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Fritzy seconding the third pitch of "Sun Toucher"....
Named after Suntoucher guiding services in Albuquerque, NM, this four pitch route is a mixed bag, with a combination of both good and bad rock. Despite the questionable quality of rock on some of these pitches, I did enjoy the route. But, as with many Diablo routes, WEAR YOUR HELMET!. I was not completely thrilled about the first two pitches, however, the third pitch is STELLAR and on beautiful rock, and the crux section (very top of the climb) is on immaculate rock with awesome exposure (formation called The Shield)! I would give this route four stars, but the first two pitches, and the first section of the fourth pitch, bring the star rating down just a little, in my opinion. So 3 stars.
P-1 (5.11a)*: Climb up mediocre rock (appears crumbly but nothing came off! Looks like dragon scales) to a ledge with a belay anchor.
P-2 (5.10a): Climb suspect rock up a right trending ramp (tread lightly here!) up to the next set of anchors. The climbing is actually easier than .10a, but I gave it a higher rating because it feels harder due to the crappy quality of the rock.
P-3 (5.10d)****: This pitch has great moves with nice exposure climbing on great rock! Beautiful sustained climbing. The route can be made easier or more difficult depending on exactly where you climb it (climbing directly up to bolts vs going off to the side a little.)
P-4 (5.11b/c)**: Starts on suspect rock through the first few bolts, and continues up toward The Shield. There are some rather large boulders along this pitch, so watch out! Will climb go a crack to the left of the headwall. Will not move onto the actual headwall until around the second to last bolt on the route, where you will traverse to the right, EXPOSURE! Clip the final bolt and find the hidden hold (hint, high and right), and pull yourself to glory. DO IT, the fall is completely safe! (NOTE: In JM Beverly's book, this route is listed as 5.10 b/c. THIS IS AN ERROR! I contacted him to confirm the rating.)
At the bottom of the Sun Devil crag, and to the right of the Solar Cave and Sun Devil (the climb).
All four pitches have bolts to anchors (I took 15 draws, and had enough for all pitches). Rap for the decent. Can use one 60m rope for this climb.
BETA PHOTO: Bottom first pitch of Suntoucher.
BETA PHOTO: Third pitch of Suntoucher(Kevin and Tony).
Pulling the crux (the "van dam" move, according to...
BETA PHOTO: Map of Suntoucher.
Looking up the enjoyable third pitch of Sun Touche...
|By Jason Halladay|
From: Los Alamos, NM
Oct 29, 2006
A great line. I made this route "easy" and kept the climbing at less than 5.10+ the whole way. The first pitch has two bolted lines. The left bolt line is easiest and around 5.10+. Climb pitches 2 and 3 as described. Pitch 3 is nice.
I tried the crux moves going past the last bolt on the fourth (and final) pitch but gave up after a couple of small falls. So instead I went to the left of the beautiful face into a corner with an off-width crack. I climbed it unprotected with bad fall potential (take a #3 or #4 camalot to protect it) and moved back right to the anchors at the top. I'll go back and try to do this route "proper" someday. Nonetheless, it's a great pleasure to have a multi-pitch sport route so close to home in Northern NM.
From: Morrison, CO
Dec 8, 2006
Since its apparently possible to rap with one 60m rope, does that mean it would be possible to climb in 2 pitches, assuming one was not concerned with rope drag?
From: Morrison, CO
Dec 8, 2006
Is that "Shield" feature as steep as it looks? Might be some potential for a new hard route up the center of the face...
|By Anthony Stout|
From: Albuquerque, NM
Dec 8, 2006
RE doing the climb in two long pitches, yes. You would probably want a few long slings to avoid the rope drag. Pitch one and two would be best to combine. The anchors are over a lip, so if you did link the first two pitches I would either skip clipping the anchors or use a very long sling.
I personally am not sure that I would want to combine pitches 3 and 4 because you would have hellish rope weight/drag for pulling the crux, which is way at the top. But if you are OK with that, you would have the rope to make it to the top.
As far as potential for more routes on the shield, I didn't examine it for the potential. Any routes that could be done there would probably be 4 star pitches though! It is a quality chunk of rock.
From: Morrison, CO
Mar 5, 2007
I have to say I was a bit disappointed by this route. Perhaps its just the nature of Diablo, but overall the rock seemed pretty poor. I can't deny that the 3rd pitch looked awesome, but for most of the pitch, the natural climbing line was 3 feet right of the bolts on sketch rock. I thought the crux section of pitch 4 was truly great, but it seemd like I had to climb an awful lot of bad rock for 20 feet of great climbing.
I was able to do the route in 2 pitches. Rope drag wasn't too bad, but I skipped or back-cleaned any bolts that I thought would cause a rope drag problem.
Don't be fooled by the bolts; this is NOT a sport climb. Definately wear a helmet. I felt it climbed an awful lot like a desert tower, especially the last pitch, reefing on guillotine death blocks 300 feet off the deck. I felt this route was quite a bit harder than Sun Devil.
|By Rick Bradshaw|
From: Los Alamos, NM
Aug 15, 2007
A bit of history and a request to be more aware of route status: I put the anchors at the top of this route and at the midway point (all springers) about two years before Marc bolted it. Josh Smith and I spent several hours cleaning and climbing it, trying to find the best line. While the last 30 feet were/are spectacular we didn't feel that small portion made up for the mostly poor quality of the rest. Our plan was to work on adjacent lines to find the optimum combination of rock quality, safety, and fun movement, then move the anchors accordingly. Unfortunately, I broke my collar bone (skiing) and the route was bolted before we got back to work.
Marc assumed the route had been abandoned, which given the time lapse was a reasonable assumption. However, all agree that it would have been better if some communication had been initiated (there were some rough feelings initially).
Diablo has a great climbing community, with several creative, energetic, and very conscientious individuals putting up new routes. Lets make sure respectful communication is also a key feature characteristic in that list, especially when tempted by a partially finished line.
|By Aaron Miller|
Nov 24, 2008
I think that maybe the start of the last pitch could use some redirecting out of the bad rock. Looks like great climbing to the right!
Third pitch is fun, quality climbing, but could use some cleaning. The last pitch, after the scary death-rock section is really good. A great finish!
If anyone has the time or the initiative, an day spent cleaning the route with a hammer would do it a lot of good. I think it has potential to clean up to a nicer line.
From: Santa Fe, NM
Nov 21, 2011
I liked this alot - we only did the 1st 3 picthes because I was scoping out a new line to the right that I want to start on this week. We cleaned up any loose stuff that was left on the 2nd & 3rd pitches(other people must have done some cleaning as well since it seemed pretty clean to me already)The death blocks are still up there on the 4th pitch and I aggree with Aaron that the 4th pitch would seem cleaner by continueing up the better rock straight above and right of the 3rd belay. The 1st 3 pitches are way better than the 1st 2 pitches of Sundevil (that Sundevil 3rd pitch is cool though) Great way for 5.10ish climbers to get way up in the air & pratice rope management. All pitches seemed to be only about 70-80 feet long so 60m rope works easy for rappels but you have to go station to station- you can't link 2 raps together
P1*** left branch is about 5.10+, right branch felt a touch harder 5.11a (left branch is the nicer line, more consistent climbing) P2** 5.9+/10a pretty clean now, inobvious move left over the roof clipping the hidden 3rd bolt then cool finish up along the rib. P3**** 5.10c a great pitch and fantastic position! It didn't bug me that you climb most of it to the right of the bolts - thats Diablo, you just have to reach over once in a while to clip but I never had to climb over to clip