, left-facing flake, you went too far. Sticks starts just right of the ledge of Brave Cowboy. You can avoid the opening slab pitches entirely and hike up to Acid Rock on the right. but don't sell yourself short! You're on a Platte adventure!


2 ropes (only if you are planning on rapping Sticks). Approach shoes to get up to Acid, as well as the walk off descent. 10 QDs incl a few runners, SR up to #4 Camalot.. and an extra #0.75 and #1 Camalot.

Photos of Sticks 'n' Stones Slideshow Add Photo
Detail of upper pitches on Acid Rock.
BETA PHOTO: Detail of upper pitches on Acid Rock.
P1 of Sticks 'n' Stones on S Face of Helen's.
BETA PHOTO: P1 of Sticks 'n' Stones on S Face of Helen's.
rob following p5
rob following p5
Leka following the first pitch
Leka following the first pitch
bugling at the oasis belay, sticks'n'stones, helens dome, splatte
bugling at the oasis belay, sticks'n'stones, helen...
At the end of P1, good perspective I thought.
At the end of P1, good perspective I thought.
Comments on Sticks 'n' Stones Add Comment
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By Casey Bernal
From: Arvada, CO
Mar 24, 2007

re-posted from Jun 5, 2006:
P1 190' 16 bolts small cams or nuts for start [FA p1 anchor bolts chopped]
P2 180' ?12? bolts + nuts in bad rock at a chopped bolt.

sustained, fun, and interesting climbing.

By Casey Bernal
From: Arvada, CO
Apr 29, 2007

I replaced most of the "limp stud" bolts with the FA's permission. This route is now in the condition of the first ascent except for the first bolt at the start.

Current route conditions:
P1: 80' 6?bolts, two-bolt anchor, no rap rings. Gear for start only: 0.75-2".

P2: 120' 9?bolts, two-bolt anchor.

P3: 175' 8?bolts, three-bolt anchor.

P4: 1 hangerless stud. (easy)

Top out on Helen's or rap the route. Two double-rope raps: 175', 190'.

By brent pohlmann
From: San Francisco, CA
Jul 25, 2008

Can anyone give me beta on finding the start of Fractured Fairytales?