Sticks 'n' Stones
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bugling at the oasis belay, sticks'n'stones, helen...
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. Follow the dihedral to a point where you commit to an exciting step around. Continue on well featured edges to an 'oasis' belay ledge. The difficulty here drops considerably. (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, right-facing 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 nice belay ledge, 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 layback corner. Exit the dihedral to the left to a good belay ledge. Small TCU placement and single bolt for a belay, (5.7) 115'.
P7. This is 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 #0.75-1 Camalots. Watch for drag on this pitch. -OR- it may be possible to avoid the v-slot finish by traversing right onto easier though severely decomposed and broken terrain to a gully and Acid summit.
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.
The dihedral start for an added pitch of fun climb...
At the end of P1, good perspective I thought.
BETA PHOTO: We started in this dihedral, the proper first pitc...
BETA PHOTO: P1 of Sticks 'n' Stones on S Face of Helen's.
Leka following the first pitch
BETA PHOTO: Detail of upper pitches on Acid Rock.
BETA PHOTO: Basic Topo of Sticks'n'Stones. First half climbs H...
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?
May 23, 2016
rating: 5.8+ 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c
This is a great route with each pitch being fun and interesting; bolts and gear right where you need protection. Did the traverse right instead of the 5.10+ V-slot, quick and easy with a cool tunnel up behind chockstone, best to belay before this, unrope and make easy scramble through). Highly recommend continuing on to Acid Crack on Velcro Wall to summit Sheep Rock. You can easily walk down to the raps on the 5.8 to the right of Acid Crack and do two raps (I had a 70m). From there, it is about 30 min back to the base of Helen's Dome if you left your packs. Great outing with varied climbing. P6 is 5.7, not 5.9. Rack: set of nuts, cams #0.3-#4, doubles in #0.5-#1 would get used.
Jun 23, 2016
I did this route on June 15, 2016. Pitch 4 did have a few bolts on the upper part, after the hangerless stud and then a crack that eats gear. Not sure if these are new or if I was off route....